by: Frank Darabont
Frank Darabont (screenplay)
Stephen King (short story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank
- Andy Dufresne
Freeman - Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding
- Warden Norton
Sadler - Heywood
- Captain Hadley
- Bogs Diamond
Whitmore - Brooks Hatlen
'There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret.'
Which actors were originally considered for role of Red? Take a look at
Redemption trivia for the answers.
Hanks, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage and Charlie Sheen were
all considered for the part of Andy Dufresne.
Hanks, who couldn't
accept due to scheduling conflicts with Forrest
however, work on Frank Darabont's next film, The Green Mile
regretted later on turning down the role of Andy Dufresene.
In the original
is a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair. Before Freeman was cast, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman,
and Robert Redford were each considered for the role. However,
had Morgan Freeman in mind for the role because of his authoritative
demeanor and deep voice.
Stephen King's original story, Red was written as a white Irishman.
In the movie, they left the line, "Maybe it's 'cause I'm Irish", in as
a joke, even after they had cast Morgan Freeman as Red.
role of Tommy Williams was intended for Brad Pitt.
James Whitmore was cast in the
part of Brooks
because he was
one of Frank Darabont's favorite character actors.
character Andy Dufresne had a cameo appearance in Apt Pupil,
another Stephen King novelette. Andy handled the investments for
Dussander, the Nazi in hiding.
Clancy Brown, who plays
Captain Hadley in this
another character named Captain Hadley in The Guardian
Clancy Brown has said that he
real-life corrections officers to work with him to make his portrayal
Captain Hadley more realistic. Brown turned them all down because
Hadley was an
evil character and he didn't want to misrepresent real corrections
Darabont wrote The Shawshank Redemption script in eight weeks.
King has said that his original
novella, which the film very faithfully adapts, was a culmination of
all the memories he had from watching prison movies when he was a child.
King sold the film rights for his novella for a dollar.
King sold the rights to the movie
very cheaply out of his friendship with Frank Darabont. They had
originally become friends when Darabont adapted a short story of King's
called "The Woman in the Room" (King has a policy stating that any
aspiring filmmaker can adapt his short stories for a buck) and King was
thoroughly impressed. They maintained a pen pal relationship and didn't
actually meet until Darabont optioned Shawshank.
Frank Darabont was planning to make his directorial debut
with a Chucky type horror movie, although he wasn't particularly
enthused about the prospect of doing so. Instead, he decided to adapt
Stephen King's atypical short story. The resulting script soon became a
hot ticket around Hollywood.
original story appears in Different Seasons, a collection of
short books by Stephen King that also includes "The Body" Stand by Me
and Apt Pupil
of the reasons why they didn't employ the full title of the
Stephen King novella - "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" - was
because there was a perception in Hollywood that this was actually
going to be a biopic of Rita Hayworth. Rumour has it
that Frank Darabont even
received solicitations from several actresses about playing the lead.
An agent who apparently hadn't
an audition for his supermodel client for the role of Rita Hayworth.
prison is a staple of Stephen King's writing, most of which
is set in Maine. While it only appears in this story, several other
books and short stories mention characters who were sentenced to serve
time at Shawshank.
exteriors were filmed at the defunct Mansfield State Reformatory in
Ohio. The prison was in such poor condition, renovations had to be made
prior to filming. However, most of the interiors were shot on a sound
stage, because they determined it would be cheaper to build duplicates
of the interiors rather than renovating the interiors of Mansfield.
mugshots of a young-looking Morgan Freeman that are attached to his
parole papers are actually pictures of Morgan's younger son, Alfonso
Freeman. Alfonso also had a cameo in the movie as a con shouting "Fresh
fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!"
the beginning when Morgan Freeman leaves after they stamp
REJECTED on his papers, his buddies ask him what happened, and Freeman
says "Same shit different day". This phrase is also said in the movie Dreamcatcher
(2003), which is also
a Stephen King movie starring
film's initial gross of $18 million didn't even cover the cost of
its production. It did another $10 million in the wake of its Oscar
nominations but the film was still deemed to be a box office failure.
its box office failure, Warner Brothers shipped 320,000
rental copies to US video stores, a figure a spokesman freely admitted
was "out of whack" with the film's performance in the
Redemption became one of
grossing video rentals of all time.
American Humane Association (AHA) monitored the filming of scenes
involving Brooks' crow. During the scene where he fed it a maggot, the
AHA objected on the grounds that it was cruel to the maggot, and
required that they use a maggot that had died from natural causes. One
was found, and the scene was filmed.
The town of Mansfield held all
extras. So much interest was shown that they accepted no more people
The close up of Andy's hands
revolver in the
opening scenes are actually the hands of Frank Darabont. Later in the
while Andy carves his name into his cell wall (seen twice in the film),
Darabont's hands are used as well in the insert shot. These close ups
inserts that were filmed during post production, notably because
that only he could do exactly what he wanted in the close ups.
Director Frank Darabont
Sunday while shooting Shawshank and drew inspiration from it on using
voice-over narration and showing the passage of time.
The Shawshank prison, in the
book and in the
loosely based on Thomaston prison, an aging prison located in
That real life prison closed in 2004 due to its small size and
Apparently Tim Robbins thought
of the idea of
Andy Dufresne, turning up the volume of the record player in the scene
plays the Opera music over the PA.
The opera song that Andy
Dufresne plays over
speakers is "Canzonetta sull'aria" from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's
"Marriage of Figaro".
In the scene where Red says he
has no idea
what the ladies
are singing about, they are actually composing a letter to the husband
of them inviting him to an assignation with the other in order to
Frank Darabont decided not to
scenes on the DVD release of the film because he's embarrassed of them
doesn't want them to be able to be seen publicly.
While Mansfield locals were
eager to be
extras, many weren't
available during the day due to their jobs or were only available for
so extras were found at a halfway house, some of them real-life
In 2007, the American Film
Institute ranked The
as the no. 72
Greatest Movie of All Time. It was the first inclusion of this film on
Rob Reiner loved Frank
Darabont's script so
much that he
offered $2.5 million for the rights to The Shawshank Redemption
script so he could direct
Darabont seriously considered Reiner's offer but ultimately decided
that it was
his "chance to do something really great" by directing the movie
himself. Reiner wanted Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise to play Red and
When Andy first gets
reassigned to the prison
first officer who comes to him for investment help approaches him by
"I'm Dekins." Roger Deakins was the cinematographer for the movie.
While this is the case, Frank Darabont wrote the character Dekins into
original script before he hired his crew, as the same character was in
novella, and the different way of spelling confirms this.
was released in Taiwan in 1995 as
"1995: Fantastic". Many viewers thought it would be an action
When Warden Norton opens his
wall safe near
the end of the
film, and he opens Andy's bible, the bookmark ribbon is on the first
the book of Exodus (which tells the story of the flight of the Jews
Egypt). Exodus is also where Andy began cutting out the pages to hide
hammer during spot inspections.
The rock wall where Red's
"treasure" is buried
built specifically for the film and is still standing today. It was
hand by the art department and months beforehand too. This allowed for
alfalfa grass to grow to make it look weathered.
2007, two inmates of
Union County Prison escaped from their prison
using similar techniques to those featured in the movie.
Their partially successful escape led to the suicide of prison
Rudolph Zurick. When the two convicts were recaptured, they denied
responsibility for Zurick's death.
critics have spotted many allegorical themes in The Shawshank Redemption
generally along the lines that Andy Dufresne is a latter day Jesus
Christ. Frank Darabont refutes all such claims although he is delighted
that so many people have read so much into his film.
the sewage tunnel sequence, apparantly Tim Robbins initially refused to
immerse himself in the muddy water at the end of the pipe after a
chemist tested the water and dubbed it lethal.
Frank Darabont took a pay cut in order to be allowed to shoot his own
the changes that Frank Darabont made to the story from the
original novella was that there were originally three wardens and that
Brooks' poignant story was conveyed in one paragraph.
prison that played Shawshank, the Mansfield State Reformatory,
now serves as a museum. Because it was scheduled for demolition at the
time of filming, several set pieces remain intact in the prison,
including the tunnel Andy crawled out of and the warden's office.
and Red's opening chat in the prison yard, in which Red is
pitching a baseball, took 9 hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman pitched
that baseball for the entire 9 hours without a word of complaint. He
showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling.
voice over narration was recorded before filming began
and was then played on set to dictate the rhythm of each scene. The
guide track was recorded in an Iowa recording studio by Morgan Freeman
in only 40 minutes. Unfortunately, there was a minor hiss to the track
which sound engineers in Los Angeles were unable to eradicate.
Consequently it had to be re-recorded in a proper studio; this time it
took 3 weeks.
the novella, the prisoners watch a screening of The Lost Weekend
the rights to this were owned by a different studio,
Frank Darabont looked to see which old films he could show without
incurring costs. He was delighted to see that one that he was able to
use was Gilda (1946) - one of Rita Hayworth's greatest hits.
ambulance that took Boggs away had to be pushed as its engine had
prison location was in the flightpath of a naval base which
caused all sorts of sound problems.
Welch - whose poster plays a significant role in the film - is
a big fan of the finished film.
where Andy says he proposed to his wife and buried the
"treasure" for Red under the tree, is a real life small town in
Maine about 15 miles west of Maine's
largest city of Portland, where the movie says Andy was a banker.
The Shawshank Redemption
is Morgan Freeman's favorite film of his own.
the Mexican paradise where Andy and Red go after
prison, actually exists. It is now a tourist city in the Pacific coast
state of Guerrero. But in 1966, when Andy escaped, it was still a small
fishing village which matches how Andy first described it to Red.
describes Andy's dream as a "shitty pipe dream". During his escape
to live that dream, Andy crawls through the sewer pipe of the prison,
literally a "shitty pipe".
The final scene was filmed on
the U.S. Virgin
islands in the
Caribbean, but in the film it is supposed to be the Pacific Ocean.
Darabont preferred to end the film with Red searching for Andy.
If he had been allowed to shoot the ending as he wanted, the
closing shot would have been Red on the bus heading for the field.
Darabont wanted to end on an open, ambiguous note, but Castle Rock
insisted on a reunion between the two to please audiences. So instead
of showing us a teary reunion, the film observes it from a distance.
This was Darabont's response to Castle Rock's demands.
At the end of the movie, there
is a dedication
Greene. He was Frank Darabont's agent and also a close personal friend.
just before the completion of the movie due to AIDS complications.
Charlie Rose interview with director Frank Darabont, Morgan Freeman and
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Total Trivia Entries: 60