Iconic filmmaker Frank Darabont isn’t happy with the state of the movie business after recently failing to get an unmade Stanley Kubrick off the ground – even with Ridley Scott attached. These days, Darabont is very well known for developing The Walking Dead for television before he was controversially fired during the second season. Cinephiles will know him better as the director of one of the most respected movies of all time, The Shawshank Redemption, along with other Stephen King adaptations like The Green Mile and The Mist.
On the latest episode of Post Mortem with Mick Garris, Darabont opened up about his latest creative endeavor. Per Dread Central, he reveals how he’s spent the past year writing a new script based on an unmade Stanley Kubrick treatment. Darabont, who wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplays for The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, also felt the screenplay was his best creative endeavor yet. Unfortunately, even with Ridley Scott also on board to produce, nobody in Hollywood was interested.
“I spent the last year writing a script. And I know when I’m hitting on all cylinders or not. I was hitting on all cylinders. It’s a magnificent project based on a treatment that Stanley Kubrick wrote in the late ’50s-an incredible Civil War piece. It’s a very meaningful script and [when] I finished, I said, ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever done.’ And we shopped it around town and we didn’t get a single meeting. .. It’s not just me [involved], [it’s also] the schmuck recluse living up north. Ridley Scott was one of the producers on it! And it’s Kubrick’s idea that he developed with Shelby Foote, a noted Civil War historian.”
Almost echoing the way Martin Scorsese said Marvel movies shouldn’t be considered “cinema,” Darabont also suggests that superhero movies are designed for children, adding that he feels that Hollywood movies are no longer the same art form that they used to be.
“They’re making superhero movies-Marvel movies. They’re making things for the 12-year-old comic book collectors. .. Are they making any movies anymore, really? My thesis is this: It was the art form of the 20th century. But now in the 21st century, it’s just another venue for distraction. It’s one of a thousand different ways that the public and the audience can distract themselves. You can find good stuff, absolutely, and a lot of good writing emigrated to television. Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul ended up being jewels in the crown of great television writing, for example. But you know what? There used to be three networks and a handful of little local stations! Now it’s 10,000 stations!”
To clarify his point of view a bit further, Darabont also compares the oversaturation of today’s media to overprinting money.
“You know what happens when you just keep printing money? It loses its value. In Germany, in the Weimar days, you’d get a barrel of deutsche marks and couldn’t get a loaf of bread, because it just got devalued to the point where it didn’t matter anymore. I wonder, with this massive tsunami of content… is it possible for anything to really count anymore? To be that thing that people hold dear 20 years later, like people seem to be holding Shawshank dear? Like, the way that we held Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz dear? Is it possible? Or are we now just part of all the noise?”
It does seem strange that a movie that’s written by The Shawshank Redemption writer-director, based on a Stanley Kubrick treatment, and produced by Ridley Scott, failed to get the attention of a single studio. There’s no denying that the state of the movie business has changed exponentially over the past few decades, but there will be many who disagree with Darabont’s suggestion that Marvel movies are to blame. This news comes to us via Dread Central, and you can listen to the full interview with Darabont on the Post Mortem with Mick Garris podcast.