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!
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!
Frank Darabont Refused to Have Tom Cruise in His Film
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.
The Shawshank Redemption Is More Than A Film
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