Because of its lack of a fantastic dimension, we sometimes forget that “Les Évadés” is an adaptation of a text by Stephen King. The author has also made a strong gesture by refusing to cash the check for rights and he made it known with class to the director Frank Darabont.
The escapees : an adaptation that has become cult
If you are wondering which adaptation of Stephen King is the most popular, the answer is likely to be The escapees. It is found in first place of the Top 250 best rated films on the platform IMDB, just in front The Godfather. In France, on Allocine, it’s The green Line which is the first adaptation of King but The escapees is only three places behind.
Basically, there is a short novel contained in Different Seasons. The original title is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption but it was changed for the film in order to avoid a misunderstanding. Indeed, some thought in Hollywood that a biopic on actress Rita Hayworth was in the works. So much so that nominations were sent to director Frank Darabont for this role.
The film is meant to be faithful to the origin story, following the character of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins). Sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover, he presents himself as innocent. But no one wants to believe him and he ends up in Shawshank, a prison notorious for being harsh. King not reinventing himself, it is obviously in the State of Maine that the stage is set. Andy then meets Red (Morgan Freeman), a man locked up for several years. The two will develop a strong friendship.
Stephen King’s nice gesture towards Frank Darabont
Stephen King has not always been satisfied with the adaptations of his works but The escapees is from his point of view a success. It is also interesting to note that Frank Darabont also signed the cult The green Line and the ruthless The mist, which are taken from texts by King. The two men also share a pretty strong anecdote.
The escapees is the first feature film by the director who, at the time, bought the rights from the author for only 5000 dollars. He could have resold them for 2.5 million afterwards, when producer / writer Rob Reiner made an offer. But Frank Darabont absolutely wanted to take care of this story. Shortly after the film’s release, he finds a strange surprise in his letterbox. It turns out Stephen King never cashed the check and returned it to him with a note: “in case you need it to pay the deposit. I love you, Steve.“