Hero Complex Film Festival 2013: The Mist Q&A

struzan-themist-001I was happy to be able to attend the Hero Complex Film Festival in Hollywood this year and check out a few of the events that were on the lineup.  For me, the first scheduled event that I took part in was a screening of The Mist (an original 35mm print) followed by a Q&A.  Initially I was led to believe that only writer/director Frank Darabont would be in attendance, but I was happy to see that star Tom Jane was also on hand to discuss this 2007 horror film.  As a big fan of The Mist, I was very excited to check out the film with an audience, my first time on the big screen since Thanksgiving 2007 (an amazing release date for this of all films).  Read on to learn more about what went down at this Q&A, as well as find the entire recording of this conversation.

the mist

For those unaware, The Mist is an adaptation of an old Stephen King novella about a freak storm that seemingly leads to a heavy mist covering an entire town (if not more of the country/world) and within it, many bloodthirsty creatures thrive.  A small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.  While the creatures within the mist are deadly, it is the pressure that builds between people that causes even more tension.  The film was written and directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) and stars Tom Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden (among other Walking Dead actors), Toby Jones, and Andre Braugher.  While the film was not a smash success at the time, it was made for a reasonable budget that managed to combine the ambitious nature of the filmmaking with the old fashioned, Twilight Zone-like nature of the story and turn it into something of a success within the horror crowd.  I personally love the film and appreciate the ideas that it presents, despite some issues with how it all comes together at points and some of the more overt digital effects present (the Blu-ray’s inclusion of a B&W version of the film actually rectifies my quibbles with the SFX).

One of the more notable aspects of this film is its ending, which is actually how the Q&A begins (This means the Q&A is SPOILER HEAVY for those who haven’t seen The Mist).  Check out the following YouTube video below to hear the entire conversation about The Mist, which features Frank Darabont and Tom Jane trading stories about how the film came together.  Please note that the recording is a bit rough.  I did my best to tweak the audio, but the acoustics were not the best for my recording device.  Also note that this is an uncensored conversation, if that mattered to you.  Enjoy!

Here are a few tidbits for those who did not want to listen to the complete Q&A:

  • Darabont originally came up with the ending for the film, which is different from the novel, back in the early 80s, when he originally read the story.  It was based on another story by King that he had read.
  • Darabont had Tom Jane in mind for the lead role.
  • The budget was quite low, due to the dark ending everyone on the cast and crew wanted to have and keep intact.
  • Not the best reaction to releasing the film on Thanksgiving.
  • Darabont had a love for “pressure cooker” type movies, which is what attracted him to this story, as he found it similar to something like Night of the Living Dead.
  • Darabont is also not ashamed of talking about the political message that can be associated with this film.
  • The camera crew worked in an improvisational manner.  Darabont’s time directing an episode of The Shield led to him taking that team and having them use handheld cameras to move all over the place during the many long takes the cast would go through.
  • Darabont does not believe Deccard is a Replicant.
  • Darabont, at one point, took the giant creature out of the script.  Everyone else in the cast rejected this idea and he put it back in.
  • Darabont directed two prison movies because he liked the material.  Stephen King wrote The Green Mile and brought it to Darabont’s attention.
  • Stephen King also initially went to Darabont to adapt The Dark Tower.
  • Darabont is currently working on a 40s crime drama for TNT and chose not to watch Gangster Sqaud to avoid similar ideas.  He also loves LA Confidential.
  • Tom Jane worked with acclaimed movie poster artist Drew Struzan to make his artwork technique in the film look authentic.  Struzan still thought Jane looked like an idiot.
  • Walking Dead trivia: Tom Jane originally brought the property to the Darabont’s attention in an attempt to have HBO turn it into a series.  Darabont had Jane in mind for the Rick Grimes role (he would have been perfect!).  Due to Jane’s commitment to Hung, he could not pursue the part.  Hung has been cancelled; The Walking Dead is a ginormous success.
  • Tom Jane turned down a role in ­X-Men.
  • Tom Jane is a huge comic book and graphic novel geek and owns many pieces of comic art.
  • For Darabont, the right choice at the end comes down to the viewer’s interpretation of the scenario.


The Mist is currently available on Blu-ray.  Feel free to order your copy here:

Check out the film’s original trailer here:

Learn more about the Hero Complex Film Festival 2013 by clicking on the poster below:

hcff poster

themist bluray

Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.


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