Stephen King Looks Back at "The Shawshank Redemption"

Stephen King Looks Back at "The Shawshank Redemption"

Stephen King
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 10:00

In celebration of The Shawshank Redemption's 20th anniversary, Stephen King, author of the source novella adapted by Frank Darabont, looks back at the making of this contemporary American classic. 

Frank's first Stephen King adaptation was a short but extremely moving version of my story, "The Woman in the Room." He gravitated to the non-supernatural from the first, years before Shawshank. I saw that same feel for "regular people" in his screenplay for Shawshank, but I never thought he'd get it produced, because it was too textured and novelistic.

When I first saw it, I realized he'd made not just one of the best movies ever done from my work, but a potential movie classic. That turned out to be the case, but he continued working almost up to the moment the film was released.

"I hate Tim [Robbins's] makeup," he fretted as we watched the last scene. "It looks too liquid, or something. I need to fix that."

"Frank," I said, "people aren't going to notice the makeup, because they'll be crying."

Frank is mostly right, but that time I was. He's gone on to make other great films, two from my work, I'm happy to say, but Shawshank is its own thing--an American icon--and I'm delighted to have been a part of it.