The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy crime drama movie written and directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The movie stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey, with supporting roles by David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, and James Cromwell. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and fascinating facts about The Green Mile.
1. The movie, which is told in a flashback format, tells the story of Paul Edgecomb’s life as a death row corrections officer during the U.S. Great Depression, and the supernatural events he witnessed.
2. The movie received positive reviews from critics, and was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
3. According to one of the featurettes on the DVD, Stephen King called the movie the single most faithful adaption of his work.
4. The prison guards wear uniforms to give the movie an “authentic” feel, even though uniforms weren’t in use at the time in which the movie is set.
5. Tom Hanks stayed in character as Paul Edgecomb whenever Stephen King visited the set. King asked him if he would like to sit in Old Sparky, but Hanks refused since he’s in charge of the block.
6. For emotional scenes, Michael Clarke Duncan would recall his father leaving him as a child.
7. Originally set in 1932, the timeframe was bumped to 1935 so that the movie Top Hat could be featured.
8. According to director Frank Darabont, Doug Hutchison was given the squeakiest shoes he had ever heard. He thought that this was the greatest bit of fate, and, “a perfectly wonderful, annoying character trait,” that he kept it in the movie, and you can hear sometimes how loud his shoes are.
9. Originally, Tom Hanks was going to play the older Paul Edgecomb, but the makeup tests didn’t make him look credible enough to be an elderly man. Dabbs Greer was cast instead as the older Paul Edgecomb.
10. Tom Hanks accepted the role of Paul Edgecomb as a favor to Frank Darabont, after he was forced to turn down the role of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, in order to play the title role in Forrest Gump.
11. When the producers were having trouble finding the right actor to fill the role of John Coffey, Bruce Willis suggested Michael Clarke Duncan, with whom he had co-starred in Armageddon.
12. Tom Hanks treated the entire crew to a meal every Friday night on set.
13. Coffey’s bed was built shorter in order to make Michael Clarke Duncan look much taller than he is.
14. More than 30 works of Stephen King have been adapted to movie, but The Green Mile was the only one to have broken the $100 million mark at the U.S. box office until It in 2017.
15. Fifteen mice were used in the movie. Each spent months being trained to do different tricks.
16. Michael Clarke Duncan was the soul of the cast, according to producer David Valdes. He remembers Tom Hanks crying on Michael’s last day of shooting.
17. Many times the actors are looking at a laser pointing at the floor and not a mouse.
18. Stephen King said that Tom Hanks fit his part, “like an old shoe.”
19. Bonnie Hunt gained 15 pounds for her role. She joked, “it only took half an hour.”
20. Doug Hutchison made a $20 bet with the extras behind the scenes during Del’s execution that they couldn’t recite his lines. Unknowingly, Tom Hanks wrote Hutchison’s lines on big cue cards behind him. Hutchison caught on to the joke when the extras kept laughing. By the end of the day, he owed at least $60 to different people.
21. The name for the character John Coffey was lifted from a college professor, Rev. John Coffee. Stephen King had met him once and really liked his name and used it in The Green Mile. Rev. Coffee taught history classes at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, and retired in May, 2005.
22. John Travolta was offered the role of Paul Edgecomb, but turned it down.
23. Frank Darabont called Thomas Newman’s score, “a rainbow of music and emotion.”
24. Michael Jeter hired a dialect coach to pull off a Cajun accent.
25. Although Harry Dean Stanton appears in the movie, and there are character named “Harry” and “Dean Stanton,” they’re only coincidences. They were in the original novel, which was written long before Stanton was cast in the movie.
26. The giant brick wall in the background of the prison is made out of lightweight fiberglass. All the walls could be moved to make room for cameras and lighting.
27. According to Frank Darabont, the electricity is meant to sound like a beast being unleashed.
28. Frank Darabont controlled the lightning machine himself to create the flashes. He said, “I have a little control panel with buttons on it and I get to go crazy.”
29. Frank Darabont originally wanted Barry Pepper to play the part of sadistic guard Percy.
30. In order to make Melinda look strange, makeup artists made it look like she didn’t have eyebrows.