DARABONT TALKS THE MIST
It has been years since we?ve seen a real kick-ass, balls-to-the-wall Stephen King project. The $100-million DREAMCATCHER flopped, SECRET WINDOW fell apart in the last act and King?s own KINGDOM HOSPITAL emerged as a ratings disaster. All that should change next year as writer/director Frank Darabont, responsible for the critically acclaimed non-horror King hits THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE GREEN MILE, finally brings the long-promised THE MIST to the silver screen.
'I am at this very moment writing the adaptation of THE MIST,' Darabont tells Fango. The novella, featured in King?s SKELETON CREW collection, concerns a group of strangers trapped inside a supermarket by a bevy of giant monsters that arrive in an unworldly fog. The story has been a favorite of fans for nearly two decades, including Darabont. 'Depending on a few factors, it may well be the next movie I direct, possibly next year,' he says. 'Finally, my low-budget monster flick! And no, it will not be for television. There?s been some confusion out there in geek land about that.'
King?s tale boasts the classic setup with the heroes on the inside and the bad things on the outside patiently waiting to do them harm. 'THE MIST is a very scary and memorable story,' Darabont says, 'one of Steve?s best ?muscular? short pieces, with characters in the kind of pressure-cooker environment that nobody writes as well as King. I intend to be faithful to the material, so I think the movie will be good.'
Darabont?s approach to the terrifying yarn will hark back to Romero?s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and more underground horrors of the past, as opposed to the overblown recent fear fare from the major film companies (i.e. VAN HELSING). 'Whether it?s a studio picture or not, I want to go with a very gritty, low-budget indie approach,' he says. 'Big-budget gloss would work against the material, plus I?m excited about trying my hand at a more seat-of-the-pants filmmaking approach on this one than I?ve used in the past.'
The Oscar-nominated Darabont will stick with the people who produced his previous King hits. 'Castle Rock is still involved, but it is intended to be a project made through my own production company, Darkwoods,' he reveals. 'In other words, Darkwoods and Castle Rock will co-produce together. The project is in development at Paramount, where I have my overall deal with Darkwoods. Whether or not it?s a Paramount release depends on what they think of the script.'
King?s THE MIST is loaded with wonderful characters, including religious nut Mrs. Carmody, who wants to sacrifice fellow shoppers to the 'gods' outside. The movie could sport an equally memorable ensemble of performers, but Darabont has not given much thought yet to casting. 'But I imagine I?ll be drawing as much as I can on my ?stock company? of actors I?ve used before.' A few repeat Darabont players have included James Whitmore (SHAWSHANK, THE MAJESTIC), William Sadler (SHAWSHANK, GREEN MILE) and Paul McCrane (THE BLOB, SHAWSHANK), as well as Brian Libby and Jeffrey DeMunn, who have both appeared in every Darabont film.
THE MIST calls for a return to the kind of creature magic featured in the Darabont-co-scripted remake of THE BLOB from 1988, in which the titular menace was created via animatronics, miniatures and clear bags of goo. Perhaps THE MIST will inspire a return to ?80s-style monster magic, as opposed to today?s overreliance on computer pixels. 'I?ll use whatever approach works best,' Darabont says. 'so probably [expect] a mix of things. But I want to go as old-school as possible with the effects. It?s a rather old-school story anyway; it feels like a movie that might have been made in the ?50s. The thing to bear in mind about THE MIST is that you don?t actually see that much as King wrote it; it?s the stuff you don?t see that scares you, sort of like in JAWS. I want to maintain the tension of King?s story rather than overload the screen with CGI monsters.'
Courtesy of Fangoria