HOLLYWOOD – Frank Darabont has confirmed that he has completed the final draft for a spin-off to The Shawshank Redemption and plans to begin pre-production in Spring, 2014.
Titled Shawshank Damnation, the story will focus on the character of Heywood played by the legendary William Sadler.
“Nobody has ever asked me what became of the other prisoners when Andy escaped and Red got parole but I’ve always wondered what happened to them,” said Darabont:
Sure they’d feel a brief sense of elation knowing their friends are finally free but when that dissipates they’d still be facing life behind bars. I have a soft spot for the character of Heywood, played by Bill Sadler. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, so to speak, and I thought, what if he was inspired by Andy to make a daring escape but his escapes always fail? I saw a lot of comedy potential in that and after years of writing a scene here and there, it’s all come together.
Darabont went on to say that the screenplay was chiefly inspired by the Coen brothers comedies and old roadrunner cartoons:
There’s definitely a Coen brothers vibe but essentially Heywood is a Wile E. Coyote character. He tries and he tries to escape but it always blows up in his face, sometimes literally. He starts digging a hole in the wall and buys a poster to cover it put the poster ends up being too small and he gets caught. He excavates a massive underground tunnel but surfaces in a cell in a prison a few miles away. Eventually he meets this crazy scientist played by Jim Carrey who was incarcerated in Shawshank for blowing up a bank with a cannonball bomb and he builds various inventions to aid Heywood in his escape. Spring shoes, rocket propelled boots and a range of explosive devices that always malfunction, with hilarious consequences.
Asked if Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman will make an appearance, Darabont laughed:
I really tried to find a way to write them into the script but I couldn’t make it work, so towards the beginning of the film the new warden informs the prisoners that Red was eaten by sharks off the coast of Saywatanyo and Andy succumbed to a streptococcal infection he contracted when he was escaping through the sewer pipe.
Shawshank Damnation is due for release in 2015.