Written and directed by Frank Darabont, the 1994 prison drama movie The Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, is based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The movie, upon its release, received critical acclaim for the story, performances, and direction. But it turned out to be a disappointment at the box office.

The Shawshank Redemption
Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption

Over the years, the movie has earned a status of being one of the most beloved movies of all time. The United States Library of Congress picked it up to preserve in the National Film Registry. The director Frank Darabont shared about turning down offers from the production company and finally making the movie his directorial debut.

Frank Darabont turned down a ‘good’ offer to make The Shawshank Redemption his directorial debut

In a report by the LA Times, it has been mentioned that Frank Darabont decided to turn down Castle Rock’s offer to just write the screenplay for the movie. The report also added that in addition to writing the screenplay for The Shawshank Redemption, there was a tandem deal for him to write and direct another movie, which could have made his offer rise to $4 million.

The Shawshank Redemption
Frank Darabont says the movie now belongs to everyone

The reason he was offered to just helm the screenplay was because Rob Reiner, Castle Rock’s partner, was keen on directing The Shawshank Redemption. Darabond was adamant that it was going to be The Shawshank Redemption, with which he’s going to make his directorial debut. He very happily accepted $750,000 plus a percentage of the net profits for writing and directing the movie. Castle Rock President Martin Shafer said at the time,

“We’re a script-driven company. We just loved the script. We thought it was very moving, very intelligent, great characterizations, not like anything you’ve seen recently.”

Upon asking why he turned down a great offer to just write the screenplay for the movie, Darabont mentioned what kind of price tag one could put on their passion. He added that what’s it worth to an individual to see their dream passed to someone, even though the fact that the fact that the fact that that person is as talented and great as Rob Reiner?

Also Read: “That doesn’t sell you”: Morgan Freeman Blamed The Shawshank Redemption’s Weird Name For Its Awful Box Office Performance

During his conversation with Deadline, Frank Darabont noted that watching the movie now feels like something from a different life or a different lifetime. He added that he could now watch the movie and simply appreciate it like audience. Darabont says that every time he watches it, he does think that it’s a good movie, but at the same time, it does not feel like his movie to him anymore. He says it belongs to everyone.

Frank Darabont praises Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman for their honest performances

Years after the release of the movie, the director cannot forget to praise his main actors, Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. He said they were so honest with their performance that it still moved him. Recalling filming a scene from the movie, the director said in his interview with Deadline,

“Tim and Morgan are sitting in the shadow of the prison against the wall, and they’re talking about Mexico. It’s just this five- or six-minute dialogue sequence between these two friends. It was such a pleasure to shoot that. There was nothing complicated about those set-ups.”

The Shawshank Redemption
Frank Darabont is very proud of Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins’ performance in the movie

He mentioned that both actors were just doing damn good, adding that this particular scene is just about the honesty and friendship flowing between them. Frank Darabont did not forget to add Andy’s secret and added that he was very proud of them.

Also Read: Morgan Freeman’s Soul Wrenching Words For ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ Would Move You to Tears!

The director gushed over the actor’s performance and mentioned that it was Morgan Freeman’s Red’s movie that interacted with the audience. Tim Robbins’ Andy, on the other hand, remains a bit of an enigma, and the actor did a brilliant job. He said the more times he watches the movie, the more he sees how good Robbins’ work is in the movie.

The Shawshank Redemption is available on VOD on Prime Video and Apple TV.

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