By Thomas Cowley
Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist, was the first director and writer for the hit show, The Walking Dead when it hit the air in 2010. The show was so successful when it first appeared that it surpassed both Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Darabont worked on bring the show together for five years and was a critical element in bringing on both Andrew Lincoln and Jon Bernthal (Rick and Shane respectively).
Therefore it was truly stunning when Darabont was removed from the project in the summer of the following year. According to sources, this stemmed from a number of conflicts, both public and private, with executives as well as a budget cut of $500,000 per episode. Throughout the entire issue he has remained quiet. However, in an upcoming interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Frank Darabont talks about The Walking Dead and his feelings towards the subject.
Some excerpts have been released by Rolling Stone however:
RS: Have you kept up with the show since your departure? Fans of Kirkman's comics haven't particularly enjoyed its direction since you left.
Darabont: "Have not? Well I wouldn't know. Because, for the same reason that if the woman that I loved left me for the Pilates instructor and they sent me an invitation to their wedding, for the same reason I wouldn't go to the wedding, I haven't seen an episode of The Walking Dead since then."
RS: Did you just need to wash your hands of it?
Darabont: "Look, I really haven't spoken of this yet - I will, I'll get there - but I had to take some time off after that to really reassess everything to really get over the emotional devastation of having some truly malevolent people tear asunder a brilliant family that had gathered to create this hit for them. It was a very, very deep and loving family, the cast and crew, and to have that torn apart was - when somebody throws a hand grenade into that situation, it's tremendously emotionally trying. So would I want to watch another episode of The Walking Dead after that? Are you f@#*ing kidding me? No, you put that traumatic disappointment behind you and move on with your life."
Now it's no secret how I personally feel about the recent season of The Walking Dead and, what I feel, is a dramatic slip in quality. But when you fire the guy who directed The Shawshank Redemption, (which at time of writing is the number 1 movie on IMDB's Top 250 list) and spent 5 years to make a show that, at one point, bested Breaking Bad, you are going to see a drop in quality.