But in the 1980s, before his Oscar nominations and his stints as creator and executive producer of the AMC series , Darabont was just another broke Hollywood hanger-on imagining his name on the back of a director’s chair. I was nailing sets together on low-budget films to keep body and soul together,” he says.
But Darabont, a “rabid and devoted” Stephen King fan, nursed a chimera: turning one of the writer’s stories into a film.
Although the film adaptation shortens the title, Rita Hayworth remains a powerful symbol within the film, representing the beauty of hope.
25 years is a long time to chisel away at a prison wall using a tool hardly bigger than a fork, but it's a hobby that keeps Andy sane.
In 1983 a 20-something Darabont handed King a buck to make , a collection of four novellas that represented King’s attempt to break out of the genre corner he’d written himself into over the years.
With his ultimate goal a feature film, Darabont waited for his résumé to lengthen enough to support his aspirations before approaching King again.Blocked search terms included “blind person,” “embassy,” and “Shawshank.”Twenty years ago this week, hit multiplexes.It’s a period prison drama with stately, old-fashioned rhythms, starring Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, wrongfully convicted of killing his wife, her lover and serving two life terms, and Morgan Freeman as fellow lifer “Red” Redding, who narrates the film.But the 90s were an era of booyah action movies starring the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.In , the story of a decades-long quest for redemption and freedom, the closest things to action sequences involve fighting off buggery or defiantly blasting a Mozart duettino.He doesn’t allow the flawed, corrupt system to break him down; instead, he breaks down the system when he busts out by exposing the illicit business practices of the prison’s warden.He doesn’t let hope become something abstract that disappears over the years.Instead, he makes it literal, chiseling it out of the wall one hopeful chunk of concrete at a time.Andy does not allow prison to deprive him of his innate humanity, dignity and self-governance, proving that the institution can never truly master him.Andy remarks that Mozart kept him company in the hole, stating, “That’s the beauty of music.They can’t get that from you.” Because he knows he's an innocent man, Andy's determination to escape is not just about the result of getting out of prison; it is equally about maintaining his self-worth through commitment to the pursuit of his freedom.