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Frank Darabont Contemplates King and Bradbury
Source:Jose Prendes
June 25, 2021

Frank Darabont showed up at the 35th Annual Saturn Awards to receive the award for Best DVD Special Edition release of his masterful horror epic The Mist. Could you tell that I liked that movie? Well, I freaking loved it and the extras-packed DVD was more than deserving of the honor. Have you guys seen it in black and white on Blu-ray? It's awesome, it feels like a movie from the '50s with CG. So after the paparazzi were done snapping pictures, I took him aside to not only get dorky over the film, but discuss his upcoming projects as well. I found him to be a warm and gregarious person and the fact that he was such a cool, relaxed guy has now made him my favorite modern director. First of all I have to tell you that I loved "The Mist." It was seriously the best horror film of 2007, hands down.

Frank Darabont: Well, thank you, so glad you liked it. We shot in six weeks, dude. We shot it cheap, we shot it fast, and it was definitely a different kind of filmmaking experience for me which I embraced and I really enjoyed. But at the end you won't know what the result will be, but hearing that you dug it means a lot to me.

Shock: Yeah, and I've got to give you kudos for that ending, too.

Darabont: Oh, thank you. That's one of the reasons we shot it so quickly and cheaply, because of that ending. I wound up making it for about half the budget that I had been offered which came with the caveat that I changed the ending, and I didn't know what another ending would have been, frankly. And I think trying to adjust it would have felt like a total sell-out to me. Honestly, its the ending I had in mind, and whether you love the ending or hate the ending, I stand by it. I think cinema is an art form, it's all expression. I thought "Okay, lets make it for half that budget and keep that ending, so I can make the movie I set out to make". Otherwise I'm just a hired monkey.

Shock: What is it exactly about Stephen King's material that keeps attracting you?

Darabont: Stephen King's writing. He's such a great storyteller. Oh, by the way, his next book just landed on my desk today. The xeroxed manuscript of this book he's been writing for the last year. It's called "Under the Dome." I'm like four chapters into it, it's awesome. It's really, really good. It's a thrill to get early looks at Steve's work like that. I always feel honored.

Shock: I know you've been working on the adaptation of King's "The Long Walk," how's that progressing?

Darabont: "The Long Walk" is a bit on my back burner at the moment. I won't spend too many more years before I make it, it's going to be coming up I think pretty shortly. But I'll be making it, I'm sure, even more cheaply than "The Mist" because I don't want to blow the material out of proportion. It's such a very simple, weird, almost art film-like approach to telling a story. So let's do it honestly, let's do it that way. Let's not turn it into "The Running Man." So we'll make it down and dirty and cheap and hopefully good.

Shock: You've also been circling a remake of "Fahrenheit 451." What's the status on that one?

Darabont: That's my other great priority, to try and get the greenlight on that and that's been a bit of a struggle. Hollywood doesn't trust smart material. If you show them a really smart script. I actually had a studio head read that script and say: "Wow, that's the best and smartest script that I've read since running this studio but I can't possibly greenlight it." I asked why and he says "How am I going to get 13-year-olds to show up at the theater?" And I said "Well, lets make a good movie and I bet that will take care of itself." But that argument cut absolutely no ice. The movie was basically too smart for this person, too metaphorical, etc., etc. It's a bit of a battle you've got to fight. When you're faced with it, how do you overcome that prejudice?

Shock: Well, that's the problem with movies today, they seem to be dumbed down on purpose. Bradbury's language and stories are very lush and old-fashioned and he never goes with the cookie-cutter plot. How different is adapting Bradbury than King?

Darabont: Fundamentally, the job is really the same one, it's just you're listening to a different voice. The author's voice is so vital in the process. Trying to interpret their intentions is really the job. They're both great, great, great storytellers. As long as you're just listening to the voice as honestly as you can you can't go too far off. They're obviously different kinds of storytellers but, at the core of it, not really. They both write from the heart. They are both heart-writers and their characters are the important things to them. So maybe different shading or flavorings, but basically the same kind of storytellers, I think.

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Posted by: djblack1313 on June 25, 2009 at 12:22:00

"Wow, that's the best and smartest script that I've read since running this studio but I can't possibly greenlight it." I asked why and he says "How am I going to get 13-year-olds to show up at the theater?"...................................god hearing this (which should come as no surprise from the lame studios) makes me SO f^ucking sad. Darabont is AWESOME! i too LOVE "THE MIST".

Posted by: Michael on June 25, 2009 at 12:57:01

I'll go one step further and say that THE MIST was not just one the best horror films of 2007, but of the best films - period.

No other film impacted me the way THE MIST did. I left the theatre and couldn't shake it from my thoughts.

The only other film that has done that since is LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

I really wish I could get hold of that special edition DVD in South Africa, I'd love to watch it in black and white the way Darabont meant for it to be seen.

Posted by: Michael on June 25, 2009 at 12:59:03

That should read "ONE OF the best..."

Wish you could edit these posts.

Posted by: DarrenSuds on June 25, 2009 at 13:05:18

God, I hope he makes The Long Walk soon....without a doubt, the best King short story ever.

Posted by: Space on June 25, 2009 at 13:28:16

The Mist was great. A friend of mine saw it in the theater and told me the ending and how messed up it was. When I rented it on DVD, I still enjoyed it and was still completely shocked and left thinking about it all night even though I knew what was coming at me.

I don't think anyone else besides Frank Darabont should even be considered to direct a movie based on Stephen King's work. Just pencil him in right now for all future film adaptations. It's also pretty freakin' cool he gets to read all of King's books before they're published.

Posted by: Crow on June 25, 2009 at 13:29:43


You are absolutely, 100% correct! That was one of the greatest King stories out there. I've been waiting since 1990 for a movie version of this story.

Darabont should be the ONLY director out there that can make King stories into movies. Period. He's the only guy that does it any justice. The Mist was a phenomenal film and was EXACTLY what I hoped for in a movie version; exactly as I imagined when I read the story.

I hope Darabont gets working on The Long Walk soon!

Posted by: Crow on June 25, 2009 at 13:31:33

@ Space

LOL! You beat me by like 40 seconds! Great minds think alike, right!

Posted by: IndyJonny in ATL on June 25, 2009 at 15:32:49

I'm on board with getting The Long Walk made. I had no idea it was being considered for a movie. It's such a simple story that I'm guessing it wont be judged as "too smart". Great story though. The Mist was excellent.

Posted by: MagnaderAlpha on June 25, 2009 at 17:52:07

Darabont's awesome. Actually, my dream would be him helming an ultimate version of It.

Posted by: krypto on June 25, 2009 at 23:14:45

I would also have to say The Mist is one of the best horror movies ever. It was just great! And I would also love to see the black and white version. Also, The long Walk is an awesome short story. And if it is made someday, I truly hope it is Darabont who does it. I think he is the only one how could do it right! There are so many King and Bradbury stories they could make in to great movies. Instead of all these stupid remakes!

Posted by: Mattingly on June 26, 2009 at 08:14:06

Frank Darabont has an eternal place for me as a true hero of Hollywood.

The Mist was fan-freakin'-tastic. The character conflicts - particularly with the religious nut - were a little over the top, but ending absolutely MADE the movie. Yet again, he takes a literary piece from its author and completely OWNS it.

Pretty cool how his flicks often dig into the most fundamental parts of the human psyche. In a way, The Mist is completely the opposite of Shawshank Redemption: the earlier film was about clinging to hope, and the latter was ultimately about complete abandonment of hope. Think about it.

Here's hoping he gets Fahrenheit 451 made, too.

Posted by: Hana-Bi on June 26, 2009 at 10:09:20

It really is amazing anything halfway decent gets made - and seen. I loved THE MIST (in the theater, as well as the awesome DVD), and hope Darabont gets to make more good flicks the way he wants to.

Posted by: michaelmatz on June 26, 2009 at 15:21:07

wow i should b friends with you guys. I went to see the mist in theaters with some of my friends and i was the only that liked it but just 2 days they went 2 see transformers and are now calling it like the greatest movie ever.

Posted by: BoggyCreekBeast on June 26, 2009 at 17:59:27

"How am I going to get 13-year-olds to show up at the theater?"
What kind of society do we live in when entertainment is dictated by 13 year olds? That studio head should be F****ING ashamed of himself!

Posted by: MagnaderAlpha on June 26, 2009 at 19:37:05

michaelmatz, I feel sorry for you. The Mist was WAY better than Transformers. I know how it feels to know people with such taste. My little brother's the same way, actually. :)

BoggyCreekBeast, I agree. Popular market's ****ed up because many people let the kids choose what sells, then bleeds them dry. Whether than going down to meet them at their level, you should let them meet you at YOUR level. Unless you want to go all out and do a Jonas Brothers movie, or something. Quick cash cow, but you're selling your soul to lollipop dreamers.

Posted by: Oscar Nicholson on June 27, 2009 at 03:59:59

The ending of The Mist was such a complex exploration of sacrifice in the biblical and ethical sense that I'm still working through it. Its even foreshadowed by Mrs Carmody's referencing Abraham's (near) sacrifice of Isaac

Posted by: Captain Rogaine on July 2, 2009 at 14:53:23

The Mist was an awesome one. My only problem was that he could have used twenty more seconds and either had a monster coming at the car or had "days pass" type of thing. I'm a father and as much as I wouldn't want my kid to get eaten and or made into a giant living egg sack there is no way I'm going to do that unless it's a last minute and last resort type of thing. I was okay that it happened in the movie just wish it would have been tweaked just that little bit.

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