The Shawshank Redemption’s True Hero Was a Hollywood Agent Who Moved Heaven and Earth To Get the Film Made But Died Before it was Released

The unsung hero in the making of The Shawshank Redemption.

The Shawshank Redemption’s True Hero Was a Hollywood Agent Who Moved Heaven and Earth To Get the Film Made But Died Before it was Released

SUMMARY

  • Frank Darabont's career skyrocketed to new heights after the critical success of The Shawshank Redemption.
  • But hadn't it been for his former friend and ally, he might not have landed the director's gig on the project.
  • The Shawshank Redemption kickstarted a long and fruitful bond between Stephen King and Darabont.
Show More
Featured Video

Even three decades after its release, Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption remains the highest-rated film on IMDb and arguably the best Stephen King movie adaptation to date. While it failed to make it big at the box office upon its release, following the stiff competition and the general attitude of the public towards prison films, the time has been kind to this acclaimed drama.

Advertisement

Apart from Darabont and his brilliance as a filmmaker, we’ve also the late Allen Greene to thank for this impeccable adaptation, as without Greene, the end product would’ve been drastically different.

Allen Greene Helped Frank Darabont Land The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption | Warner Bros.
The Shawshank Redemption | Warner Bros.

In the ’80s, Frank Darabont started out as a set dresser on low-budget films. While he had dreams of making it big as a writer, having an agent believe in him at that level was almost impossible. But then came Allen Greene into the picture, Darabont’s first-ever agent and their bond wasn’t just limited to business, as the former The Walking Dead showrunner would find a great friend in him.

Advertisement

While Darabont would eventually start landing gigs as a screenwriter shortly after, The Shawshank Redemption would get him his big break. In order to ensure that the filmmaker was able to adapt the acclaimed novel, Greene fought tooth and nail to land his client the director’s gig.

The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption | Warner Bros.

Unfortunately, before the film was even released, Greene sadly passed away following his battle with AIDS, and shaken by this tragedy, Darabont dedicated the film to his former friend and ally.

“I wanted to acknowledge not just his significance to my career, but also that he was an incredibly decent, much-loved, and much-missed person in the lives of those who knew him.”

Thanks to Greene, not only were we able to witness one of the best films the medium has to offer, but Darabont too would continue to deliver several renowned projects over the years.

Advertisement

Stephen King Returned Frank Darabont the Royalty Fees for The Shawshank Redemption

While a plethora of filmmakers have adapted Stephen King‘s acclaimed works over the years, the author hasn’t always been a fan of them. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case with Darabont, who initially adapted King’s The Woman In the Room, whose rights the author sold to the young director for a mere $1.

Stephen King | Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Stephen King | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For The Shawshank Redemption, King sold the rights to the director for $5000, which he never cashed. He would eventually frame the $5000 and send it back to Darabont as a gift, with a note reading:

 “In case you ever need bail money, Love Steve.”

This wasn’t the end of it, as the director would go on to adapt more of Stephen King’s works, which involved the acclaimed crime fantasy, The Green Mile.

Advertisement

The Shawshank Redemption is available to stream on Max.

Avatar

Written by Santanu Roy

Articles Published: 1452

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with The Everly Brothers, Billy Joel, and The Platters. Having expertise in everything related to Batman, Santanu spends most of his time watching and learning films, with Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook being his personal favorites. Apart from pursuing a degree in animation, he also possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a writer at Fandomwire with over 1000 articles.