While the first face that comes to mind when you think of the movie Forrest Gump is, of course, the inimitable Tom Hanks, the movie also follows the character in childhood. And the kid version of Forrest was played by an actor you’d probably never recognize if you saw him on the street today. Young Forrest was played by child actor Michael Conner Humphreys, now in his 30s, who is still best known for his award-winning performance in the classic flick.
Humphreys, who is a native-born Mississippian, landed the iconic role in part because of his thick, Southern drawl. Hanks actually based adult Forrest’s accent on the young performer’s natural accent by studying how Humphreys spoke, as he explained on The Graham Norton Show.
After Forrest Gump, Humphreys took a long break from show business, and has only just returned to the acting world. So what has Kid Forrest been up to in the past couple of decades? According to recent interviews, he’s a real hero.
The young actor was inspired by the film
Just like the adult version of Forrest Gump, Michael Conner Humphreys served in active duty in the military. In 2005, Humphreys served for 18 months in Anbar Province, Iraq, according to CBS This Morning, which he says had a huge impact on him.
“I’m very proud of having been in the military. I actually put that ahead of having been in Forrest Gump as far as a significant thing I’ve done in my life,” Humphreys said in the CBS interview. “I do feel like there was a duty to go do it,” he said. “It’s just part of being a citizen of a country. That’s what you gotta do.”
In addition to a sense of patriotic duty, Humphreys said working on Forrest Gump definitely inspired him to join the military. “I would often tell the director and producers how cool I thought all the helicopters were and then one weekend they actually arranged for some of the Marine Corps to take me over to Parris Island and show me the fighter jets,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
After many years, Humphreys made a return to acting, including in the 2011 WWII drama, Pathfinders: In the Company of Strangers as Eddie. And even more recently, he nabbed a roll in the upcoming series, Knight’s End.
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