After reading the novel The Green Mile written by Stephen King and watching the movie of the same name directed by Frank Darabont, the decision to develop an imaginary interview with the author of the work regarding its adaptation as a movie came to my mind in several seconds. It was evident that it is not enough to understand the main message of the author in a literary work. It is interesting and educative to compare the story offered in the book with the story that is observed on the screen.
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The Green Mile is a novel that touches many topics like power, pride, political relationships, honor, and trust. It discusses them in the most unexpected way, describing the moment when the line between life and death becomes invisible. It is a real challenge and pleasure to compare these two strong works and learn the lessons from The Green Mile. I cannot help but agree with this fact because this powerful combination of the novel and the movie helps to understand each character better, develop a personal attitude to the author of the novel, and share all my feelings and emotions about the role of the Green Mile in the life of every person.
Interviewer: I would like to thank you for taking some of your time off from your schedule to talk with me. Your experience and knowledge, as well as your literary works, are priceless, and it is my lucky chance to discuss one of your stories’ adaptations with you directly.
Stephen King: It is my pleasure to give you such a chance.
I.: Can you please tell me about your personal attitude to The Green Mile? Do you have any favorite characters? Have you taken them from real life or is it all your imagination only?
S.K.: As a matter of fact, I admire everything in The Green Mile. It is not only a story of one or two people. It is a description of what people can get but can never understand or accept in their lives. I wanted to create a story for each character because all of them, without exception, deserved the right to have the past, the present, and the future. As you may know, in the beginning, there were six impressive volumes in The Green Mile.
I cannot even imagine if it could be possible to create a movie regarding the material I offered. As for my favorites… I do not know… I like all of them. It is impossible to overlook the “wouldn’t hurt a fly Brutal or a poor Del, a friend of a mouse. It is hard to forget the role of Mr. Jingles, that intelligent mouse that fulfilled the last days of several “dead men” on the Green Mile.
The relations between Paul Edgecombe and John Coffey, “like the drink only not spelled the same way”, are full of empathy and regret with the help of which human life can be assessed and understood. In some way, I also like that sadistic poor young man Percy Wetmore because, each time he tries to demonstrate his power and confidence, he fails due to his pride and weakness. Unfortunately, these characteristics are inherent in millions of people in the real world. I hope, the people from the Green Mile can help someone to overcome personal challenges.
I.: I see your point. Was it difficult to make Frank Darabont, the producer, and director of the adaptation, responsible for the visual development of your story and provide him with a chance to add something new?
S.K.: I was deeply impressed that Frank did not even try to change anything in the story or add anything new. This adaptation is a possibility for people to read my book if they do not like reading. Of course, not all storylines were present in the movie. Still, those three hours of the movie were taken directly from my book. I understand that sometimes, it is hard for the reader to get my point and follow all my thoughts through the lines of my novels. The Green Mile is not the easiest work, and Frank did the impossible thing: he made my story comprehensible for everybody.
I.: Have you ever regretted that Frank Darabont was the author of your novel adaptation?
S.K.: Not a drop! I accepted everything Frank used in the movie. His vision of the Green Mile was very close to mine. He used simple things to communicate all those complex aspects that happened on the Green Mile. This adaptation may help people realize that everyone might be challenged to cope with their own Green Mile one day. Sometimes, people are ready to take this mile with honor as John Coffee did. At times, people are confused and scared because of the necessity to make choices as it happened to Del or Percy. However, many of us just want to be as prepared and dignified as Paul or Brutal were.
I.: Thanks for your answers and explanations. I think they help many people understand the main message of The Green Mile that survival is a personal affair, and people are free to succeed or fail.
S.K.: You are welcome. Yes, such an interpretation of the novel I can accept.