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Frank Darabont Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (22)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 28 January 1959Montbéliard, Doubs, France
Birth NameFrank Arpad Darabont
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont was born in a refugee camp in 1959 in Montbeliard, France, the son of Hungarian parents who had fled Budapest during the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. Brought to America as an infant, he settled with his family in Los Angeles and attended Hollywood High School. His first job in movies was as a production assistant on the 1981 low-budget film, Hell Night (1981), starring Linda Blair. He spent the next six years working in the art department as a set dresser and in set construction while struggling to establish himself as a writer. His first produced writing credit (shared) was on the 1987 film, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), directed by Chuck Russell. Darabont is one of only six filmmakers in history with the unique distinction of having his first two feature films receive nominations for the Best Picture Academy Award: 1994's The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (with a total of seven nominations) and 1999's The Green Mile (1999) (four nominations). Darabont himself collected Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay for each film (both based on works by Stephen King), as well as nominations for both films from the Director's Guild of America, and a nomination from the Writers Guild of America for The Shawshank Redemption (1994). He won the Humanitas Prize, the PEN Center USA West Award, and the Scriptor Award for his screenplay of "The Shawshank Redemption". For "The Green Mile", he won the Broadcast Film Critics prize for his screenplay adaptation, and two People's Choice Awards in the Best Dramatic Film and Best Picture categories. The Majestic (2001), starring Jim Carrey, was released in December 2001. He executive-produced the thriller, Collateral (2004), for DreamWorks, with Michael Mann directing and Tom Cruise starring. Future produced-by projects include "Way of the Rat" at DreamWorks with Chuck Russell adapting and directing the CrossGen comic book series and "Back Roads", a Tawni O'Dell novel, also at DreamWorks, with Todd Field attached to direct. Darabont and his production company, "Darkwoods Productions", have an overall deal with Paramount Pictures.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denise Huth

Spouse (1)

Karyn Wagner (? - ?)

Trade Mark (3)

Frequently makes adaptations of stories or novels by Stephen King.
Often casts actors Jeffrey DeMunn and William Sadler in his movies
Hawaiian shirts

Trivia (14)

Wrote a draft of the screenplay for Collateral (2004).
After closely working for more than a year with Steven Spielberg on a script for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), the script was personally rejected by producer George Lucas who had taken it upon himself to rewrite the script to his liking. Spielberg loved the script, but deferred to longtime pal Lucas on the matter.
The D-Day sequence at Normandy, in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998), was an addition that Darabont himself proposed during script revisions.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is ranked #23 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.
His first novella "Walpuski's Typewriter" was published in 2005.
Good friends with Stephen King.
He was born in 1959 in a refugee camp in France, where his parents were briefly resettled after the Soviet crushing of the 1956 Budapest uprising.
Is good friends with movie poster artist Drew Struzan.
Has directed 2 actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Morgan Freeman (Best Actor, The Shawshank Redemption (1994)) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Best Supporting Actor, The Green Mile (1999).
In Shreveport, Lousiana in the middle of Pre-production on "Stephen King's The Mist" [January 2007]
Currently working on adapting "The Mist," a short story by Stephen King, into a film. No studio announcement has been made as of October 2004, but if all goes on schedule, the final product should see theatrical release in the second half of 2006. (Source: Daniel Robert Epstein's interview with Frank Darabont at http://suicidegirls.com/words/Frank+Darabont/ ) [October 2004]
Frank Darabont has been one of the top script doctors and rewrites in Hollywood going back to the early 1990s. Among the projects he has performed uncredited writing on include: The Rocketeer (1991), Copycat (1995), The Fan (1996), Eraser (1996), Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Majestic (2001), Minority Report (2002), The Salton Sea (2002), Collateral (2004), Law Abiding Citizen (2009) and most recently Godzilla (2014).
Was hired in 2004 to write the script for Mission: Impossible III (2006) after screenwriters Robert Towne and Dean Georgaris failed to deliver good enough drafts. Darabont's script would get polished by Joe Carnahan who was originally attached to direct following David Fincher's departure. Eventually, Cruise hired J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci to write the script for the project.
He was short listed as a director for The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016) and eventually agreed to co-write and direct the film before dropping out.

Personal Quotes (22)

[October 1994, in "Premiere" magazine] If you're going to succeed, you've got to be like one of those punch-drunk fighters in the old Warner Bros. boxing pictures: too stupid to fall down, you just keep slugging and stay on your feet.
[on Quentin Tarantino from an interview in Creative Screenwriting] I find Quentin's work very interesting, because he does dabble so well in the nihilistic world, but yet, there's a real streak of humanity in his work. It's not about the nihilism, it's about people in a sense operating as honorably as they can in a nihilistic world.
[on Stephen King from an interview in Creative Screenwriting] We have a joke now - because the first two films I directed were period prison movies - that my directing career will stall unless he writes another period prison story.
[on his rejected script for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) (aka Indiana Jones 4)] Steven [Steven Spielberg] was very, very happy with the script and said it was the best draft of anything since Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). That's really high praise and gave me a real sense of accomplishment, especially when you love the material you're working on as much as I love the "Indiana Jones" films. And then you have George Lucas read it and say, "Yeah, I don't think so, I don't like it". And then he resets it to zero when Spielberg is ready to shoot it that coming year, [which] is a real kick to the nuts. You can only waste so much time and so many years of your life on experiences like that, you can only get so emotionally invested and have the rug pulled out from under you before you say, "Enough of that".
If you look at a classic horror movie like The Exorcist (1973), part of what makes it so scary is that it feels so damn real. If you add a layer of too much hysterical, theatrical reality, then audiences take it less seriously. But if you play it for absolute reality, then the dread and the horror - which is why we go to horror movies in the first place - is reinforced.
The Majestic (2001) is a movie I'm very proud of and I really love. It achieved exactly what I set out to make. And I find it very moving. It's a very sweet and quaint movie. That's always a tough sell.
The human race is fundamentally insane. If you put two of us into a room together we're soon gonna start figuring out good reasons to kill one another.
[on The Shawshank Redemption (1994)] I really don't think you can get tired of the kind of loving reaction that people have for this movie. It seems to have become its own ambassador to the world. It does mean something to people, and that's so fantastic to me. How many people have even one thing like that in their lives? If [my] obituary is, "Frank 'Shawshank Redemption' Darabont died today at the age of"--hopefully--"110", that would be awesome. Of course, I hope people check out the other films I've made, too, and I hope they enjoy them and I hope I get to make some more that they enjoy. But, hey, if the one thing I'm remembered for is "Shawshank", why on Earth would I complain about that? Few people are remembered for anything.
Stanley Kubrick was a big inspiration. People accuse me of never using my own material. But when did Kubrick? You look at his films and they are completely unique . . . completely separate entities. Sometimes an artist rises above his source material. I'd like to think that my films are personal enough to exist without hearkening back to their respective novels.
[on his struggles getting "Fahrenheit 451" made] Hollywood doesn't trust smart material, if you show them a really smart script. I actually had a studio head read that script and say, "Wow, that's the best and smartest script that I've read since running this studio but I can't possibly greenlight it". I asked why and he says, "How am I going to get 13-year-olds to show up at the theater?" And I said, "Well, let's make a good movie and I bet that will take care of itself". But that argument cut absolutely no ice. The movie was basically too smart for this person, too metaphorical, etc., etc. It's a bit of a battle you've got to fight. When you're faced with it, how do you overcome that prejudice?
[on the ending of The Mist (2007)] That's one of the reasons we shot it so quickly and cheaply, because of that ending. I wound up making it for about half the budget that I had been offered, which came with the caveat that I changed the ending, and I didn't know what another ending would have been, frankly. And I think trying to adjust it would have felt like a total sellout to me. Honestly, it's the ending I had in mind, and whether you love the ending or hate the ending, I stand by it. I think cinema is an art form, it's all expression. I thought, "Okay, let's make it for half that budget and keep that ending, so I can make the movie I set out to make". Otherwise, I'm just a hired monkey.
I'm Willy Loman wandering around with a briefcase under his arm. Truth is, most people in Hollywood are. There's tremendous bureaucracy designed to prevent you realizing your creative vision. They will try to find every reason in the world not to make your movie. It's a very interesting and perverse situation. The only person who can, with impunity, make the movie he wants to make has got to be Steven Spielberg. And I'm sure even he has a bumpy day or two. The rest of us are flailing around trying to find somebody who'll believe in what we believe in. It's tougher than ever, really, because the kinds of movies that I wish to make are not the obvious thing being shoveled out by Hollywood every day. I keep getting sent these scripts, and offers coming through to direct this and direct that. My problem is that I don't want to spend two hours watching them, much less two years making them.
[on screenwriting and being a screenwriter] Don't get into this business if it's about trying to make a million-dollar sale. We've got plenty of assholes around trying to achieve that goal. There are more dilettantes in the game than real, committed, I'm-gonna-go-down-swinging kinda people. We need more of the latter and less of the former. We need people who care about this as an art form. Movies should count for more than an opening-weekend gross, because whatever had a huge gross this week, will they be talking about it in 50 years? Will it be [a] credit to the art form, the way we talk about Casablanca (1942)?
[internal Email during the production of _"The Walking Dead" (2010) about director Gwyneth Horder-Payton's work] Shane being chased by zombies on the Parkway and being rescued by the RV is a major element we must reshoot. Seeing those dailies today left me gobsmacked and thinking I should fake my own death, leave town, and live under an assumed name. There are some shots we can use from Gwyneth's footage, but only shots. Right now the sequence doesn't exist. Re-shooting this along with everything else is something we have to plan for. And I haven't even vetted the goat farm stuff yet, but I can safely bet you a million dollars there are major problems there too. (...) Denise [producer Denise M. Huth], I'm putting my anger and disappointment at Gwyneth aside when I say this. I promise I'm not being a hyperbolic-. Remember our experience with Allen Garfield on The Majestic (2001)? We were all so shocked because it was like he had no grasp of the basics of his craft? And it turned out later that he'd had a stroke he was unaware of? And a few months after we wrapped, the massive secondary stroke happened that put him permanently in the hospital? I am honest-to-God wondering if Gwyneth hasn't experienced the same thing. That's how fundamentally fucked this footage is. It's as if she's totally lost her grasp of what to do. It's like we yanked some kid with no experience out of high school and put her in charge of directing a show. And what's really weird is that she doesn't seem to know it. [June 16, 2011]
[on his lawsuit against AMC] Rather than a referendum on me, this lawsuit is about AMC's radically undervaluing The Walking Dead (2010) in order not to share profits in a manner reflecting the show's actual fair market value. This lawsuit is also about AMC's refusal to share the unprecedented success of the show with the people who actually created that success for them, and about AMC's self-dealing and corporate greed.
[internal Email during the production of The Walking Dead (2010) about too much 'shaky cam'] Tell these operators that if they cannot provide us footage that works, we need to replace them with people who can. What the fuck are we paying them for? 'Ray Charles' could operate better. [2011]
[affidavit from his lawsuit against AMC] Each of these emails must be considered in context. They were sent during an intense and stressful two-year period of work during which I was fighting like a mother lion to protect the show from harm - not only on my own behalf, but ironically also on behalf of AMC. Each of these emails was sent because a 'professional' showed up whose laziness, indifference, or incompetence threatened to sink the ship. My tone was the result of the stress and magnitude of this extraordinary crisis. The language and hyperbole of my emails were harsh, but so were the circumstances.
[internal Email during the production of The Walking Dead (2010)] Yet another scene that doesn't work. Why? Because neither you, nor anybody on set with you, is apparently bothering to read the fucking script I worked my ass off to hand you. The C-camera angle flirted with a closeup on Rick, but of course panned away in each take to Sara Wayne Callies so Rick's line is off camera. Congratulate that C-cam operator for me, and invite him to look for another job. He exhibits yet again the same fucked-up instinct for shooting the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong moment, just as he did in the herd sequence. I want that guy replaced. He's done enough damage. We are paying him to fail every single day and give us no usable footage. He is an idiot. He needs to leave and take his seeing-eye dog with him. Because even his dog is blind. [July 14, 2011]
[internal Email to producer Gale Anne Hurd and others during the production of The Walking Dead (2010)] I am in a state of absolutely boiling rage right now. I just kept Denise [producer Denise M. Huth] on the phone for 20 minutes making her listen to me scream. I hope she conveys to you what the tenor of it, because you need to grasp my fury. I have never been a screamer, but I am now. The work being done on this episode has turned me into one. Congratulations, you all accomplished what I thought was impossible. You've turned me into a raging asshole. Thanks a lot, you fuckers. Everybody, especially our directors, better wake the fuck up and pay attention. Or I will start killing people and throwing bodies out the door. [June 14, 2011]
[internal Email to AMC programming executive Ben Davis during the production of The Walking Dead (2010)] Hey, I'm taking everybody out of the cc loop for a moment. I think you and I can talk candidly, but I don't want to rattle everybody thinking there's dissention or rancor. I promise you there isn't, at least not from me toward you or anybody at AMC. But there sure is some fucking rancor aimed in another direction that I need to share with you. Please let's stop invoking the "writers room." There IS no writers room, which you know as well as I do. I am the writers room. The lazy fucking assholes who were supposedly going to be my showrunners threw that responsibility on me after wasting five months of my time. If it were up to me, I'd have not only fired Chic Egles [correct spelling Charles H. Eglee] and Jack LoGiudice when they handed me the worst episode 3 script imaginable, I'd have hunted them down and fucking killed them with a brick, then gone and burned down their homes. I haven't even spoken to those worthless talentless hack sons-of-bitches since their 3rd draft was phoned in after five months of all their big talk and promises that they'd dig deep and have my back covered. They didn't have my back, they rammed knives into it. Professional courtesy is something one earns, and those douchebags have not earned mine. I don't want to see them cc-ed on ANYTHING any more. They renounced that privilege by not even trying to live up to their job descriptions, by instead leaving me dangling in the wind like a hanged man. Calling their 103 "phoned-in" would be vastly overstating, because they were too busy wasting my time and your money to bother picking the damn phone up. Those fucking overpaid con artists. [July 21, 2010]
[internal Email during the production of The Walking Dead (2010)]

Here's how it's done from now on, and I mean on every episode, WITHOUT MOTHERFUCKING FAIL:

1) The crew goes away or stands there silently without milling or chattering about bullshit that doesn't apply to the job at hand. The AD needs to tell everybody to shut the fuck up and focus.

2) The director, Gale, Denise, David Boyd, the AD and the actors involved with the scene stand there and CAREFULLY READ THE SCENE OUT LOUD WORD FOR WORD. ESPECIALLY AND INCLUDING ALL THE DESCRIPTION. Then you go back and re-read all the description AGAIN in case you missed it the first time.

3) The important beats are identified and discussed in terms of how they are to be shot. In other words, sole creative authority is being taken out of the director's hands. It doesn't matter that our actors are doing good work if the cameras fail to capture it. Any questions come straight to me by phone or text. If necessarily I will shoot the coverage on my iPhone and text it to the set. The staging follows the script to the letter and is no longer willy-nilly horses - with cameras just hosing it down from whatever angle. The physical staging and beat-by-beat action follows the script to the letter.

4) If the director tries to NOT SHOOT what is written, the director is beaten to death on the spot. A trained monkey is brought in to complete the job.

[July 14, 2011]
[if he still watches The Walking Dead (2010) after being fired] Oh god no, why would I ? If the woman you loved with all your heart left you for the Pilates instructor and just sent you an invitation to the wedding, would you go ? There's a deep commitment and emotional investment that happens when you create something that is very near and dear to you, and when that is torn asunder by sociopaths who don't give a shit about your feelings or the feelings of your cast and crew because they have their own reasons to screw everybody, that doesn't feel good. [Nov.2013]

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