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“Everybody was rushing toward me”: Tom Hanks’ Co-star Was Left Traumatized By His Role in Stephen King Adaptation

Stephen King considered Michael Clarke Duncan's portrayal of John Coffey in The Green Mile to be his favorite adaptation ever.

Tom Hanks’ Co-star Was Left Traumatized By His Role in Stephen King Adaptation


  • Michael Clarke Duncan delivered an exceptional performance as the mysterious John Coffey, demonstrating vulnerability and resilience that deeply resonated with viewers.
  • Duncan said filming the emotional scenes drained him and he will remember that day more than anything else on set.
  • According to director Frank Darabont, Duncan's commitment to his craft and progression as an artist during filming served as an inspiration to the entire team.

In the realm of Stephen King adaptations, distinguished actors like Jack Nicholson have etched their names in the viewers’ memory with unforgettable portrayals. However, Stephen King himself holds a distinct perspective. Among these adaptations, the author particularly lauded Michael Clarke Duncan’s portrayal in The Green Mile, citing it as his personal favorite and emphasizing Duncan’s towering performance that surpassed the others.

The Green Mile (1999)
The Green Mile (1999)

In his portrayal of the mysterious John Coffey in The Green Mile, Michael Clarke Duncan’s acting prowess truly shone. Demonstrating a delicate balance of vulnerability and resilience, he deeply resonated with the viewers, etching an unforgettable impression on the movie’s history.

Also Read: “Nightmares exist outside of logic…”: Stephen King’s Generosity Is to Thank for Iconic Alan Wake Quote

Michael Clarke Duncan Was Traumatized By His Character

Undoubtedly, The Green Mile stands as one of the most cherished Stephen King adaptations, featuring Tom Hanks as a death row prison officer who undergoes inexplicable encounters following the arrival of Duncan’s character in the correctional facility. Duncan delivers an exceptional performance as John Coffey, an enigmatic figure convicted of the assault and murder of two young girls.

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stephen king green mile
The Green Mile

Duncan said (via Farout):

“I had a lot of crying to do, a lot of howling to do, and it took a long time to do it and it really drained me. I’ll remember that day more so than anything else because as we were filming that, everybody was rushing toward me.”

According to director Frank Darabont, the most memorable aspect was Michael Duncan’s unwavering dedication to his craft and the remarkable progress he made as an artist during the production, serving as a profound source of inspiration for the entire team. Darabont emphasized that Michael’s portrayal of John Coffey was so exceptional that it truly warranted an Academy Award nomination, marking a testament to his outstanding talent.

Also Read: “I was doing something that I’d never done”: The Godfather Star James Caan Felt His $61M Stephen King Film Was a Cruel Joke After Harrison Ford Rejected it Right Away


Tom Hanks’ Method Acting Scared Stephen King

Another notable occurrence that stemmed from Tom Hanks’s commitment to his character, even off-camera, occurred during the filming of The Green Mile. Stephen King, the author himself, was left in awe when Hanks guided him on a tour of the prison set, showcasing his deeply ingrained connection to the role.

Tom Hanks in The Green Mile
Tom Hanks in The Green Mile

The situation turned peculiar when the author playfully attempted to sit on a prop electric chair, only to be reprimanded by the actor, who reportedly barked at him. Later, the actor warned him about the potential risks he might face if he continued with such antics in the presence of his team. Initially surprised by Hanks’s response, King eventually comprehended that Hanks was merely maintaining the persona of his character.

Consequently, despite the evident advantages the method has consistently provided for the actor, the emotional strain that Hanks endures to transition back into his own reality remains beyond the grasp of most people’s comprehension.

The Green Mile can be rented on Apple TV.

Also Read: Playing Pennywise in Stephen King’s ‘IT’ Left a Huge Emotional Toll on Bill Skarsgård’s Mental Health, Reveals he Felt “Isolated” by Other Actors on Set 

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Written by Vishal

Vishal Kawadkar is a seasoned writer specializing in writing engaging and informative content on various topics. He is a cinephile with a keen interest in sci-fi and thriller movies and TV shows. With an eye for detail, Vishal likes offering readers a fresh perspective on the latest trends and developments.