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The Green Mile (1999) Poster

Trivia

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According to one of the featurettes on the DVD, Stephen King called this film the single most faithful adaptation of his work.
For emotional scenes, Michael Clarke Duncan would recall his father leaving him as a child.
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Many times the actors are looking at a laser pointing at the floor and not a mouse.
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Fifteen mice were used in the movie. Each spent months being trained to do different tricks.
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Tom Hanks accepted the role of Paul Edgecomb as a favor to Frank Darabont, after he was forced to turn down the role of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption (1994), in order to play the title role in Forrest Gump (1994).
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Coffey's bed was built shorter in order to make Michael Clarke Duncan look like a giant.
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(at around 1h 35 mins) Tom Hanks wasn't pretending to wipe his jacket. The mouse really defecated on him in the scene.
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Tom Hanks treated the entire crew to a meal every Friday night on set.
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The reason Stephen King serialized "The Green Mile" was a deliberate response to fans who flipped to the end of his books, something his mother used to do. Publishing it in installments meant that fans would have to wait for the last installment to find out the ending. King wrote each one with its own miniature climax, but even he admitted he did not have a clue how the story would end.
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Just as director Frank Darabont was getting started writing the screenplay, he found out that his cat had developed a tumor. With the cat dying but not being in any pain, he decided to not have it put down. Instead he cared for it at home while adapting "The Green Mile", referring to it as his "co-writer" or "co-pilot", as it spent a lot of time keeping him company at his desk. Darabont said, "It's the whole 'Green Mile' death row experience . . . The writing of it was very much that. I had this creature I really cared about walking that mile". The cat passed away two months later, just about the same time the script was finished.
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Tom Hanks stayed in character as Paul Edgecomb whenever Stephen King visited the set. King asked him if he would like to sit in Old Sparky, but Hanks refused since he is in charge of the block.
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Frank Darabont called this "the most satisfying movie of his career."
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Michael Jeter was the soul of the cast, according to producer David Valdes. He remembers Tom Hanks crying on Michael's last day of shooting.
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The prison guards wear uniforms to give the movie an "authentic" feel, even though uniforms were not in use at the time in which the movie is set. The book states that all of the guards were in uniform when they were working The Mile.
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When the producers were having trouble finding the right actor to fill the role of John Coffey, Bruce Willis suggested Michael Clarke Duncan, with whom he had co-starred in Armageddon (1998).
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According to director Frank Darabont, Doug Hutchison (Percy) was given the squeakiest shoes he had ever heard. He thought this was the greatest bit of fate, and a "perfectly wonderful, annoying character trait" that he kept it in the movie, and you can hear sometimes how loud his shoes are.
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In reality, Michael Clarke Duncan was of a similar height to his co-star David Morse, and was a couple of inches shorter than James Cromwell. Amongst other things, creative camera angles were used to create the illusion that Duncan, as John Coffey, towered over the prison staff, even "Brutal" Howell and Warden Moores.
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Originally set in 1932, the timeframe was bumped to 1935 so that the movie Top Hat (1935) could be featured.
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More than 30 works of Stephen King have been adapted to movies, but this was the only one to have broken the $100-million mark at the U.S. box-office until It (2017).
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Bonnie Hunt gained 15 pounds for her role. She joked, "It only took half an hour."
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Stephen King said that Tom Hanks fit his part "like an old shoe."
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Michael Clarke Duncan had to stop lifting weights while filming to look more like a man from 1935.
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Originally, Tom Hanks was going to play the older Paul Edgecomb, but the makeup tests did not make him look credible enough to be an elderly man. Dabbs Greer was cast instead as the older Paul Edgecomb.
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Frank Darabont called Thomas Newman's score "a rainbow of music and emotion."
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Doug Hutchison said that every week on set was "a different chapter in Percy abuse."
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When Stephen King visited the set of this film, he asked to be strapped into Old Sparky to see how it felt. He did not like it and asked to be released.
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(at around 1h 40 mins) It was Michael Jeter's idea for Delacroix to be reciting the Hail Mary in Cajun French when he's in the electric chair.
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The mouse used in the stomping scene was a puppet.
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Tom Hanks said that the movie is about "great myths that communicate the complexities of being a human."
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Frank Darabont controlled the lightning machine himself to create all the flashes. "I have a little control panel with buttons on it and I get to go crazy."
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Rodney Barnes was Michael Clarke Duncan's stand-in. According to Barnes, he sneaked onto the set by hiding in the paddy wagon. He surprised Frank Darabont and asked for a job. Darabont was impressed with Barnes' effort and hired him. Barnes wanted to work on the film so that he could meet his favorite author, Stephen King.
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(at around 2h 5 mins) When Paul and Brutus take John Coffey outdoors at night, John looks at the stars and says, "Look Boss, it's Cassie, the lady in the rocking chair." This is a reference to the constellation Cassiopeia. In Greek mythology, Queen Cassiopeia is often depicted as sitting in a chair or rocking chair.
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Final film of Dabbs Greer. NOTE: Greer had originally turned down the role because he had health issues, but director Frank Darabont was determined to have him, so he shot around Greer's character, Paul Edgecomb, until Greer's health issues had been resolved enough to enable him to take the role.
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(at around 1h 21 mins) The crew made a small cannon to shoot chocolate goo at David Morse. The goo hit Morse so hard it went up his nose, in his eyes, and into his mouth. Morse wasn't amused, as he's allergic to chocolate.
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Doug Hutchison (Percy) made a $20 bet with the extras (behind the scenes) during Del's execution that they couldn't recite his lines. Unknowingly, Tom Hanks wrote Hutchison's lines on big cue cards behind him. Hutchison caught on to the joke when the extras kept laughing. By the end of the day, he owed at least $60 to different people.
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Michael Jeter hired a dialect coach to pull off a Cajun accent.
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(at around 2h 40 mins) According to Frank Darabont, it's no coincidence that the projector is creating a halo over John's head.
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E Block was built as one giant set so cameras could follow actors for longer shots.
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Mr. Jingles' cigar box is from Marsh Wheeling, the oldest cigar manufacturer in the U.S.
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In order to make Melinda look strange, makeup artists made it look like she didn't have eyebrows.
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(at around 15 mins) Early in the film, Paul yells at Percy to "Get the fuck off my block," but it was later re-dubbed to "Get the hell off my block."
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(at around 2h 30 mins) The sequence of what Paul sees when he takes John's hand was shot at a slower speed in order to give it a dream-like quality.
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The name for the character John Coffey was lifted from a college professor, Rev. John Coffee. Stephen King had met him once and really liked his name and used it in "The Green Mile." Rev. Coffee taught history classes at Emerson College in Boston, MA, and retired in May 2005.
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According to Frank Darabont, the electricity is meant to sound like a beast being unleashed.
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Frank Darabont originally wanted Barry Pepper to play the part of sadistic guard Percy.
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In order to stay true to the book, Sam Rockwell requested the makeup team apply fake zits for his nude scene.
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John Travolta was offered the role of Paul Edgecomb, but turned it down.
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(at around 3 mins) The music played over the loudspeakers in the retirement home as Old Paul Edgecomb first walks out of his room is the same as the music the nurses played at medication time in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). The music used is Mantovani's "Charmaine".
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According to the novel by Stephen King, Percy Wetmore is supposed to be 21 years old. During production, Doug Hutchison (Percy) was 39. He told director Frank Darabont he was in his early/mid 30s. When he went to audition for The Salton Sea (2002), the director for that film told him he was "too young," at which point Hutchison showed his driver's license to prove his age.
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Although Harry Dean Stanton appears in this film, and there are characters named "Harry" and "Dean Stanton", they are only coincidences; they were in the original novel, which was written long before Stanton was cast in the film.
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The executions of Eduard Delacroix and John Coffey both have real-world parallels. A Florida man named Jessie Tafero was executed, but an artificial sponge was used, rather than a natural one, and his head burst into flame. It has been argued that the cause was not the sponge, but a loose electrode. Pedro Medina, also from Florida, also burst into flame, also attributed to a malfunction. An autopsy revealed that he died instantly, before catching fire. George Stinney, an African-American youth, was the youngest person ever executed, at age 14. He reportedly confessed to a double murder in exchange for a bowl of ice cream. His conviction was posthumously overturned for lack of evidence.
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This film was voted #2 in Channel 4's (U.K.) "Top 100 Tearjerkers" countdown, losing first place to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
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Tom Hanks started gaining weight for his next movie "Cast Away" during the production of this film, figuring that playing a middle aged prison guard was a good opportunity to sport a portly appearance.
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That giant brick wall in the background of the prison is made out of lightweight fiberglass. All the walls could be moved to make room for cameras and lighting.
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The film flips the action of the first two installments of the novel. The first installment, "The Two Dead Girls," begins with John Coffey arriving on the Mile, but at this point Arlen Bitterbuck has already been executed and Eduard Delacroix already has his mouse. The second installment goes back to before John's arrival and tells of Bitterbuck's fate and the origins of the mouse.
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While many of Stephen King's novels are set in the author's native Maine, "The Green Mile" takes place in Louisiana. However, the surname of the main character, Edgecomb, is the name of a town on Maine's mid-coast.
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Frank Darabont cast Dabbs Greer because he was a fan of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), both of which Greer had appeared in.
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Stephen King's original novel "The Green Mile" was published in 100-page paperback installments between March and August of 1996. He had begun developing the story while writing "Desperation" and needed to finish that novel but still wanted to see where his death row story would go. Ralph Vicinanza, a friend of King's who sells foreign publication rights, had recently had a discussion with another friend in England about Charles Dickens, in which he learned that Dickens often published his novels in installments in newspapers and magazines, and it had been suggested that, in the U.S., King could try writing a book that way. Vicinanza was under the impression that no recent novels had been written this way. He was, in fact, mistaken--Tom Wolfe had published his first draft of "The Bonfire of the Vanities" in installments in "Rolling Stone", and that story was also turned into a Tom Hanks film (The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990). "Green Mile, as it turned out, was not King's only story published in installments: his "Dark Tower" series spanned seven full-length books, published over the course of 22 years, from 1982 until 2004.
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The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to not be nominated for Best Director.
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Josh Brolin auditioned for the role of "Wild Bill" Wharton.
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This film went two months over schedule.
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Ving rhames was at one point in mind for the role of John Coffey.
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When Percy first encounters Mr. Jingles he calls him "scurvy", which is a condition caused by lack of vitamin C. Mice have an active gene that synthesizes vitamin C.
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Shaquille O'Neal was considered for the role of John Coffey.
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John Travolta, Kevin Costner, Michael Douglas, Richard Gere, William Hurt and Jeff Bridges were also considered for the role of Paul Edgecomb.
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Voted the #5 Must-See Movie of All Time by listeners of Capital FM in London.
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In the novel is written a scene where Bitterbuck says goodbye to his daughter and her family before his execution. This scene was filmed and scored, with Jude Herrera portraying Bitterbuck's daughter. The scene was later edited out of movie with regard to pace and timing but is included in the special edition DVD, sans underscore, along with one other scene showing characters John Coffey and Paul Edgecomb praying together.
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In the novel, Harry Terwilliger is described as being a young bachelor, while Dean Stanton (Paul's 3rd in command) is the man with the family who is always polishing his glasses. In the film, it is the other way round - the physical appearance and the names have been switched (Harry wears glasses, etc). However, both in the movie and in the book, it is the character by the name of Dean who is attacked by Wild Bill.
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The film features two real life sibling pairs playing siblings: Scotty Leavenworth and Katelyn Leavenworth as the Hammersmith children and Bailey Drucker and Evanne Drucker as Cora and Kathe Detterick.
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(at around 2h 30 mins) The expression about the cheese slipping off the cracker was used in True Blood (2008), which also takes place in Louisiana.
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Harry Dean Stanton who plays a convict, also played a convict in Cool Hand Luke (1967) 32 years earlier.
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Jennifer Lopez turned down the role of Melinda Moores.
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The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Tom Hanks, Sam Rockwell, and five additional nominees: Patricia Clarkson, James Cromwell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Graham Greene, and Gary Sinise.
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Gary sinise (Burt Hammersmith ) also played Stuart Redman in another Stephen king adaptation The Stand 1994
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In this movie James Cromwell and Patricia Clarkson are a married couple. Both will star together later in Six Feet Under (2001) (2003-2005). In this show they are related too, Patricia Clarkson is James Cromwell's sister in law.
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David Morse's second Stephen King production, for a total of three screen adaptions altogether. The first was the 1995 TV miniseries The Langoliers, the third being Hearts In Atlantis in 2001.
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Despite everything being done by the book, Arlen Bitterbuck doesn't immediately die in the electric chair and requires a second jolt, hinting that such executions don't always go cleanly. The fact that Jan and Paul have a college going son in 1935, when Paul is narrating his story. In one of his first conversations with Warden Hal, Paul warns him that Percy's going to hurt someone bad someday if he doesn't shape up. He's right doublefold - first when he sabotages Del's execution with utterly horrific results, and second when he shoots Wild Bill Wharton.
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Mark's the first collaboration between Tom Hanks and director and writer Frank Darabont who originally wanted Hanks for the title role in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) who turned it down due to scheduling conflict with Forrest Gump (1994).
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Michael Jeter's last scene in the movie is his death scene, sadly he passed away in real life 4 years later in 2003 at the age of 51.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

(at around 1h 3 mins) Michael Clarke Duncan was uncomfortable with having to grab Tom Hanks' crotch for the scene where John cures Paul's urinary infection. Hanks left the set and came back to do the scene; Duncan grabbed Hanks' crotch and was shocked to discover that he had put an empty water bottle in his trousers. After that, Duncan felt more comfortable with the scene.
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Sam Rockwell felt really bad delivering some lines in the flashback sequence, because the two little girls liked him.
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To make John Coffey look big, his electric chair is smaller than the chair used in other scenes.
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Mr. Jingles isn't pushing the spool. It's being pulled by a rig that was erased with visual effects. The mouse is following a scent that was applied to the spool.
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By the time Paul introduced Elaine to Mr. Jingles, the mouse would have to be at least 64 years old--in mouse years--over nine times the age of the oldest actual mouse.
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Eduard Delacroix's botched execution scene was inspired by the real-life execution of wrongfully accused murderer Jesse Tafero. On May 4, 1990, six-inch flames shot out of his head during his electric chair execution. It was deduced a synthetic sponge was used rather than a sea sponge.
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Stephen King responded to criticism that saw the film as a racial allegory by saying the only reason he made John Coffey a black man was that, given the time, place and setting of the novel and the crime for which Coffey was convicted, it was the only way to leave no doubt that he would have been sentenced to death.
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(at around 2h 20 mins) When Melinda Moores (Patricia Clarkson) is visited by John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), she gives him a St. Christopher medal. In Catholicism, St. Christopher is known as the patron saint of travelers (John Coffey describes himself as a wanderer) and, like Coffey, died a martyr.
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(at around 1h 40 mins) Michael Jeter taught himself how to say "The Lord's Prayer" in Creole to add authenticity to his character's Cajun heritage. You can hear him quietly reciting it during Del's execution scene, as the dry sponge is being applied to his head.
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(at around 1h 30 mins) Michael Clarke Duncan was holding a light bulb when he resurrects Mr. Jingles, but most of the glow is done with effects.
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Before Del is executed, Paul offers to keep Mr. Jingles for him, but Del declines because Paul lives out in the woods and "Mr. Jingles, he be scared to live out in the big woods." But Paul does end up with Mr. Jingles, and keeps him in a shed "out in the big woods".
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The crew patterned the movements of the bugs that come out of Coffey's mouth after swimming fish and swarming insects.
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The plot unfolds in the form of Paul telling Elaine the story of the Green Mile. In the book, Paul writes his story down in the form of a novel. At the end of the film, as Paul leaves the cemetery after Elaine's burial, a tombstone can be seen behind him that reads "Greene", and two others, one in the foreground and one to the right of the screen, that read "Story".
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In "Doctor Sleep", Stephen King's sequel to "The Shining", when Danny Torrance senses that someone is dying, he experiences it as insects and flies, in the same way that flies come out of John Coffey's mouth when he heals people. In "Doctor Sleep" Danny even speaks Percy's line, "Dead man walking." Also in "Doctor Sleep", flies portend something bad about to happen, such as before Percy is institutionalized.
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(at around 2h 30 mins) When Paul Edgecomb experiences the vision that John Coffey shows him of 'Wild Bill' Wharton abducting the Detterick twins, he sees Klaus Detterick mending a shed roof with hammer and nails. The sound effect of the hammer blows is an indistinct 'Wharton, Wharton, Wharton.'
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Percy upon meeting Wild Bill tells him he's "gonna ride the lightning" in reference to his impending execution via Old Sparky. Ironically, of the 4 prisoners in the film Wild Bill is the only prisoner not to meet his end via the chair, instead he's gunned down by Percy.
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