Exclusive: Frank Darabont on His Next Thriller


Frank Darabont's The Mist was one of the best Stephen King adaptations since, well, since his last Stephen King adaptations. Unfortunately, it didn't draw the crowds one would expect from the man who brought The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile to cinematic life. But that's not stopping its director from prepping his next thriller. This time, however, Darabont's tackling a medium other than the silver screen, as he told me when I caught up with him at this year's Saturn Awards; where he won for the Two-Disc Collector's Edition DVD of The Mist. Read what Darabont had to say after the jump.

Can you tell me what you're up to right now, what you're developing?

I'm writing a novel, [and] waiting for Hollywood to come out of its coma.  Holy shit it's been in a coma.

Are things looking up?

I don't know yet. I don't know yet. We keep palpitating the patient and hoping we get a pulse, but so far… It let out a groan a few minutes ago that's possibly a sign of life. I'm not sure. But yeah, it's been a very, very odd couple of years. A big paradigm shift is happening. It's all going so very corporate. The whole strike threat didn't help us. The economic collapse has thrown everything into confusion and disarray, and it seems no one is really wanting to move ahead or say yes. I keep having remake after remake thrown at me, and that's not why I got into this business. So I'm writing a novel right now.

Can you say what it's about?

It's about an LAPD homicide detective in 1959.  It takes me kind of back to my love of noir, which is my second love – my first love, of course, being sci-fi and horror. But noir is not far behind, believe me. So it's really that kind of… A little sci-fi and horror might creep into it. I'm not sure.

So you might explore some of the darkness you examined in The Mist?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It seems you're as big a fan of genre as you are a maker of genre films.

Oh yeah, totally. I love it. I really do. It's our tribe. It's our group. It's the people who love the stuff, and work in the context of stuff that we all love and grew up loving. So, for me, this is a great thrill. I mean I go to Comic-Con every year, and it's not to make an appearance – it's to wander the place, and hook up with pals, and to kind of revel in the geekdom of it all, and the geekdom of my own geekness. It's great. I'm really hoping to get down there again this year. God knows something might happen, but right now it's looking like I'm actually going to be able to get down there again. I haven't missed it now for probably the last ten years or so. It's a great couple of days out of Los Angeles, and away from the bullshit we have to deal with here. You get pure again. You go down and you look at all the crazy monster figures, and the people dressed in costumes.

So it reminds you of why you started doing this in the first place?

Yeah, that's exactly what it is. That's what the Saturns are about too. It sort of plugs you back into the core of why you came here in the first place, to try and be a professional.

I have to ask, have you seen Drag Me to Hell?

I haven't. And, Sam, I'm sorry. I'm such a douchebag. I haven't seen your movie yet.  I haven't gotten a chance to go out and see it.

You might like it. It really conjures up the spirit of the old E.C. comics and imagery.

If it's old-school Sam Raimi horror, then I'm going to love it. You know, nobody is a bigger fan of Sam's work than I, and I particularly am a, a very early devotee of Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. So I've known Sam's work going back to when he was a puppy, and I was too. I can't wait to see it. The one film that I've seen – I don't get out much, particularly when I'm writing – but the one film I have seen is J.J.'s new Star Trek, which I really loved. I thought he really kicked ass with it. I admire it a lot, and a very good buddy of mine is in it, Simon Pegg. So my one message to J.J. is – we need more Simon Pegg in the next Star Trek!

[Laughs.] We also need more Frank Darabont.

I am available to do cameos. If necessary. If called upon.

We'll be sure to let the world know. Thank you very much, Frank.

Hey, my pleasure!

Note: Rest assured, the affable Mr. D did indeed make it to Comic-Con this year. I spied him – grinning from ear to ear, his hands filled with bags – making his rounds about the illustration artists' tables.