In the exceptional and very moving “The Green Line”, there is on screen the head warden Paul Edgecomb, the death row inmate John Coffey, the mouse Mister Jingles and all the others… But behind the scenes, to develop the scenario, another character with a tragic history helped Frank Darabont to write his very great film.
The green Linea great Hollywood drama
In 1999, Frank Darabont directed a very great film, the Under unforgettable green Line. Adapted from a novel by Stephen King, The Green Line recounts, through the voice of head warden Paul Edgecomb, sixty years later, the daily life on “death row” in a penitentiary in Louisiana in the 1930s, where convicts await their execution in the electric chair. Head warden Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) is a man of great humanity, who wants convicts to enjoy the most peaceful environment possible.
One day, they welcome a new death row inmate, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a colossus with child psychology, and who holds a mysterious power… He will turn the lives of the guards and other convicts upside down, to unimaginable proportions.
Part drama, part crime thriller, and part fantasy, The Green Line is a huge success, in front of which it is very difficult to hold back tears. And to touch the heart of the public, Frank Darabont has done his part, many. Indeed, Frank Darabont is also adapting the novel into a screenplay, in pocket format, this represents 500 pages to be converted into a single film. The screenwriter and director pull off a double feat: adapting the novel, what he does in just eight weeks of work in total but above all, he does at the pace of the writing and publication of the different episodes between March and August 1996. And at the time, Frank Darabont crossed a difficult personal episode that will paradoxically help him write the screenplay.
An intimate drama for Frank Darabont
The green Line is a film bathed in sadness, love, and empathy. It’s hard not to be touched by the journeys of the main characters, where great struggles mingle – that against racism for example – and more personal, intimate battles. This was also the case, behind the scenes, of Frank Darabont, who Told that he had lived her cat’s disease as an analogy with the film.
As Frank Darabont begins writing the screenplay, his cat is diagnosed with a cancerous tumor. In such a terminal situation, it is common to euthanize the animal without waiting too long to avoid a painful end of life. But in this specific case, the tumor was not painful. So, knowing that his cat was going to die anyway, Frank Darabont kept him at home, took care of him, even calling him “co-screenwriter” of The Green Line. Indeed, the cat very often sat at his writing-table and kept him company. Condemned, as similar to the characters of his screenplay, Frank Darabont, therefore, saw a very strong link with the film.
It’s the complete death row experience of “The Green Line”… Writing his screenplay was like that. I had with me this creature that I loved very much, and who also roamed this corridor.
And as a sign, the cat died almost at the same time Frank Darabont was putting the finishing touches to his screenplay. Thus, heartrending on the screen, the story of the genesis and development of The green Line so is it.