How closely do you work with King when you're adapting his work? Do you consult with him a lot, or does he just show up on opening day to see the movie?
Darabont: It's kind of more of the latter, really. My experience with Steve on both the previous films, and it's been this way on The Mist so far, is I say, 'Hey, how about I make a movie out of this?' And he says, 'OK,' and I go off and write the script. I sent him the scripts on Green Mile and Shawshank and The Mist, all three, and he reads the scripts and he would call me and say, 'Wow, I really dig it! Good luck.' Then I would make the movies and he would come and watch them. It's a very simple process with him. He makes it easier rather than harder, and he's been very appreciative of whatever I bring to it. And certainly having the trust of the creator of the story is a huge blessing, I must say. He feels I've done right by him so I've earned a certain amount of trust in what I do. Although, you know what? That was really there from the get-go. Even with Shawshank, he said, 'It's your movie, go make your movie."
Will you be changing the setting of The Mist to a prison, so you can go for the Stephen King prison hat trick?
Darabont: [laughs] Well, you know, when you think about it, that supermarket does become kind of a prison. Maybe I'm drawn to those enclosed, pressure-cooker stories of Steve's!
The Mist is a novella, but it reads very fast.
Darabont: It gallops along, doesn't it? The movie will as well; there's not going to be the same kind of pace that either Shawshank or Green Mile had. It doesn't warrant it or call for it. It'll be a pretty fast and furious narrative, really. And I'm certain the shortest film I've made to date.
And very different from any of the other movies you've directed - it's much more of a standard horror film than any of your other movies.
Darabont: Absolutely. But thankfully there's a core, that wonderful array of Stephen King characters, which is his strength. There's a lot of meat there for the actors and the director.
I've always thought of it as Stephen King's Lord of the Flies, because it's less about the monsters - which are important, certainly. If you're going to do a horror movie you might as well have some really cool monsters - but it's more about the disintegration of civilization in that supermarket, how everything breaks down for those people in there. From that standpoint it's a fascinating story to tell.
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