Skip to comments.Child 'Forrest Gump' actor leaving Army
Posted on 05/10/2008 2:40:07 PM PDT by paltz
p>FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) — As a boy, Michael Conner Humphreys made a splash on the silver screen as "Young Forrest Gump." As an adult, he somewhat mirrored the life of his movie character: He joined the Army and fought in an unpopular war.
Humphreys' enlistment ends June 4 and Hollywood is already calling. He's landed a role in an independent film, playing, of course, a soldier.
It's a route similar to that of Tom Hanks, who won the Oscar for playing adult Forrest Gump.
Hanks later starred in "Saving Private Ryan" and produced "Band of Brothers," a series about the men of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II.
"I guess I'm following in his tracks," Humphreys said.
The film is called "Pathfinders," the story of the men of the 504th Parachute Regiment who jumped into Normandy early on D-Day to disrupt German activities and find the way for the coming invasion force. He heads to Oregon later this year for filming, playing the part of Eddie Livingston, one of the original pathfinders.
"It's a small start. I'm still going to go to school at the University of North Alabama, but if (acting) snowballs and it goes somewhere else, that'd be fine," he said.
Humphreys said making "Forrest Gump" was a great experience and he fondly remembers Hanks and Sally Field, who played his mother.
"Both of them were excellent people, just like you would expect them to be," he said.
He was especially excited to work with director Robert Zemeckis. Humphreys said he was familiar with Zemeckis' other works, including the "Back to the Future" trilogy.
"I tried to get him to do a fourth," Humphreys said.
He recalled that during filming he and Hanks worked closely to match the boy's running style and accent. Humphreys has since lost most of his distinctive Southern drawl but maintains the boyish looks, right down to the cropped Army haircut and lean body. His face looks a bit older, but doesn't appear to need to shave daily.
Humphreys said he chose not to chase an acting career as a child because he liked school and was content to continue growing up in the South, even though his parents would have backed him. There were offers, but until now, the only ones he took were in high school productions.
"No one really wanted to move to LA," he said.
He joined the Army in 2005, fulfilling a deep-seated desire to serve his country. He is an infantryman assigned to a tank battalion and was once stationed at the same post in Germany where Elvis Presley stayed. In the movie, Elvis stayed overnight with the Gumps, teaching the boy to dance.
After a year deployed to Iraq in its dangerous Anbar Province, Spc. Humphreys was transferred to Fort Riley. His unit is training to go to Iraq after he gets out.
"It was a good experience and you saw a lot of bad things, a lot of people got hurt over there," he said. "There was definitely a lot of violence. I just hope that we did some good. In the end, I learned a lot and I hope it made me a better person."
Humphreys said his movie career was always included in his personnel file but he never talked about it unless others broached the subject. At Fort Riley, he's affectionately known as "Gump." However, he said, acting and being a soldier aren't all that different.
"No doubt that being a soldier is something that you have to do. You have to force it," Humphreys said. "No human is designed to do certain things. You have to make yourself be that person, it's an engineered effect. The same thing as acting."
He was great in that movie.
IIRC, Gump taught Elvis to dance...
Hey, that’s right!
One of my all time favorite movies. Sounds like a good kid, too.
Nice story. I love that movie. It always, always makes me cry.
“No doubt that being a soldier is something that you have to do. You have to force it,” Humphreys said. “No human is designed to do certain things. You have to make yourself be that person, it’s an engineered effect. The same thing as acting.”
As retired Army, I can say that there’s a lot of truth to that statement. But, we ALL “act” in our different roles in life. You don’t act like a “Mom” with your employees at work and I TRY not to bark orders at home.
(The latter doesn’t always work for me, LOL!)
While I did enjoy Forrst Gump, I didn’t enjoy it without realizing that the left was more than happy to play around with the idea that our troops didn’t have to be fully functioning, to be members of the military.
That’s their view of the military more often than not. So it was with a bit of skepticism that I enjoyed Gump, and realized what the left was up to at least in part.
Yeah, I saw that, too. But, I also liked the fact that “Jenny” represented everything WRONG with the Lefties. And yet, Forrest still loved her and came to her rescue time after time. (As we on the Right do for the Left to this day; we DO pay their way in more ways than one; I’m not sure our Society could function without that friction. I’d like to find out, though, LOL!)
Her character captured all that was Bad about America through the years, and Forrest captured the Good. I never really saw him as a “doofus,” though.
I wouldn’t say it was Good vs. Evil, it was more that Jenny served as an example of how far off the tracks your life can go when you don’t have a basic Christian (or whatever) foundation under you from the start.
You could also look at her character as ‘Goodness Corrupted.’ A lot of her problems stemmed from an abusive father and a dirt-poor life. Forrest also did not have a father, and he was also dirt-poor, yet excelled beyond anyones expectations of him.
One rises above their beginnings, or one doesn’t. And sometimes you don’t even know it until you look back over it, as did Forrest in this story.
“And that’s all I have to say about that.”
I loved the book first, so I’ve read it several times, and have thought about it a lot, obviously. ;) The movie was a great history lesson and a conversation starter for me and my boys.
And he went. And learned from that experience.
Imagine, an actor with real combat experience. I can think of only one...Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue.
Dale Dye, R. Lee Ermey (both Vietnam), Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Eddie Albert, Ernest Borgnine, Jimmy Stewart, Charles Durning (WWII) to name just eight and there are dozens more.
This is interesting:
Those days are long gone. Back when actors were patriots and actually saw a duty to serve their country instead of pissing on it.
No offense taken at all. I like chatting with you. :)
Moreso, I meant how the abuse as a child effected her decisions. She was always looking for “Daddy” because she had such a bad one.
Forrest (Goodness & Unconditional Love) was right in front of her all along, but she had to search far and wide and finally DIE due to her choices (she did die of HIV/AIDS; that’s kind of glossed over in the movie. Couldn’t upset the Hollyweird Crowd, I guess.)
That’s another social ill that’s way too prevalent in our society to this day. When a daughter doesn’t have a functioning “Dad” she goes looking for one in all the wrong places.
Maybe I think about this movie/story too much, but man, it hits all the high points, doesn’t it?
Don’t get me started on ‘The Shipping News’ or ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ two other favorites that I’ve probably over-analyzed to death, LOL! ‘The Reader’ by Bernhard Schlink is another favorite “morality play” of mine. It was a little racy, but it held the interest of my 17 year old at the time and after I got approval from his teacher, he got an “A” on his book report. It was another great conversation starter. (Holocaust)
James Arness...just to add ;)
Ummm....he went. Where’s your hate of this guy coming from?
Cool...thanks for that link.
That’s been the story of FR as of late.....i understand people’s frustration with politics...some need to give FR a rest for a while ;)
Thank you Diana, and I appreciate the honorable mention of your other reading favorites.
You take care.
Not really an actor, but Oliver Stone is a Vietnam Vet.
Quoting from Wiki, he "was wounded twice in action. His personal awards include the Bronze Star with "V" device for valor for "extraordinary acts of courage under fire", and the Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster."
God bless you, Soldier! (tears starting)
What a perfect postscript to a fine film!
How could you forget the King of Cool?
He may not have seen war, but he served in the USMC...
Actually, it was Elvis who picked up the unique knee movement he used on stage from Forrest, who was having difficulty dancing because of the braces on his legs.
It's amazing how much Humphrey's hasn't changed from his younger self!
The list was for actors that did see combat, not just served; though that list is long too. At least in days gone by.
Most of those guys you list are dead. But back in the day there were, in fact dozens. We were a different country then.
I didn’t think about Dye or Ermey.