Forrest Gump on 6ter: in pursuit of the trawler “Jenny”

“Forrest Gump” is a story of love, ping-pong, war and friendship, chocolates and a shrimp boat! It was indeed with the “Jenny”, the film’s iconic trawler, that Forrest and Lieutenant Dan successfully embarked on shrimp fishing. But does the “Jenny” really exist or is it a pure movie prop?

One of the most famous boats in cinema

Forrest Gump, released in 1994, is one of the greatest hits in the history of cinema. Since Winston Groom’s novel, director Robert Zemeckis and actor Tom Hanks have successfully adapted the story of this simple-minded man who will find himself at the forefront of the greatest moments in American history from the second half of the 20th century. A great story lived in his own way, that of Forrest therefore, that is to say with benevolence, naivety, and a deep love for the woman he loves: Jennifer “Jenny” Curran (Robin Wright).

Forrest and Jenny, it’s a story that begins when they were kids in Greenbow, Alabama. On leaving university, Forrest goes to Viet Nam and Jenny goes on the American hippie roads. While Forrest is demobilized, they meet briefly and by chance in Washington, before resuming their respective paths. Forrest made a promise to his best friend Bubba, who died in his arms in Viet Nam, and he will honor it: buy a shrimp boat and become a fisherman. He uses all his savings to buy an old boat, which he names “Jenny”. Along with the box of chocolates and the bench at the Savannah bus stop, the shrimp boat “Jenny” is surely the most iconic object in the film. But is it an accessory? Or in other words, is the “Jenny” a real shrimp boat?

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From “Miss Sherri” to “Jenny” for Forrest Gump

The “Jenny” was originally a 55 foot trawler, approximately 17 meters in length, which fished for shrimp in the waters of Beaufort, South Carolina. It is owned by Jimmie Stanley, a Beaufort fisherman, and sails as “Miss Sherri”. The trawler was built in 1972 by Charles Sutler and his son Parker on the banks of the Chechessee River. “Miss Sherri” therefore works more than two decades before being noticed at the Beaufort Water Festival in 1993 by the film’s scouting crew Forrest Gump. Paramount rents the boat during production, “make-up” to mark it with wear, arranges a discreet place so that Jimmie Stanley can pilot it during the shots, and therefore renames it “Jenny”.

The rest is history: Forrest Gump gets rich by creating with Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, which would then become a veritable restaurant chain very well known in the United States, inaugurated two years after the film’s release. With the success of the film, Jimmie Stanley is happy to see his world-famous film shrimp maker model and orders a local cabinetmaker, Tom Boozer, an identical scale model, with offcuts from the wood used for the construction of the “Miss Sherri”. For payment, Boozer accepted the two painted “Jenny” panels on the bow of the boat in the film.

“Jenny” slowly prepares her return

For the “Jenny” – once again the “Miss Sherri”, she will sail for a few more years before being sold for a sum that remained secret at Planet Hollywood in Orlando. But this is where the story gets a bit tricky. Completely passed through the Disney system, the boat is disassembled before being transported and reassembled. An operation which degrades it and which makes fear that the Miss Sherri has finally entirely deteriorated at its location in the park of Orlando. This is not the case, since it is still apparent in 2009, in a very relative state of fidelity.

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“Jenny” au Planet Hollywood d’Orlando

Finally, his exhibition came to a halt in 2014, when he left his location for a large renovation plan. To keep the memory of this memorabilia iconic, the South Caroline Maritime Museum in Georgetown offered an exhibition in August 2020 on the life of the “Miss Sherri” and her inspiration for Forrest Gump, an exhibition to which Tom Boozer lent all its documentation, a reduced model and the two original “Jenny” panels.

As for the “Jenny” of the film, the “Miss Sherri” built in 1972, used for the film and transported to Orlando, it is dormant … At the end of 2020, it is indeed still under renovation and no intention of putting it back in. exhibition has not yet been announced.

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