As the credits roll on the 1994 prison drama The Shawshank Redemption, director Frank Darabont’s final message to his audience has nothing to do with protagonists Andy (Tim Robbins) or Red (Morgan Freeman) – rather, it concerns one Allen Greene, to whom the movie 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.
Allan Greene was a literary agent who believed in Frank
Allen Greene was Frank Darabont’s literary agent. Darabont, like many budding directors, had benefited from the generosity of novelist Stephen King, who famously developed the practice of selling the rights to several of his short stories for peanuts to foster young directors’ budding careers.
In Darabont’s case, in 1987 he agreed to pay King, already a world-famous author, a fee of $5,000 (King never cashed the check) for the film rights to “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”, the novella on which the film was based.
But Darabont’s early work was mostly in the realm of screenwriting, and he was hugely grateful to Greene, who had agreed to represent him as an agent in the ’80s, shopping spec scripts by Darabont to interested producers. In 1989, only months after the premiere of Darabont’s third feature, 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 the dedication in The Shawshank Redemption in gratitude to Greene’s faith in him in the crucial early years of his career.