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The Shawshank Redemption Director Refused to Cast Tom Cruise in $73M Cult Classic Even if it Meant Going Broke: “I could barely meet the rent”

The Shawshank Redemption Director Refused to Cast Tom Cruise in $73M Cult Classic Even if it Meant Going Broke: "I could barely meet the rent"

The Shawshank Redemption, upon its release, didn’t really get the reception it deserved. Making only $73 million, the film was an absolute bomb at the box office. However, almost three decades later, the film is now considered to be one of the best movies made in the history of cinema. And even though Tom Cruise was once considered for the lead role, it’s quite weird to imagine someone in place of Tim Robbins, especially since he was so remarkable in his portrayal of Andy Dufresne!

The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption

Yes, that’s right. Tom Cruise was being eyed for the role despite his unwillingness to be in the film. He even agreed to be a part of the film if, and only if, Rob Reiner would supervise. Of course, that didn’t happen as director Frank Darabont was adamant about keeping all the control in his hand. We are grateful he didn’t agree to the deal despite being broke and taking a chance. Almost thirty years later, the film is still the epitome of cinema!

Also Read: “They made me think that I did”: Dwayne Johnson Lost $380M Action Franchise to Tom Cruise Only to Make Whopping $65M from $6.5B Fast and Furious Movies Later

Frank Darabont Refused to Have Tom Cruise in His Film

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise

Also Read: “What he wants is as good as law”: Tom Cruise’s Dictatorial Nature Made Son Not Invite Nicole Kidman to His Marriage as Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise Cut All Ties With $600M Star

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Tom Cruise being linked to a film automatically means that it’s going to be a worthy watch. So what happened that Frank Darabont passed on this golden opportunity to have the renowned actor in The Shawshank Redemption? Well for starters, Cruise had minimal to no interest in working with the director. However, he had a condition. Since he loved the screenplay, he was ready to do the film if Rob Reiner kept an eye on it. When Reiner told Cruise that if he agrees to do the film, he would have to follow Darabont’s vision, Cruise declined.

Reiner even made Darabont an offer of $3 million for the film’s rights with Cruise as the lead character. However, even though the deal would have given the then-broke director a “sh*tload of dough,” he simply refused the deal. Why? Well, he didn’t want to have any regrets about leaving his dream behind for money. Despite him stating, “In my struggling-writer days, I could barely meet the rent,” Darabont didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity.

“You can continue to defer your dreams in exchange for money and, you know, die without ever having done the things you set out to do.”

That was probably one of the best choices made by Darabont in his career as the film went on to receive seven Oscar nominations and is considered to be a cult classic today.


Also Read: Contrary to Popular Belief, Tom Cruise Performed Iconic Airplane Action Scene in $682M Movie Without Any Special Effects

The Shawshank Redemption Is More Than A Film

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

Adapted from Stephen King’s novel, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the film is still loved by people today and is ranked as IMDb’s best movie of all time. A lot of viewers have stated that the film changed their lives and how they look at cinema. Actor Morgan Freeman, who played Ellis Boyd Redding, stated,

“About everywhere you go, people say, ‘The Shawshank Redemption – greatest movie I ever saw.’”

Even Tim Robbins said that people around the world tell him how the film changed their lives. The actor also stated that Nelson Mandela, himself “talked about loving Shawshank.” Clearly, people are in awe of Darabont’s work as the film was awarded a spot in the National Film Registry. Cruise sure missed out on the huge opportunity!

You can rent/buy The Shawshank Redemption on Prime Video.

Source: Vanity Fair

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Written by Mishkaat Khan

Mishkaat is a medical student who found solace in content writing. Having worked in the industry for about three years, she has written about everything from medicine to literature and is now happy to enlight you about the world of entertainment. She has written over 500 articles for FandomWire. When not writing, she can be found obsessing over the world of the supernatural through books and TV.