Darabont, Frank Biography

biography of Darabont, Frank

Frank Arpad Darabont
28 January 1959, Montbéliard, Doubs, France
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)_ (qv), starring 'Linda Blair (I)' (qv). 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)_ (qv), directed by 'Chuck Russell (I)' (qv). 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)_ (qv) (with a total of seven nominations) and 1999's _The Green Mile (1999)_ (qv) (four nominations). Darabont himself collected Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay for each film (both based on works by 'Stephen King (I)' (qv)), 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)_ (qv). 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. His most recent feature as director, _The Majestic (2001)_ (qv), starring 'Jim Carrey' (qv), was released in December 2001. His next film as director will be an adaptation of 'Ray Bradbury' (qv)'s classic science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451 (2007), which Darabont is currently writing for Castle Rock and Icon Productions. He is currently executive-producing the thriller, _Collateral (2004)_ (qv), for DreamWorks, with 'Michael Mann (I)' (qv) directing and 'Tom Cruise' (qv) starring. Future produced-by projects include "Way of the Rat" at DreamWorks with 'Chuck Russell (I)' (qv) adapting and directing the CrossGen comic book series and "Back Roads", a Tawni O'Dell novel, also at DreamWorks, with 'Todd Field' (qv) attached to direct. Darabont and his production company, "Darkwoods Productions", have an overall deal with Paramount Pictures.
Denise Huth

-   'Karyn Wagner (II)' (qv) (???? - present)

-   Frequently makes adaptations of stories or novels by 'Stephen King (I)' (qv).

-   Often casts actors 'Jeffrey DeMunn' (qv) and 'William Sadler (I)' (qv) in his movies

-   Wrote a draft of the screenplay for _Collateral (2004)_ (qv).

-   After closely working for more than a year with 'Steven Spielberg' (qv) on a script for _Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)_ (qv), the script was personally rejected by producer 'George Lucas (I)' (qv) 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' (qv)'s _Saving Private Ryan (1998)_ (qv), was an addition that Darabont himself proposed during script revisions.

-   _The Shawshank Redemption (1994)_ (qv) 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 (I)' (qv).

-   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' (qv).

-   Has directed 2 actors in Oscar-nominated performances: 'Morgan Freeman (I)' (qv) (Best Actor, _The Shawshank Redemption (1994)_ (qv)) and 'Michael Clarke Duncan' (qv) (Best Supporting Actor, _The Green Mile (1999)_ (qv).

-   Interviewed in "Directors Close Up: Interviews with Directors Nominated for Best Film by the Directors Guild of America", ed. by 'Jeremy Kagan' (qv), Scarecrow Press, 2006.

-   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. --Premiere, October 1994

-   [on 'Quentin Tarantino' (qv) 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 (I)' (qv) 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)_ (qv) (aka Indiana Jones 4)] Steven was very, very happy with the script and said it was the best draft of anything since _Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)_ (qv). 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 (I)' (qv) 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)_ (qv), 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)_ (qv) 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)_ (qv)] 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 the 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 (I)' (qv) 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.

-   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, lets 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 struggle of getting "Fahrenheit 451" made

-   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 sell-out to me. Honestly, its 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, lets 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. -- on the ending of _The Mist (2007)_ (qv).

-   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 fifty years? Will it be credit to the art form, the way we talk about _Casablanca (1942)_ (qv)?

-   (October 2004) Currently working on adapting "The Mist," a short story by 'Stephen King (I)' (qv), 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 )

-   (January 2007) In Shreveport, Lousiana in the middle of Pre-production on "Stephen King's The Mist"

-   "Movieline" (USA), November 2000, Vol. XI, Iss. 3, pg. 72-75+105, by: Stephen Rebello, "A Man Of Convictions"

-   "Starlog" (USA), May 1992, Iss. 178, by: Bill Warren, "Chronicling the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"

-   "Fangoria" (USA), May 1990, Iss. 92, pg. 52-55,+68, by: Bill Warren, "Darabont Rising"

-   "Spotlight, Walking the Walk" (USA), 4 November 2008, Vol. 9, Iss. 29, pg. 2, by: Adrienne Papp, "Hungarian Film Festival in Hollywood"

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Acting in movies

  1. "The Directors" (1999) {The Films of Frank Darabont (#2.23)}
  2. Drew: The Man Behind the Poster (2012)
  3. Clint Eastwood's West (2011) (V)
  4. Nightmare Factory (2011)
  5. More Tales from the Script (2010) (V)
  6. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) (V)
  7. The Making of The Walking Dead (2010)
  8. The United Monster Talent Agency (2010)
  9. "Last Call with Carson Daly" (2002) {(2010-10-29)}
  10. "Post Mortem with Mick Garris" (2009) {Frank Darabont (#1.5)}
  11. "Project: Comic-Con" (2010) {Day 1: July 21st (#1.1)}
  12. Bob Burns' Hollywood Halloween (2009) (V)
  13. Tales from the Script (2009)
  14. "Entourage" (2004) {Security Briefs (#6.9)}
  15. Drew Struzan: An Appreciation of an Artist (2008) (V)
  16. Monsters Among Us: The Creature FX of 'The Mist' (2008) (V)
  17. Starz Inside: Fantastic Flesh (2008) (TV)
  18. The Horror of It All: The Visual FX of 'The Mist' (2008) (V)
  19. The Mist: Taming the Beast - The Making of Scene 35 (2008) (V)
  20. When Darkness Came: The Making of 'The Mist' (2008) (V)
  21. "Entourage" (2004) {First Class Jerk (#5.8)}
  22. Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (2007) (V)
  23. Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard (2007) (V)
  24. Nexus Generation: Fans & Filmmakers (2007) (V)
  25. "Up Close with Carrie Keagan" (2007) {(2007-11-15)}
  26. 100 Porsches and Me (2006) (TV)
  27. Miracles and Mystery: Creating 'The Green Mile' (2006) (V)
  28. Recreating the Eighth Wonder: The Making of 'King Kong' (2006) (V)
  29. The Sci-Fi Boys (2006)
  30. King Kong (2005)
  31. Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection (2005) (V)
  32. RKO Production 601: The Making of 'Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World' (2005) (V)
  33. "Dinner for Five" (2001) {(#4.11)}
  34. Artifact from the Future: The Making of 'THX 1138' (2004) (V)
  35. Behind the Tunes: Man from Wackyland - The Art of Bob Clampett (2004) (V)
  36. Hope Springs Eternal: A Look Back at 'The Shawshank Redemption' (2004) (V)
  37. Made Men: The 'GoodFellas' Legacy (2004) (V)
  38. "The Charlie Rose Show" (1991) {(2004-09-06)}
  39. Irreverent Imagination: The Golden Age of the Looney Tunes (2003) (V)
  40. Shawshank: The Redeeming Feature (2001) (TV)
  41. "HBO First Look" (1992) {The Majestic (#8.21)}
  42. "The Charlie Rose Show" (1991) {(2001-12-28)}
  43. The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) (TV)
  44. Walking the Mile (2000) (V)
  45. "The Charlie Rose Show" (1991) {(2000-03-20)}
  46. Stephen King: Shining in the Dark (1999) (TV)
  47. The Miracle of 'The Green Mile' (1999) (TV)
  48. Vampires (1998)
  49. "The Shining" (1997) {(#1.3)}
  50. The 52nd Annual Golden Globe Awards (1995) (TV)


  1. "Lost Angels" (2013) {Pilot} (developed by)
  2. "Lost Angels" (2013) {Pilot} (written by)
  3. Godzilla (2014) (screenplay)
  4. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Arrow on the Doorpost (#3.13)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  5. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Clear (#3.12)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  6. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Home (#3.10)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  7. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {I Ain't a Judas (#3.11)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  8. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Prey (#3.14)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  9. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {The Suicide King (#3.9)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  10. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {This Sorrowful Life (#3.15)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  11. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Welcome to the Tombs (#3.16)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  12. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {18 Miles Out (#2.10)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  13. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Beside the Dying Fire (#2.13)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  14. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Better Angels (#2.12)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  15. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Hounded (#3.6)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  16. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Judge, Jury, Executioner (#2.11)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  17. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Killer Within (#3.4)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  18. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Made to Suffer (#3.8)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  19. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Nebraska (#2.8)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  20. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Say the Word (#3.5)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  21. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Seed (#3.1)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  22. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Sick (#3.2)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  23. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {When the Dead Come Knocking (#3.7)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  24. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Triggerfinger (#2.9)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  25. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Walk with Me (#3.3)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  26. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Bloodletting (#2.2)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  27. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Cherokee Rose (#2.4)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  28. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Chupacabra (#2.5)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  29. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Pretty Much Dead Already (#2.7)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  30. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Save the Last One (#2.3)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  31. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Secrets (#2.6)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  32. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {What Lies Ahead (#2.1)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  33. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {What Lies Ahead (#2.1)} (written by) (as Ardeth Bey) <3,1,1>
  34. "The Walking Dead" (2010) (creator)
  35. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Tell It to the Frogs (#1.3)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  36. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Days Gone Bye (#1.1)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  37. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Days Gone Bye (#1.1)} (teleplay) <3,1,1>
  38. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Guts (#1.2)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  39. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Guts (#1.2)} (written by) <3,1,1>
  40. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Wildfire (#1.5)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  41. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Tell It to the Frogs (#1.3)} (teleplay) <3,2,1>
  42. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {TS-19 (#1.6)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  43. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {TS-19 (#1.6)} (written by) <3,2,1>
  44. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Vatos (#1.4)} (developer) <1,1,1>
  45. The Mist (2007) (screenplay) <1,1,1>
  46. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Adventures in the Secret Service (2000) (V) (Austrian segment) <1,1,1>
  47. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Daredevils of the Desert (1999) (V)
  48. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Oganga, the Giver and Taker of Life (1999) (V) <1,1,1>
  49. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: The Phantom Train of Doom (1999) (V)
  50. The Green Mile (1999) (screenplay) <2,1,1>
  51. Black Cat Run (1998) (TV) (story) <1,1,1>
  52. Black Cat Run (1998) (TV) (teleplay) <2,1,1>
  53. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Travels with Father (1996) (TV) <1,1,1>
  54. Frankenstein (1994) (screenplay) <2,2,1>
  55. Nightshift Collection (1994) (V)
  56. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (screenplay) <2,1,1>
  57. "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1992) {Palestine, October 1917 (#2.21)} (writer)
  58. "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1992) {Young Indiana Jones and the Phantom Train of Doom (#2.11)} (writer)
  59. Two-Fisted Tales (1992) (TV) (segment "Showdown")
  60. "Tales from the Crypt" (1989) {Showdown (#4.8)} (teleplay)
  61. "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1992) {Austria, March 1917 (#2.1)} (writer)
  62. "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1992) {Congo, January 1917 (#1.6)} (writer)
  63. "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1992) {German East Africa, December 1916 (#1.5)} (writer)
  64. "Tales from the Crypt" (1989) {The Ventriloquist's Dummy (#2.10)} (screenplay) <2,1,1>
  65. The Fly II (1989) (screenplay) <1,3,1>
  66. The Blob (1988) (screenplay) <3,1,2>
  67. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) (screenplay) <2,3,1>
  68. The Woman in the Room (1983) (writer)

Movies Produced

  1. "Lost Angels" (2013) (executive producer)
  2. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Triggerfinger (#2.9)} (executive producer)
  3. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {18 Miles Out (#2.10)} (executive producer)
  4. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Beside the Dying Fire (#2.13)} (executive producer)
  5. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Better Angels (#2.12)} (executive producer)
  6. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Judge, Jury, Executioner (#2.11)} (executive producer)
  7. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Nebraska (#2.8)} (executive producer)
  8. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Save the Last One (#2.3)} (executive producer)
  9. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Secrets (#2.6)} (executive producer)
  10. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {What Lies Ahead (#2.1)} (executive producer)
  11. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Bloodletting (#2.2)} (executive producer)
  12. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Cherokee Rose (#2.4)} (executive producer)
  13. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Chupacabra (#2.5)} (executive producer)
  14. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Pretty Much Dead Already (#2.7)} (executive producer)
  15. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Tell It to the Frogs (#1.3)} (executive producer)
  16. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {TS-19 (#1.6)} (executive producer)
  17. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Vatos (#1.4)} (executive producer)
  18. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Wildfire (#1.5)} (executive producer)
  19. Tokyo Rose (2010) {{SUSPENDED}} (producer)
  20. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Days Gone Bye (#1.1)} (executive producer)
  21. "The Walking Dead" (2010) {Guts (#1.2)} (executive producer)
  22. Foreign Babes in Beijing (2009) {{SUSPENDED}} (producer)
  23. Runt of the Litter (2009) {{SUSPENDED}} (producer)
  24. The Mist (2007) (producer)
  25. "Raines" (2007) {Pilot (#1.1)} (executive producer)
  26. Collateral (2004) (executive producer)
  27. The Salton Sea (2002) (producer)
  28. The Majestic (2001) (producer)
  29. Walking the Mile (2000) (V) (executive producer)
  30. The Green Mile (1999) (producer)
  31. Black Cat Run (1998) (TV) (executive producer)