David Aaron Gray

"Don't believe everything 
you hear on the radio"
- Charles Foster Kane

David Aaron Gray (Blog)

Taking a breather from the top 25: Some Fun Facts about Shawshank

Posted by davidaarongray on January 29, 2013 at 3:20 AM

What could have been:

Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen were all either considered for or directly offered (but subsequently rejected) the part of Andy Dufresne.

Hanks turned it down because he was committed to Forrest Gump. Which, by the way, stole every Oscar from Shawshank that year so probably a smart move for Hanks

Costner said he liked the script but was committed to the filming of Waterworld (probably not as smart of a move).

Cage was too busy planning for a movie about breaking INTO prison, The Rock.

And I think we can all agree that the film dodged a bullet by not casting Sheen (unless it ended with him leaving prison to become a starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians).

And there is no way Cruise would have crawled through 500 yards of s--t smelling foulness...even simulated s---t smelling foulness.

As for Depp... (and I'm a huge Johnny Depp fan) and I may be totally off the mark on this one, but he seems to be too much the kind of guy that you might expect to see in prison. I'm not saying Tim Robbins would never go to jail, but to steal a line from the film itself, he's just "not supposed to be here." Johnny can have all the Donnie Brasco / cocaine smuggler George Jung roles he wants...leave the wrongfully convicted characters to the guy in the adorable gap advertisement below: 

Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were all considered for the part of Red.

In the original novella, by Stephen King that the film draws its story from, Red is a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair. However, Frank Darabont always had Morgan Freeman in mind for the role because of his authoritative presence, demeanor and deep narrative voice (and remember this is pre March of the Penguins). But, dare I say, a somewhat interesting move on the part of Darabont being that less than 0.1% of the total prison population in the State of Maine in 1940 was of African American descent. Still, I don't care if the movie was set in North Korea or Vatican City, Morgan Freeman is the only person in my view who could play Red. 

Location Location Location:

The final scene was filmed on the U.S. Virgin islands in the Caribbean, not some weird sounding town on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

The actual prison where Shawshank was shot was the Ohio State Reformatory. It now serves as a museum. Since it was scheduled for demolition at the time of filming, several set pieces remain intact in the prison, including the tunnel Andy crawled out of and the Warden's office.

Inspiration from the film:

After watching the movie for the first time In 2007, two inmates of Union County Penitentiary escaped from their prison using similar techniques to those featured in the movie. Now, I'm all in favor of movie night for convicted felons but have a little thought about what you're going to show the audience. Movies have this weird tendency to give people inspiration.

Clancy Brown, who plays Captain Hadley in this film, played another character named Captain Hadley in The Guardian.

The character Andy Dufresne had a cameo appearance in 'Apt Pupil', another Stephen King novelette. Andy handled the investments for Dussander, the Nazi in hiding. I guess Andy will provide financial advice to anyone...even a Nazi. Plus, we all knew he wouldn't cut it as a hotel manager in Mexico it was just a matter of time before he went back to what he knew best.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to manager a hotel? I mean they have special schools for that at some colleges. 

Symbolism, Maybe?

ABOVE: Advertisement for the documentary film Room 237 

In the scene after Andy has escaped, the Warden wants them to question Red. When they call to open Red's cell they shout, "Open 237!" This is the same number as the room in The Shining and the amount of change ($2.37) the four boys in Stand by Me collect between them. All three movies were based on Stephen King stories.

Red describes Andy's dream as a "sh---ty pipe dream". During his escape to live that dream, Andy crawls through the sewer pipe of the prison, literally a "sh---ty pipe."

Categories: Fun Film Facts

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