The end credits of the 1994 prison drama are rolling The Shawshank RedemptionDirector Frank Darabont’s final message to his audience has nothing to do with the protagonists Andy (Tim Robbins) or Red (Morgan Freeman) – it’s more about you Allen Greeneto whom the film was dedicated.
But who was Allen Greene in real life? And what did he have to do with Darabont’s cinematic masterpiece? Here’s the inside story.
A literary agent who had faith in a young writer
Allen Greene was Frank Darabont’s literary agent. Darabont, like many aspiring directors, had benefited from the generosity of writer Stephen King, who famously developed the practice of selling the rights to several of his short stories for peanuts to promote the budding careers of young directors. In the Darabont case, in 1987 he agreed to pay King, already a world-famous author, a $5,000 fee (King never cashed the check) for the film rights to “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” the novella on which the film based based.
But Darabont’s early work revolved primarily around screenplay writing, and he was very grateful to Greene, who agreed to represent him as an agent in the ’80s and shop special Darabont scripts to interested producers. In 1989, just months after the premiere of Darabont’s third feature film, The Fly II, Greene died of complications from AIDS, having never seen Darabont realize the project he had first outlined two years earlier. Darabont added this dedication as a thank you for Greene’s trust in him during the crucial early years of his career.