I think it's safe to say that Shawshank Redemption is on most peoples' list of great movies. It's a film that my friend Zack once called "the movie I will never get tired of." While not everyone will share Zack's love of Shawshank, it never hurts to learn more behind-the-scenes facts about movies like this. Who knows? Maybe they'll come in handy during your next trivia night!
1. Red's Mugshot
Red's mugshot looks an awful lot like Morgan Freeman, doesn't it? Well, it's actually his son Alfonso Freeman! Alfonso also had a brief cameo as a fellow prisoner yelling "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!"
2. Women with Speaking Roles
Only two women had speaking roles in the film. One is the woman who chastises Brooks over his bagging skills at the grocery store and the other is the bank teller that helps Andy.
3. Brooks' Good Side
It's never mentioned in the movie, but in the novel Brooks was one of the few inmates with a college degree and was able to get a job in the library because of it. He studied Animal Husbandry.
4. Brooks' Dark Side
On a darker note, Brooks was apparently send to Shawshank for murdering his wife and daughter after losing a game of poker. Kind of makes you feel differently for the character, huh?
5. A Friendly Game of Catch
In the first scene where Andy and Red meet, Red is pitching a baseball. While it's a brief interaction on screen, filming took nine hours. Morgan Freeman never stopped throwing the ball, and never complained. The next day he had to keep his arm in a sling.
6. Morgan Freeman's Favorite Book
Morgan Freeman's favorite book is Stephen King's Shawshank Redemption, although it's technically a novella.
When Andy asks where Red's nickname comes from, his response is, “Maybe it’s because I’m Irish.” This is a nod to the novella in which Red is a red-haired, middle-aged Irish man. While I always thought this was some of Red's sass, it turns out he may have just been poking fun at the source material.
7. Box Office Bust
Although it has always held in high critical acclaim (9.3/10 on IMDb and 91% on Rotten Tomatoes), its initial gross of $18 million didn't pass what it cost to make. After it was nominated for multiple Oscars, it went on to raise another $10 million, but it is still considered a box office flop.
8. Number 237
Red's cell number is 237, which is also the famed room from The Shining, and $2.37 was collected between the four boys in Stand By Me. This is Stephen King's trademark number.
9. Alternate Castings
I know, it's difficult to imagine anyone but Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins playing the roles of Red and Andy, but there was a time where other actors were considered. For the role of Red Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford were all considered.
For Andy the main contenders, Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, and Nicolas Cage were all up for the role. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Tom Hanks was committed to Forrest Gump while Kevin Costner was tied to Waterworld.
10. Animal Rights on Set
You know the scene where Brooks feeds Jake (the crow) the maggot? Well, director Frank Darabont has a pretty funny anecdote about getting that scene filmed:
We had the ASPCA lady come on this day because we had that little baby crow in Jim Whitmore's vest pocket, and I figured they were there to make sure nobody mistreated the baby crow, right? No. This woman was also there to protect the rights of the "maggot" in the scene, and was insistent that we do not feed a live maggot to the baby crow...It had to be a dead worm and it had to have died of natural causes, according to her.
Darabont also states that while he applauds the organization for their hard work in making the entertainment industry more human towards animals, having legal protection over a maggot bought at a bait shop might be going a tad far.
Well, there you have it! I hope that at least some of these facts were new. If there are any that I missed that you find particularly interesting, please feel free to share them in the comments section. If not, go forth with this new Shawshank Redemption information and impress all of your fact-loving friends!