A well-known film by Stephen King has profoundly influenced much of the narrative in The Walking Dead.
Brought to the screen by Frank Darabont, one of the closest collaborators of the master of horror, The Walking Dead captivated fans from the very first episode with its meticulous and emotional narrative of an undoubtedly terrifying situation. While many felt they were watching the work of a familiar director, many were not aware of the past work of Frank Darabont, the creator of the hit AMC show.
The Walking Dead is the drama series from AMC that ran for 11 seasons. From the inception of the project, Frank Darabont imprinted Stephen King's touch, not just in the story and character development but also in casting choices. Many of these actors had already been involved in a Stephen King project when the script for The Walking Dead landed in their hands.
Frank Darabont is renowned for his work in the horror genre, having written or directed acclaimed movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. The latter is undeniably the one that has most influenced The Walking Dead in terms of aesthetics and also its cast.
Set in the small town of Bridgton, Maine, The Mist delves into how ordinary people cooperate or crumble when faced with a sudden and inexplicable disaster. The climax unfolds as a group of supermarket shoppers are forced to work together to survive as a mist outside hides terrifying monsters, escalating tensions amongst them. What's more, several cast members from this film became part of The Walking Dead.
The most notable members of The Mist cast who made their way to AMC's zombie drama, The Walking Dead, include Laurie Holden (Andrea), Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale Horvath), Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier) — who stayed on the show until the end — and Juan Gabriel Pareja (Morales).
Given that The Walking Dead was Darabont's first project after The Mist, he had significant influence on who portrayed which characters. Many of his choices turned out to be spot on. For instance, it's hard to imagine Carol being played by anyone other than Melissa McBride. However, Darabont hadn't originally considered Andrew Lincoln as his first choice for the series' lead, Rick Grimes. That's right: Darabont initially wanted Thomas Jane, who played David Drayton in The Mist, to be Rick. Unfortunately, the actor wasn't available and couldn't join the successful franchise.
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