Thomas Jane in Stephen KIng's 2007 film The Mist


Despite having some truly incredible adaptations of his novels, not every Stephen King project has been received well. In fact, some have been total flops at the box office. For every prison-accurate Shawshank Redemption or horror classic like The Shining, there’s a movie like The Mist. Or, at least, that’s what half of the audience thinks of the Frank Darabont movie.


While some are still furious about the film and, in particular, it’s depressing ending, others have made it a cult classic. In any case, the film holds a 72% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is very much still on the radar for horror and King fans everywhere. And that’s a good thing for Thomas Jane, who will forever be the face of the film; which, of course, was later adapted into a swiftly canceled TV series.

In an interview with Slash Film, writer/director Frank Darabont, the mastermind behind The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption, explained the very specific reason why he cast the Deep Blue Sea actor in the leading role.


Why Thomas Jane Was Cast In The Mist

David Drayton is very much the heart and soul of both Stephen King’s 1980 novella “The Mist” and the 2007 Frank Darabont movie of the same name. While the lead role is often the most challenging to cast, Darabont told Slash Film that he had the Deep Blue Sea, Boogie Nights, and Dreamcatcher star in mind right from the get-go.

“[Thomas Jane] came to mind while I was [adapting the novella into a screenplay], simply because I’d always loved his work,” Frank Darabont explained to Slash Film. “He’s got a very grounded quality on screen, even when playing that marvelously amped-up extreme character in Boogie Nights. A lesser actor would have gone over the top in a not believable way, but Tom kept it feeling real.”

Related: ‘Firestarter’ Is A Bust, As Stephen King Fans Still Prefer A Different Film Adaptation

The acclaimed director went on to say that Thomas Jane has a “working-class everyman quality” that was ideal for the character of David Drayton. While a filmmaker’s dream casting scenario can come back to bite them in the butt, Darabont was thrilled with what Jane delivered.

“Boy, did Tom deliver. I loved his performance. The man is a tireless pro, a pleasure on the set, and he really nailed it.”

Why Thomas Jane Wanted To Make The Mist

During his interview with Slash Film, Thomas Jane admitted to bonding with Frank Darabont over dinner years before making The Mist together. The two had a lot in common, including a mutual love for classic comic book art.

“We stayed in touch. I don’t remember that we were actually actively working on looking for something to work on, but one day a manila envelope was dropped off at my front door. It was a script for “The Mist” with a little note: ‘Check this out, let me know what you think,'” Thomas Jane explained to Slash Film.

Since Thomas Jane was a big Stephen King fan and had already starred in the adaptation of “Dreamcatcher”, he was more than interested.

Related: Stephen King Is Literally Terrified Of This Horror Film

“I read it right away. And the script was brilliant, in my mind it was definitely up there with the best of Stephen King adaptations,” Jane admitted. “So I guess that’s how the project came to me. it was one of those rare occasions where something shows up on your front door that’s actually, really special.”

What Thomas Jane Really Thinks Of David Drayton

One of the other reasons why Thomas Jane decided to join the cast of the Frank Darabont adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Mist” was because of the character of David Drayton. In his interview with Slash Film, Darabont described Drayton as an extremely flawed protagonist. Not because he’s some sort of ant-hero, but because he can never make the right choice despite the best intentions.

“When I was writing the script, I thought, this guy is making every right decision for every right reason, and every decision he makes turns into a disastrous choice and I thought, this is really interesting. This is really provocative because it runs counter to what we expect from a movie,” Frank Darabont explained.

Related: The True Story That Inspired Stephen King’s ‘Pet Sematary’

Darabont continued by explaining that most movies have their protagonists make good decisions based on good intentions.

“I thought this is a radical departure from how most movies work and how most movie heroes work. In a sense, it is a mirror to reality because sometimes with our best intentions and our best actions, we get screwed anyway because the world is such a messed up place.”

This was something that ultimately hooked Thomas Jane from the get-go.

“That was unique. I was like, ‘Wow, you got the hero of the story and every single decision he makes turns out to be the wrong one in hindsight.’ I loved that, I loved that,” Jane admitted to Slash Film. “That’s the beauty of it. It’s all the choices that he makes the audience would’ve made, too. In other words, we buy all of his decisions as being the best option, the ‘right’ thing to do. He does all the ‘right’ things to do, which will turn out to be wrong. And I think that’s a wonderful statement. And I think it’s a large reason why the movie, even if it’s just on a subconscious level, that’s why the movie’s successful.”

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