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Quint chats with Frank Darabont and Greg Nicotero about THE MIST, FAHRENHEIT 451 and THE LONG WALK!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a particularly good interview I was recently a part of with director Frank Darabont and KNB legend Greg Nicotero. We got together when they were both in Austin to premiere THE MIST, which Darabont adapted and directed, with Nicotero serving in his normal function as show-runner for KNB EFX as well as handling all the second unit directing. I go back a long time with Greg and I’ve been acquainted with Frank for a few years, so there was no shortage of conversation, but for the most part we stick to the topic at hand, although you will find some tangents below, especially towards the end. The thing was that I was only scheduled for 20 minutes and I ended up with over 40 due to the journalist following me running into traffic. So, we reach a point where we just start kind of bullshitting about movies and cigars. However, we do cover a lot of ground, including tons of stuff on THE MIST, Stephen King, FAHRENHEIT 451 and THE LONG WALK. This is one of my favorite interviews in recent memory. Hope you guys dig it! *Side note: There's a bit in this interview where we discuss the original scripted opening for THE MIST that gave a more solid origin for the mist itself. We don't really talk about it in specifics, but I wanted to give you a heads up in case it comes so out of left field as to be confusing.*



Quint: This is the first time that you have used a lot of heavy effects stuff, right? Did that trip you up at the end?

Frank Darabont: No, God no, nothing “tripped us up.” Everybody acquitted themselves gorgeously and that they met the schedules they had to meet was remarkable. On top of the achievement of what they did creatively, the fact that they were able to do it on the schedule and the budget that we had was quite amazing, so there was no trip up. It was just a horserace at the last moment.

Quint: I still haven’t seen it, because I didn’t want to go see it at that crappy place that they press screened it, but I’m seeing it tonight.

Frank Darabont: Apologies for that, I told them “screen it for the press at ALAMO! Don’t screen it at this crappy place.” They said “OK,” and then it happened at the crappy place anyways…

Quint: I’m looking forward to it tonight.

Frank Darabont: They only listen to me to a degree, which lately isn’t much.

Greg Nicotero: The problem is they think they know better.

Quint: Did they tell you that they moved it from the Ritz, though?

Frank Darabont: No, where’d they move it too?

Quint: They sent out an email last night to all of the ticket holders saying that there was something that they couldn’t move or something that they couldn’t deal with and so it’s now at the South Lamar. It’s a good theater though.

Frank Darabont: Is that a good theater?

Greg Nicotero: Oh yeah.

Quint: It’s not like the “breaking in” movie for the RITZ though, which is the only bummer, but…

Frank Darabont: That is a shame.

Greg Nicotero: It’s about ten minutes out of (down)town vs. 6th Street.

Quint: It’s cool though, since it’s a good theater. That’s where FANTASTIC FEST was and everything so it shouldn’t be…

Frank Darabont: As long as people get to see the moving in a good way and the projection is good and it sounds good and… I was actually thinking about this as I woke up this morning, this is actually our world premiere tonight. Yeah, we’ve had test screenings and we’ve had press screenings and blah blah blah, but this is the first time we are actually able to show the movie to the public in a finished form, where all of the effects are what they were intended to be and all of the sound is mixed and you’re not missing half of the sound and all of that.

Quint: This is the film that everybody will see?

Frank Darabont: This is the film that everybody will see, so tonight I guess is our world premiere, so how appropriate to do it in Austin? That’s kind of pleasing to me, because it’s a hotbed of fans and movie lovers.

Quint: There’s nothing like an Austin audience.

Frank Darabont: That’s really cool, I’m delighted by it.

Quint: You’re going to dig it. The way that the audience reacts is just… I’m helping the Alamo build their trailer reel beforehand, so…

Greg Nicotero: Oh good!

Quint: I think the first time I met you at Santa Barbra, one of the first things that we talked about was this movie, THE MIST.

Frank Darabont: Oh reallyh? I guess I’ve been talking about this movie for years, haven’t I?

Quint: It’s been so long.

Frank Darabont: Greg knows...

Quint: The road up until tonight has been very long, so what do you think kept the project from happening up until now?

Frank Darabont: I hadn’t set my mind to it. It’s not like it was rife with trouble, it’s just that other things got in the way. THE GREEN MILE got in the way… OK, well “got in the way” is not exactly the phrase one might use…

[Everyone Laughs]

Frank Darabont: Other opportunities arouse that I pursued, like THE GREEN MILE… like THE MAJESTIC. When your primary focus of your career is being a screenwriter for hire, you wind up with the years going by as you’re honoring your deadlines and doing the work that you have been hired to do and then the day comes when you think “OK, now is the time to do this! I have to pull this off of the backburner, because the planets have aligned and I have to make this now.” And pulling back the reigns on the writing aspect of my career… I wanted to switch my focus from being a writer first and a director occasionally, to being a director first and just making more movies and not spending so much of my creative life trying to solve other people’s problems, but rather creating my own problems.

Quint: How long have you had the rights to THE MIST?

Frank Darabont: Since 1994, right after SHAWSHANK was released, which Steve [King] really loved and said “well, is there anything else you want?” I said, “Yeah… I’ve always wanted to do THE MIST.” He said, “OK.” I don’t think he figured it would take me 13 years to get around to it, but…

Greg Nicotero: Yeah, but making that movie now versus making it 13 years ago…

Frank Darabont: Oh thank God we did it now! This stuff… I have no idea how we would have shot some of this stuff…

Greg Nicotero: It would’ve been completely different, that’s for sure.

Frank Darabont: And indeed I wasn’t ready or I would not have been ready 13 years ago to embrace the style… just leaving the effects out of it for a moment… to embrace the style that I think the movie required. I wasn’t ready to color outside of the lines yet as a film maker 13 years ago. I was still very concerned with being precise. It was really only recently that I was ready to put all of that aside, get out of the comfort zone and try something completely different and much more instinctive as you shoot. You were there, you saw! This wasn’t carefully preplanned.

Quint: It’s a very different style…

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Frank Darabont: Coverage as the earlier films were… it wasn’t that painstaking approach that I’ve used in the past. This was “jump in there and start shooting and we’ll figure it out.” We would just hope that one camera crew wouldn’t trip over the other camera crew, which they would do sometimes. One of our tasks in this, there had to be at least a dozen shots in the movie where we had to do a little digital correction to get the other camera out of the shot, like something as simple as reframing in the DI, which is very simple to do since there isn’t any computer artist erasing anything, you literally just “zoom the shot in, because that camera accidentally came into the edge of the shot.” We would just zoom it in and then zoom it back out when the guy was gone. Or here were a few cases where we literally had to go in and do an effects shot and digitally…

Quint: Rotoscope him out.

Frank Darabont: Yeah, roto him out or…

Greg Nicotero: Erase Billy out of the loading dock…

Frank Darabont: Yeah, erase Billy out of the loading dock or erase Richie out of the market or whatever.

Greg Nicotero: There was a shot Everett showed me… it was a reference plate when everyone’s at the window looking at all of the bugs and in the first cut, you liked the performance of the actors, but in the background me, Shan, and Jake are all in the shot holding bugs against the window!

Frank Darabont: Fake bugs up at the window for a reference shot.

Greg Nicotero: You fell in love with that shot and Everett said to me, “If I have to paint you assholes out of that shot, I’m going to kill myself…” Because we’re just holding the bugs and you can see us and they just acted the whole scene out and you loved that particular take with the actors.

Frank Darabont: Yeah.

Quint: If you were really brave, you would have just kept Greg in it!

[Everybody Laughs]

Greg Nicotero: “The scariest monster in the movie…”

Frank Darabont: You and Everett…

Greg Nicotero: The most horrific designs ever!

Frank Darabont: That would have been funny.

Quint: That’d be great, you know everything else is done so meticulously and then…

Greg Nicotero: Then just one shot where you say “ah, fuck it…”

Frank Darabont: Yeah. “Screw it!” (laughs) Ultimately the responsible hat does go on and you go “OK, there’s got to be another take that’s at least as good” and so we eventually replaced the take with something that wouldn’t require the expense of painstakingly painting these guys out and the take we used is awesome and I certainly don’t regret that, but those are some of the choices that you wind up making, because it’s that producing hat, the responsible guy who says “We can’t spend the money for that, we don’t have the money for that! Let’s figure out the creative solution otherwise…”

Greg Nicotero: And one of the most exciting things about the creative solution between myself and Everett and you was the shot where the bag boy drops *whoosh* goes down and we did two… we did a take with the stunt guy dropping and then a take with him rolling and getting pulled out and Frank was like “We’ve got to reshoot it, because I want to do it all in one take.” We were in the editing room and literally we were going to have to rebuild the door, because it’d all been struck and I think I said, “Hey why not when his arms swing, just do a digital wipe from the stunt guy to the…”

Frank Darabont: Yeah.

Greg Nicotero: Then he was like “OK good, now I don’t have to reshoot that. Moving on…” We worked so well together, but Frank said something very meaningful to me on THE GREEN MILE, we were talking about reshooting the opening with Michael Clarke Duncan and the two little girls and there was some discrepancy with some of the stuff that Frank wasn’t 100% happy with and I said, why don’t you just tell me and we’ll just make new ones and we’ll reshoot. He said “I don’t want to have to shoot another frame of film on this movie if I don’t have to.” THE MIST was the same thing, like “we got to get it.” We don’t have the luxury of going in and doing reshoots and so you get into that mindset. We didn’t have the opportunity…

Frank Darabont: I hate reshoots. To me that feels like cheating. Sometimes you pick something up, of course, but I know all of these people that go out and shoot their movie and then they go back and do another three weeks of shooting. It’s like “what were you doing the first time?” Having said that, I may be the guy who eats crow and has to reshoot something on the next film and hopefully not, but it’s sort of a point of pride that if there’s something that wasn’t optimal, I can usually fix it in the editing room and come up with an even better solution without having to reshoot. I hate doing that. I walked off THE MIST set knowing that I needed one additional insert shot of a gas gauge and I said “I think that’s all I need” and indeed that was all I did need. One day we shot an insert of a gas gauge. Panavision loaned us a camera, we had the old car in the parking lot there and we shot an insert of a gas gauge. I knew that’s exactly what we needed. On SHAWSHANK I needed three insert shots. I don’t mind doing insert shots in post, because you don’t want to spend production time with a big crew there if you need a shot of a poster on a wall or hands loading a gun or whatever, but to reshoot a whole part of the movie?

Quint: How was the editing different this time, because it was so much more chaotic.

Frank Darabont: From an editing standpoint, this is the most challenging film I’ve done, because it’s one thing to go in with the more traditional approach of “here’s our master… here’s our coverage… we’re going to shoot an over on Tom Hanks and then we’ll get a two shot here and you have X number of choices with any one of those setups. Here, every single take of every single camera was a completely different thing, because Billy and Ritchie were in there improvising the camera work for every single take. I’m watching their work on the monitors as you saw on the set and judging what they’re doing almost in real time, using a little bit of playback, but not that much and going in and making suggestions and adjustments to them, just like I would with the actors and then going to the next take. Well, this approach of a sort of improvised documentary approach to the camera work makes it possible to shoot a movie like this in six weeks, but it also, on the other end of that hump, it provides a far greater challenge in the editing room, because your choices are so much greater in volume and it winds up being instead of 10 ways you can cut a scene together, there’s a 100 ways and you really have to vet all of the coverage to find out where all those great moments are in the performances or where the camera did something particularly interesting, that it only did that one take, because it’s all improvised. It was a tremendous challenge in the editing room with this one and from that standpoint probably my most satisfying film. I love being in the editing room and finding the movie there where you’re really making the movie…. Luckily I had a fantastic editor who was used to this style, Hunter Via, who worked on THE SHIELD…

Quint: He’s used to pulling those moments out…

Frank Darabont: He was really used to it and he had a fantastic eye for it and in many instances would instinctively hunt out the defining moment…

Greg Nicotero: That’s why his name’s “Hunter.”

Frank Darabont: Yeah, well… there you go! It’s appropriate. It was a bear to cut, but also a thrill.

Quint: Going back to the writing aspect of it now, are you comfortable in doing adaptations, because that seems to be what most of what you’ve done, as a director, has been an adaptation.

Frank Darabont: Yeah, me and Stanley Kubrick… I mean, come on give me a break here. I hate these occasional snots online who go “Oh yeah, when’s he going to be original?” Why don’t you dig up Stanley Kubrick’s bones and tell him to be original? Because his entire body of work is all adaptations with a few very early examples to the contrary, but believe me I’m not comparing myself to Stanley Kubrick, because he was a far more brilliant man than I, but yeah… it’s mostly adaptations. I don’t know why I’m being singled out as some unoriginal asshole by some of these fellows.

Quint: I didn’t mean it that way.

Frank Darabont: Not you… not you… not at all… As a storyteller, you find a story you want to tell and whether that comes from your own brain or whether it comes from a piece of material that you find, it’s the same impulse. I tend to respond to stories that I find and they inspire me to want to join the effort of telling that story.

Quint: You’re also a fan, too.

Frank Darabont: Yeah, totally.

Quint: That’s the thing – you find something you’re passionate about and you’re just as passionate as any nerd on a message board, but you have the means to go and make those movies.

Frank Darabont: Believe me, if I had a fertile original idea machine in my head, like Stephen King does, I’d be making more original films from scratch by me, but that’s a very rare and prodigious skill to be able to generate that many original ideas, like Stephen King does… God… I don’t know where that comes from.

Quint: Is the process of adaptation the same when you’re adapting Ray Bradbury as when you’re adapting King?

Frank Darabont: Fundamentally. You’re looking for ways to bring the story out. You’re looking for ways to translate that which is literary to that which is filmic. I call it connecting the dots. You’re looking for ways to express the author’s idea in a way that film can do it best rather than what they can do best on the page, so it’s a whole thing about fiction and film being two different languages and you have to try and make the translation as well as you can and try to maintain the author’s voice as well as you can, so that it feels like King or that it feels like Bradbury.

Quint: I think that’s really important, especially from a fan’s perspective, and that’s why so many fans of King’s stuff are so comfortable with you doing his adaptations, because they can hear his voice when they see your movies.

Frank Darabont: That’s awesome. I love that. That’s like the biggest compliment there is!

Quint: No matter what it’s like, even on troll central talkback, people will still be like “I never thought they could make THE MIST” or “I never thought they could do this, but if anybody’s going to do it, it’s gonna be Frank.”

Frank Darabont: That’s awesome and I love that kind of faith and support. I hope they feel that their faith is rewarded in this instance. Steve has certainly gotten to trust me. Well, he trusted me from the get-go.

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Greg Nicotero: Yeah, but it’s your vision of his stories and you bring so much to it and I think that’s a collaboration that is successful and important, putting his material in your hands yields something so much more and I think that’s why people respond to it. Having seen SHAWSHANK and GREEN MILE, they’re like… you’re taking something that’s great and putting it into this guy’s hands and it’s fantastic.

Quint: Well, you’re making it well. You could do a literal adaptation and end up with something far inferior…

Greg Nicotero: …but in your hands, it’s always superior.

Frank Darabont: Well, thank you gentlemen, my head is swelling; stop it.

Quint: You obviously have a relationship with King now, but do you still get nervous whenever you send any of your stuff to him?

Frank Darabont: Of course and probably more so with THE MIST than the other material, because the script took two big leaps of faith, I guess, or it took two big chances with his material that I knew he wouldn’t have seen coming. One is the whole Jessup storyline, which I felt the story needed on film to show us the inevitable outcome of Mrs. Carmody’s influence. In the story, they talk about her being dangerous, but in the film we need to see that she is and then of course, the end of the movie.

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I felt the movie needed an ending and that’s the one that felt intuitive to me and appropriate to me, but it certainly does diverge from King by adding something that was not there in his story. From that standpoint I was… But we had been talking for years about this issue, because I don’t know that he was ever completely satisfied with the open ended nature of the story that he wrote. He said to me a number of times through the years “you know, you’re going to have to come up with an ending…” (laughs) I said, “Steve, I think I’ve got something in mind and I hope you like it when you read it,” because I had this ending in mind for about ten years. When I sent it to him and he wrote back and he said “I love the ending. I wish I had thought of it… If I had, that’s the ending I would have used in my story.” I thought “OK excellent, good…”

Quint: (laughs) You’re on safe ground!

Frank Darabont: I’m on safe ground… I’m on terra firma!” So that was awesome, because at the end of the day I want to please him as much, if not more, than I want to please anybody. You take an author’s work and translate it in a different medium, you want the author to feel like you did right by him and didn’t abuse him.

Quint: That’s part of what I was talking about with you approaching this like a fan. If you would just approach it, because it was just a good story, you wouldn’t really give a shit. It’s like “Yeah, I’ll take the story and I’ll do whatever I want,” but the fact that you are so reverent of King and so respectful, that’s why his fans have trust in you and why I assume he has trust in you.

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Frank Darabont: I tend not to want to change the material anymore than I have to.

Quint: I remember the whole beginning thing…

Frank Darabont: Yeah, I’m really glad I didn’t shoot that.

[Everyone Laughs]

Greg Nicotero: I remember the day you came and said… even though we love the idea of the OUTER LIMITS futuristic lab… Frank and I even joked around about putting the same sound effects from the…

Frank Darabont: That wasn’t a joke, we were going to do it.

Greg Nicotero: But we talked about that…

Frank Darabont: I was going to start the movie on a shot of an oscilloscope going “whaa wow whaa” and pull back and reveal the scientists at their task. I was totally going to tip the hat to OUTER LIMITS to the old series, but I’m really glad we didn’t, because the story ultimately didn’t need it. And that was a little bit of insight from Andre Braugher, bless his heart. There’s two big great bits of story that benefited from my listening to the suggestions of my talented actors. One was Andre Braugher, the very first time I met him we had dinner one night in Shreveport and I had never met him until he was there for costume fittings and then he had to leave for another week and then he was going to come back and we were going to start shooting. As we were sitting there at that steakhouse in Shreveport…

Greg Nicotero: Superior Steakhouse.

Frank Darabont: Yeah! And in the middle of the conversation he kind of pauses and he looks at me and he says “You think you need that scene at the beginning?” and I went “meh… probably not.” (laughs) Thank God we pulled it, because that would have been an additional three days of filming for a scene that I would have wound up putting on the cutting room floor, so thankful to him for that bit of clarity.

Quint: Well the mystery is always better.

Frank Darabont: Yeah, it really is.

Quint: I think on the set we were even talking about that and I was just like… When in doubt, always go back to the material, like why did it work in the book, you know?

Frank Darabont: Indeed. We were attracted to that for…

Greg Nicotero: Nostalgic reasons…

Frank Darabont: Nostalgic reasons more than…

Quint: It would have been cool, but…

Frank Darabont: Yeah, it would have been really cool and in fact I’d love to still shoot that scene one of these days…

Greg Nicotero: On the special edition DVD… Shoot it at KNB!

Frank Darabont: What we should have done was shoot it as a little online movie.

Greg Nicotero: That would’ve been funny.

Frank Darabont: That would have been cool.

Greg Nicotero: As the intro to the movie…

Quint: Or the teaser…

Frank Darabont: Yeah, that would’ve been fun.

Greg Nicotero: You know when they put movies out on DVD and there’s always the extras… We could shoot it for the DVD release and have it like an extra little added movie.

Frank Darabont: Nah, I’m done with this.

[Everybody Laughs]

Greg Nicotero: I knew you would say that! “It’s a great idea, fuck it.”

Frank Darabont: Greg Meltin was most disappointed.

Greg Nicotero: And Dave Skow.

Frank Darabont: That’s right. We had actually scouted out a fantastic place for this. We were going to put it in an old… I know it doesn’t sound exotic, but there was an old artillery shell factory on that very same military base and there were these huge, I don’t even know what the hell they were, but they were like a story and a half tall… these giant… turned out to be furnaces, but they were just this amazing conglomeration of pipes and metal and steel and it was really a downgrade environment that we were going to put these few little high tech touches in that old Jules Verne feeling chamber in the middle of it and guys on laptops around it with tables and stuff, so it’s like a military experiment on a budget.

Quint: Where they would fuck up really easy.

Frank Darabont: Yeah, they had to find some nook or cranny that was being unused and move their equipment in and do it that way rather than going the “super Andromeda Strain” approach. It was going to be what a lot of these things actually are, which is “OK, well we’ve got some space we can use here and it’s certainly out of the way…” Visually it would have been this fantastic looking thing, but I’m still glad we didn’t shoot it. The film didn’t need it.

Quint: What else do you have tucked away? Are you doing FAHRENHEIT next?

Frank Darabont: Fingers crossed. I hope the strike doesn’t affect things… It’s a little hard to tell a studio you’re going to start shooting next July or whatever when you don’t know you can. Things are looking good, things are on track, but until you’re actually on the set saying “action…” Nothing’s 100% and never is… not in this business, so fingers crossed. I’m hoping that goes next, because I really want to do that one.

Quint: Since the set visit, I keep getting questions like I’m officially your emissary or something…

Frank Darabont: My translator?

Quint: …it’s like “He has LONG WALK. Is he going to do that? How’s he going to shoot LONG WALK?” I’m just like “I don’t know.”

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Frank Darabont: I don’t know yet either. LONG WALK, if anything, would probably be even more low budget, because talk about something that would benefit form this sort of documentary approach to things… It would be this weird mixture of Steve King populist story slash, God help me for saying this, art house movie, because it’s such a unique piece and it’s not particularly plot driven at all, but an incredibly compelling character thing. I don’t know that I would have as much to add to that as I have to THE MIST, even. That would be a pretty faithful adaptation and I don’t know that it wants to be particularly slick. If you wind up changing things too much and you wind up making it too slick and suddenly it turns into RUNNING MAN, which really would have benefited from not going slick…

Greg Nicotero: Norman Jewison and ROLLERBALL…

Frank Darabont: Yeah, which is an awesome film that Greg and I were just talking about how much we love that movie, but the remake took it into a place that we just didn’t need to go and RUNNING MAN is probably the most perplexing adaptations of a Stephen King story that I’ve ever seen.

Quint: There’s very little in it… It’s a Schwarzenegger action vehicle in 80’s cheese prime.

Frank Darabont: (laughs) You’ve described it perfectly!

Greg Nicotero: Yes, with Richard Dawson…

Quint: Which I actually thought was kind of a brilliant touch. I love Richard Dawson, but yeah it just had the story… I saw RUNNING MAN before I read the story and I remember reading the story thinking I had gotten the wrong book.

Frank Darabont: “What the hell is this?”

Quint: Yeah, but I love the story and I just thought that maybe it was something else and they just took the title.

Frank Darabont: I had the same experience when I was 12 years old and I saw THE OMEGA MAN, which at the age of 12, I thought was the greatest movie ever and then I found this little paper back, THE OMEGA MAN, and I can still picture the cover in my head and I thought “Oh boy, a novelization of the movie!” I bought it and took it home and I read it and I was going “They printed the wrong book here…” By the time I was done with it, I thought “Wow, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read, but it is so earthy and gritty and small.” I AM LEGEND is not a story that needs to be blown out of proportion, which is not to denounce the upcoming movie, I just wish they had called it THE OMEGA MAN, because it strikes me as more of a remake of THE OMEGA MAN than an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s awesome story.

Greg Nicotero: I did the same thing with LOGAN’S RUN, because I saw the movie and I was 14 and then the book came out and the book I thought was the novelization of the screenplay and it was George Clayton Johnson and (William) Nolan thing and it was completely different and I was like “Is this the same thing? They have had to have done something wrong…”

Frank Darabont: “Where’s Farrah Fawcett? Where’s Farrah Fawcett? Where’s Roscoe Lee Brown?” (laughs)

Greg Nicotero: The biggest thing in the movie is that there is no sanctuary, they’re just freezing everybody, but in the book there actually is a spaceship at the end and they get up and go to sanctuary. I’m like “wait a minute, that’s completely different.”

Frank Darabont: Yeah!

Greg Nicotero: “Who took that book and made that screenplay?”

Frank Darabont: You know that the director of LOGAN’S RUN is Laurie Holden’s step-father, Michael Anderson.

Greg Nicotero: I know, we talked about that on set.

Frank Darabont: He also directed THE DAM BUSTERS and is a very fine director and a very nice man. I’ve met him and he’s just a doll… What other movies can we talk about?

Quint: That’s the fun part.

Frank Darabont: Yeah, no kidding. You’ve got to ask her about that, by the way, if you interview her. Are you coming to New York?

Quint: No.

Frank Darabont: Too bad!

Quint: For some reason I’m on these New York mailing lists for these press junket stuff, but I really can’t stand the junkets…

Frank Darabont: Ug… the junket thing is so tough.

Quint: Press conferences and 15 people round table interviews don’t hold any interest for me. I can’t imagine how horrible it is for you guys.

Frank Darabont: Well, it’s a pleasure with you, because we wind up talking about other things instead of hearing the same twelve questions over and over again, which is great.

Quint: I usually have to precursor the interesting stuff with the same boring questions.

Frank Darabont: Yeah, of course.

Greg Nicotero: Well, that’s your job and actually just to put an exclamation point on the LOGAN’S RUN thing… Everyone that’s our age… I mean, I loved LOGAN’S RUN when I was a kid. The guy who plays the first runner in the movie that Michael York and Richard Jordan chase up the steps and shoot, his name is Glenn Wilder, he was one of the stunt guys on THE MIST, because he lives in Dallas and worked in Dallas.

Frank Darabont: Is that right?

Greg Nicotero: So he came to set and I was like “THAT’S the guy from LOGAN’S RUN!” Then you and I started talking about it and that’s when you were like “guess who’s dad directed it…” I stood and talked to him about LOGAN’S RUN for a while and it was just kind of funny. Movie geeks.

Frank Darabont: You know another great bit of Laurie Holden trivia?

Quint: To add to our little wikipedia page?

Greg Nicotero: Let’s just talk about Laurie Holden trivia…

Frank Darabont: Yeah, let’s! Her grandmother, Gloria Holden, played Dracula’s daughter.

Greg Nicotero: Really? I didn’t even know that.

Frank Darabont: Yeah, did you not know that? Her grandmother on her father’s side… Laurie’s totally a genre legacy. She’s a treasure.

Quint: That’s awesome. It’s weird and I don’t know what it is about her, but I wouldn’t picture that she would have such deeper roots in Hollywood.

Frank Darabont: Oh yeah.

Quint: There’s some people that you can look at, like any of the Coppola clan or something and you can tell that they were born and bred into that.

Frank Darabont: So what else do you want to know?

Quint: I keep not wanting to go on tangents, because we’re going super long. I’m just worried that when I start another part of the interview that the other press dude will finally show up.

Greg Nicotero: They’ll come and let us know.

Frank Darabont: My guess is who ever is supposedly next is not here yet so otherwise they would have rousted us by now, so keep going.

Quint: I think that’s about all I got, but I’ll still take their time. Do you smoke cigars?

Frank Darabont: I do and in fact I brought some Cubans.

Quint: I’ll trade you.

Frank Darabont: What’ve you got?

Quint: I brought you my favorite cigar. It’s called a Grand Reserve from Gurkha.

Frank Darabont: It’s got a great logo. I’m not familiar with them. (To Greg) Look at the art on that label. With the big Gurkha knife!

Greg Nicotero: That’s hilarious! “We don’t gotta show you no stinkin’ badges!”
Quint: It’s very fine tobacco and the wrapper is infused with Louis XIII cognac.

Frank Darabont: Oh wow. I’ll swap you one for a really excellent Cuban cigar, but I’ll have to give it to you tonight.

Quint: I’d love that. Want one Greg?

Greg Nicotero: No, I’m good. I don’t smoke cigars often. Usually it’s at his house after 50 gallons of red wine and I wake up with the worst fucking headache and then every time I do I vow never to do it again.

Quint: I’ve never been a smoker and I’m not a drinker and it started in New Zealand with Cubans, because I was like “I’m going to New Zealand!” It was the first time I had a passport and was really going out of the country… “I need to do something that I can’t do in America,” so I went to a little cigar shop in Wellington, found a Cuban, and that became a tradition.

Frank Darabont: The best thing that happened in Berlin, when I was there, was finding this limited edition Cohiba and I bought a box of these things. Actually, (Tom) Cruise bought me a box of them and I thought that was generous. I love those fuckin’ things, oh my God…

Greg Nicotero: You didn’t go to the museum of moving images and see all of Harryhausen’s models?

Frank Darabont: Oh, buddy… Usually when I’m visiting these places I’m jammed up and I’m there for a reason, so I don’t really get a chance to play tourist all that often.

Greg Nicotero: Next time I’m going with you and we’re going to go.

Frank Darabont: But Berlin is awesome.

Greg Nicotero: I’ve never been.

Frank Darabont: It’s really a great city.

Greg Nicotero: Yeah, because the model for the hydra from JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS is there.

Frank Darabont: And that’s the only reason Berlin’s a great city?

[Everyone Laughs]

Greg Nicotero: It is A good reason!



And there you have it. Told ya’ we kind of wander a little at the end, but I hope you guys dug it. If you’re jonesing for MIST stuff and feel the urge, you can read my in-depth 7-part series of set reports from earlier in the year by clicking here!!! That starts you at Day 7, which begins with direct links to all 6 previous articles. I’m a few hours away from revisiting one of the starts of THE MIST, coincidentally, so I’m going to get ready for that. Keep an eye on the site for more info on what I’m up to in Albuquerque. All will be revealed very, very soon. -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 13, 2007, 6:52 p.m. CST

    yep

    by MeshGearFoxx

    first!

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Almost

    by ShadowHamlet

    This is my first posting and I almost managed to be first. Damn you MeshGearFoxx!!!! No, not really. Great interview.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 7:10 p.m. CST

    451 Fahrenheit?

    by ewokstew

    Did I miss something. Where? Is it in the audio portion?

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 7:17 p.m. CST

    In the Words of Mayor Quimby

    by Aquatarkusman

    "Can't one interview end without digging up Stanley Kubrick's grave?"

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 7:21 p.m. CST

    What the fuck...no Doc Savage questions!!!!!!

    by ABking

    It amazes me that no one at AICN ever asks Darabont about his fucking DOC SAVAGE script!!!!!!!!

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 7:33 p.m. CST

    Good interview but I wish you had brought up...

    by Kirbymanly

    ... the whole "Indiana Jones" script and his comments thereafter

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 8:16 p.m. CST

    I wonder why Frank changed the look of the bugs

    by OgreYouAsshole

    on the window. My only gripe from what I've seen. I had those things pictured in my head for a long time, only to see overgrown house-flies in the trailer. Oh well, I still trust his judgement.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 8:19 p.m. CST

    What about the Shawshank sequel?

    by The Dum Guy

    I thought I heard they were going to make a prequel/sequel for it, or am I having some sorta what the French call... I don't know what.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 8:39 p.m. CST

    nothing wrong with adaptations

    by ironic_name

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 9:50 p.m. CST

    What they've said about The Mist....

    by Randall Flagg

    What people have always said about The Mist, that they didn't think a movie could get made, I've always said about The Long Walk & Rage. Rage, for obvious reasons, will never happen. And I just can't see The Long Walk coming to fruition either. Stephen King or not, it's too hard of a sell. Darabont says he's going to be faithful - which means not only incredibly violent, but also way too depressing. He'll get the King faithful in the seats, to be sure (I'll be there opening night), but he has my sympathy if he thinks it'll appeal to anyone else.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 9:56 p.m. CST

    I SUPPORT THE LONGEST AICN INTERVIEW EVER ON THIS ONE

    by Pound Sand

    Wow, great interview, but was it ever loooooo oooooong.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Long Walk

    by Abin Sur

    I could see that being one of those "Masters of Horror" telemovies, but definitely couldn't see that on the big screen, even though I love the story. How about a faithful adaptation of Running Man instead? It's been long enough since Ahnold's flick destroyed that story's credibility.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 10:38 p.m. CST

    the "THE"

    by zom-bot.com

    y'know, i was just thinking how many really good movies (and horror movies, for that matter) shart with 'THE' in the title...there are bad ones for sure, but i think there are more solid 'the' movies than i ever realized........also- who is taking on 'CELL'? i'd heard almost immediately after the book came out that it was being made...or planned. or would it just confuse the current zombie genre?

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 10:40 p.m. CST

    CELL

    by zom-bot.com

    CELL also ends in an open manner like the MIST did...and i hated how CELL ended. too hopeful...to cliche. i can only hope an adaptation would take a new angle on it.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 10:41 p.m. CST

    AB

    by HEADGEEK

    here's a reality check for you. Frank isn't going to be doing DOC SAVAGE with Arnold ever. The rights are now controlled by Sony and Sam Raimi's folks. And it will never ever star the Governor who is about 15 years too old now.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 10:42 p.m. CST

    an Indy question might have made him uncomfortable

    by hegele

    i'm glad you kept it relaxed and about his current achievements. Cool to hear Nicotero chime in an interview! These are one of those great interviews that come across more like Dinner for Five conversations and back and forth Q&A. Well done.

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 11:15 p.m. CST

    Everybody laughs

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    First the Broken Lizard guys, then Frank Darabont! You are cracking them up, dude! (Everybody Laughs)

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 11:21 p.m. CST

    GOKU HAS BEEN CAST

    by aicndoesntwantmorecowbell

    GAY! http://www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=6523 TAKE OUT THE SPACES AND GO GOOGLE HIM! GAY

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 11:43 p.m. CST

    The Long Walk

    by BrightEyes

    Is beautiful, one of my all time favorite King Novels, and if anyone can make it it's gonna be Frank!

  • Nov. 13, 2007, 11:44 p.m. CST

    I saw The Mist

    by yassoo

    and sorry guys, it's just not very good. Over-acted and takes itself a little too seriously. Frank's 1 for 4. Time to call him out.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 1:26 a.m. CST

    HEADGEEK...

    by ABking

    That still didn't mean you couldn't have asked Frank about his script/treatment! He did start writing a script right! Thanks for an answer though I'd like to here Frank talk! Oh well...

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 1:45 a.m. CST

    OH FUCK, THAT LITTLE BITCH IS GOKU?

    by Pipple

    DBZ has already failed.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Yo Headgeek

    by Dr.Zeus

    In AB's defense, I don't think he was asking about Doc Savage for Arnold's participation. (and yeah I know AB loves him some Arnold) I think it was more of a question about how awesome a Frank Darabont Doc Savage script would be!!! Shit! I'd like to read that myself! :D heh

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 SUX!

    by Prague23

    I hope SOMEONE remakes that movie because Truffaut didn't seem to even bother trying to make a movie that resembles the brilliant novel at all. <p> The plot of the book isn't difficult, though I understand it would have to change a bit in terms of plot points due to Bradbury's notoriously 'unorthodox' method of storytelling. <p>You can like Truffaut's film, (I love plenty of films that are horrible and hate plenty of films that are wonderful) and that's fine. Unfortunately many people have trouble being able to distinguish between the two. Just understand that Truffaut's version is a HORRIBLE adaptation and a BORING film that is miscast, set in the wrong country & from a script that was poorly written (especially the end, I mean, MY GAWD!, ANTI-CLIMATIC to the extreme!).

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 10:18 a.m. CST

    15 years...by the way

    by ABking

    By the way HEADGEEK, you said Arnie is 15 years too old for Doc Savage? Arnie signed on to the film in 1999 so that makes it 8 years...unless Frank and Chuck Russell wasted time on writing a script for what you call an old man.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 11 a.m. CST

    Thank you Mr Darabont

    by sarahlizard

    "By the time I was done with it, I thought “Wow, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read, but it is so earthy and gritty and small.” I AM LEGEND is not a story that needs to be blown out of proportion, which is not to denounce the upcoming movie, I just wish they had called it THE OMEGA MAN, because it strikes me as more of a remake of THE OMEGA MAN than an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s awesome story. " That is exactly how I feel about that, and that is exactly why I am so disappointed.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Gurhka!

    by Shaner Jedi

    They do have the coolest little bands. Quint, another great cigar is a lot-826 slow-aged maduro from Perdomo. La flora dominicana are nice too. Mmmm....tasty.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 5:40 p.m. CST

    readotext

    by AllieJamison

    I love soundotext. Especially if it features a voice as cool as Frank Darabont's. But one day I'd love to actually listen to a complete interview. Yeah. That would be cool. I think it's good to not touch the IndyiV subject. He has talked about it. In other interviews. What more can he probably say?

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Nice interview

    by Forsakyn

    Looking forward to The Mist.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 12:02 a.m. CST

    The Long Walk

    by Wed Vid Guy

    Needs an ending too. Great story. Probably one of the most immersive books I've ever read. Agreed on "The Running Man". Someone seriously needs to make the real version of that book into a movie. Too bad there's no way in hell that ending stays. No. Fucking. Way.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 12:49 a.m. CST

    The Long Walk's ending...

    by DarthCorleone

    ...is pretty damn perfect. No tinkering necessary.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 7:48 p.m. CST

    STEBBINS...

    by cp

    ....is my FAVORITE KING character EVER. I read the LONG WALK when i was 15, i've bought & given that book (the BACHMAN books) for my friends, family and anyone who has not read it before. my mom and aunts LOVED it...had MANY conversations with them all regarding that PERFECT ending. i photocopied EVERY page and put them into a binder so i could make my notes...read thats what coppola did for the GODFATHER. this will sound cheesy, but i've written THREE faithful LONG WALK scripts hoping one day i would meet DARABONT and he would shoot my version. big fat pipe dream, i know. i ALWAYS cringe when i see news regarding THE LONG WALK because i hold it so dear. i wanna be involved, LOL! i always thought this would be great for HBO, having a new LONG WALK every year/season...have a few stars, kill them off and have a no-name actor win. this will probably sound stupid now, BUUUUT, i always pictured CASEY AFFLECK as GARRATY. such a BRILLIANT character piece by KING. sorry for the length. LOVE your work DARABONT!

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Yassoo's an assoo

    by OgreYouAsshole

    You didn't see the bloody movie yet. And regardless, a B-movie is good even when it's bad.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Great interview

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Enjoyed the hell out of reading that. Cheers guys.

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