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The Green Mile (1999) Poster

Trivia

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The prison guards wear uniforms to give the movie an "authentic" feel, even though uniforms were not in use at the time in which the movie is set.
According to one of the featurettes on the DVD, Stephen King called this film the single most faithful adaptation of his work.
Tom Hanks stayed in character as Paul Edgecomb whenever Stephen King visited the set. King asked him if he would like to sit in Old Sparky, but Hanks refused since he is in charge of the block.
According to director Frank Darabont, Doug Hutchison (Percy) was given the squeakiest shoes he had ever heard. He thought this was the greatest bit of fate, and a "perfectly wonderful, annoying character trait" that he kept it in the movie, and you can hear sometimes how loud his shoes are.
Originally set in 1932, the timeframe was bumped to 1935 so that the movie Top Hat (1935) could be featured.
Originally, Tom Hanks was going to play the older Paul Edgecomb, but the makeup tests did not make him look credible enough to be an elderly man. Dabbs Greer was cast instead as the older Paul Edgecomb.
In reality, Michael Clarke Duncan was of a similar height to his co-star David Morse, and was a couple of inches shorter than James Cromwell. Amongst other things, creative camera angles were used to create the illusion that Duncan, as John Coffey, towered over the prison staff, even "Brutal" Howell and Warden Moores.
When the producers were having trouble finding the right actor to fill the role of John Coffey, Bruce Willis suggested Michael Clarke Duncan, with whom he had co-starred in Armageddon (1998).
For emotional scenes, Michael Clarke Duncan would recall his father leaving him as a child.
Tom Hanks accepted the role of Paul Edgecomb as a favor to Frank Darabont, after he was forced to turn down the role of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption (1994), in order to play the title role in Forrest Gump (1994).
The reason Stephen King serialized "The Green Mile" was a deliberate response to fans who flipped to the end of his books, something his mother used to do. Publishing it in installments meant that fans would have to wait for the last installment to find out the ending. King wrote each one with its own miniature climax, but even he admitted he did not have a clue how the story would end.
More than 30 works of Stephen King have been adapted to movies, but this was the only one to have broken the $100-million mark at the U.S. box-office until It (2017).
Rodney Barnes was Michael Clarke Duncan's stand-in. According to Barnes, he sneaked onto the set by hiding in the paddy wagon. He surprised Frank Darabont and asked for a job. Darabont was impressed with Barnes' effort and hired him. Barnes wanted to work on the film so that he could meet his favorite author, Stephen King.
Coffey's bed was built shorter in order to make Michael Clarke Duncan look like a giant.
Tom Hanks treated the entire crew to a meal every Friday night on set.
Tom Hanks wasn't pretending to swipe his shirt. The mouse really defecated on him in the scene.
When Stephen King visited the set of this film, he asked to be strapped into Old Sparky to see how it felt. He did not like it and asked to be released.
Mr. Jingles isn't pushing the spool. It's being pulled by a rig that was erased with visual effects. The mouse is following a scent that was applied to the spool.
No mice were injured during the stomping scene. They used a puppet.
Final film of Dabbs Greer. NOTE: Greer had originally turned down the role because he had health issues, but director Frank Darabont was determined to have him, so he shot around Greer's character, Paul Edgecomb, until Greer's health issues had been resolved enough to enable him to take the role.
Fifteen mice were used in the movie. Each spent months being trained to do different tricks.
Michael Clarke Duncan was the soul of the cast, according to producer David Valdes. He remembers Tom Hanks crying on Michael's last day of shooting.
Many times the actors are looking at a laser pointing at the floor and not a mouse.
Stephen King said that Tom Hanks fit his part "like an old shoe."
Michael Clarke Duncan had to stop lifting weights while filming to look more like a man from 1935.
Frank Darabont called this "the most satisfying movie of his career."
Tom Hanks said that the movie is about "great myths that communicate the complexities of being a human."
When Paul and Brutus take John Coffey outdoors at night, John looks at the stars and says, "Look Boss, it's Cassie, the lady in the rocking chair." This is a reference to the constellation Cassiopeia. In Greek mythology, Queen Cassiopeia is often depicted as sitting in a chair or rocking chair.
Early in the film, Paul yells at Percy to "Get the fuck off my block," but it was later re-dubbed to "Get the hell off my block."
According to the novel by Stephen King, Percy Wetmore is supposed to be 21 years old. During production, Doug Hutchison (Percy) was 39. He told director Frank Darabont he was in his early/mid 30s. When he went to audition for The Salton Sea (2002), the director for that film told him he was "too young," at which point Hutchison showed his driver's license to prove his age.
According to Frank Darabont, it's no coincidence that the projector is creating a halo over John's head.
John Travolta was offered the role of Paul Edgecomb, but turned it down.
The name for the character John Coffey was lifted from a college professor, Rev. John Coffee. Stephen King had met him once and really liked his name and used it in "The Green Mile." Rev. Coffee taught history classes at Emerson College in Boston, MA, and retired in May 2005.
Bonnie Hunt gained 15 pounds for her role. She joked, "It only took half an hour."
Michael Jeter hired a dialect coach to pull off a Cajun accent.
E Block was built as one giant set so cameras could follow actors for longer shots.
Just as director Frank Darabont was getting started writing the screenplay, he found out that his cat had developed a tumor. With the cat dying but not being in any pain, he decided to not have it put down. Instead he cared for it at home while adapting "The Green Mile", referring to it as his "co-writer" or "co-pilot", as it spent a lot of time keeping him company at his desk. Darabont said, "It's the whole 'Green Mile' death row experience . . . The writing of it was very much that. I had this creature I really cared about walking that mile". The cat passed away two months later, just about the same time the script was finished.
In real life, James Cromwell is two inches taller than Michael Clarke Duncan.
Although Harry Dean Stanton appears in this film, and there are characters named "Harry" and "Dean Stanton", they are only coincidences; they were in the original novel, which was written long before Stanton was cast in the film.
Doug Hutchison said that every week on set was "a different chapter in Percy abuse."
It was Michael Jeter's idea for Delacroix to be reciting the Hail Mary in Cajun French when he's in the electric chair.
The music played over the loudspeakers in the retirement home as Old Paul Edgecomb first walks out of his room is the same as the music the nurses played at medication time in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). The music used is Mantovani's "Charmaine".
Doug Hutchison (Percy) made a $20 bet with the extras (behind the scenes) during Del's execution that they couldn't recite his lines. Unknowingly, Tom Hanks wrote Hutchison's lines on big cue cards behind him. Hutchison caught on to the joke when the extras kept laughing. By the end of the day, he owed at least $60 to different people.
Frank Darabont called Thomas Newman's score "a rainbow of music and emotion."
Mr. Jingles' cigar box is from Marsh Wheeling, the oldest cigar manufacturer in the U.S.
At the beginning of the movie, when the elderly Paul Edgecomb is walking to get breakfast after waking from his bad dream, he is walking on a tiled floor that is very green, as if it is his own Green Mile.
This film was voted #2 in Channel 4's (U.K.) "Top 100 Tearjerkers" countdown, losing first place to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
The sequence of what Paul sees when he takes John's hand was shot at a slower speed in order to give it a dream-like quality.
That giant brick wall in the background of the prison is made out of lightweight fiberglass. All the walls could be moved to make room for cameras and lighting.
According to Frank Darabont, the electricity is meant to sound like a beast being unleashed.
Frank Darabont controlled the lightning machine himself to create all the flashes. "I have a little control panel with buttons on it and I get to go crazy."
Frank Darabont originally wanted Barry Pepper to play the part of sadistic guard Percy.
While many of Stephen King's novels are set in the author's native Maine, "The Green Mile" takes place in Louisiana. However, the surname of the main character, Edgecomb, is the name of a town on Maine's mid-coast.
Stephen King's original novel "The Green Mile" was published in 100-page paperback installments between March and August of 1996. He had begun developing the story while writing "Desperation" and needed to finish that novel but still wanted to see where his death row story would go. Ralph Vicinanza, a friend of King's who sells foreign publication rights, had recently had a discussion with another friend in England about Charles Dickens, in which he learned that Dickens often published his novels in installments in newspapers and magazines, and it had been suggested that, in the U.S., King could try writing a book that way. Vicinanza was under the impression that no recent novels had been written this way. He was, in fact, mistaken--Tom Wolfe had published his first draft of "The Bonfire of the Vanities" in installments in "Rolling Stone", and that story was also turned into a Tom Hanks film (The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990). "Green Mile, as it turned out, was not King's only story published in installments: his "Dark Tower" series spanned seven full-length books, published over the course of 22 years, from 1982 until 2004.
The film flips the action of the first two installments of the novel. The first book, "The Two Dead Girls," begins with John Coffey arriving on the Mile, but at this point Arlen Bitterbuck has already been executed and Eduard Delacroix already has his mouse. The second book goes back to before John's arrival and tells of Bitterbuck's fate and the origins of the mouse.
Frank Darabont cast Dabbs Greer because he was a fan of It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), in both of which Greer had appeared. "It!" was was also an inspiration for Alien (1979), another of Darabont's favorite films and which featured cast member Harry Dean Stanton.
In order to make Melinda look strange, makeup artists made it look like she didn't have eyebrows.
Stephen King responded to criticism that saw the film as a racial allegory by saying the only reason he made John Coffee a black man was that, given the time, place and setting of the novel and the crime for which Coffee was convicted, it was the only way to leave no doubt that he would have been sentenced to death.
The crew made a small cannon to shoot chocolate goo at David Morse. The goo hit Morse so hard it went up his nose, in his eyes, and into his mouth. Morse wasn't amused, as he's allergic to chocolate.
It's ironic that when Percy first encounters Mr. Jingles he calls him "scurvy", which is a condition caused by lack of vitamin C. Mice have an active gene that synthesizes vitamin C.
Many actors in this film have previously or subsequently appeared in other Stephen King adaptations. David Morse appeared in The Langoliers (1995) and Hearts in Atlantis (2001). James Cromwell appeared in Salem's Lot (2004), which was previously made with his wife, Julie Cobb. Patricia Clarkson appeared in Carrie (2002). Jeffrey DeMunn and William Sadler appeared together in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) as well as The Mist (2007), also both directed by Frank Darabont. Harry Dean Stanton appeared in Christine (1983), and Gary Sinise appeared in The Stand (1994).
Tom Hanks and Gary Sinise also appeared together in Forrest Gump (1994) and Apollo 13 (1995).
Voted the #5 Must-See Movie of All Time by listeners of Capital FM in London.
This film went two months over schedule.
Josh Brolin auditioned for the role of "Wild Bill" Wharton.
This movie features three actors who have portrayed real-life U.S. Presidents: David Morse played George Washington in John Adams (2008), Gary Sinise played Harry S. Truman in Truman (1995) and James Cromwell played 'George H.W. Bush' (q) in W. (2008).
Michael Jeter (who plays Eduard Delacroix) was also in Mousehunt (1997), another film which co-starred a gifted mouse.
The film cast includes one Oscar winner (Tom Hanks_ and five Oscar nominees (Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Gary Sinise, and Graham Greene).
Bonnie Hunt and Patricia Clarkson both appeared in Jumanji (1995). They did not share any scenes there and only share one here.
Three people who worked on The Shawshank Redemption (1994) worked on this film; Jeffrey DeMunn, William Sadler, and Frank Darabont. DeMunn played the D.A. in the beginning of the film, and Sadler played Heywood. Both movies are Stephen King adaptions.
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When Paul Edgecomb experiences the vision that John Coffey shows him of 'Wild Bill' Wharton abducting the Detterick twins, he sees Klaus Detterick mending a shed roof with hammer and nails. The sound effect of the hammer blows is an indistinct 'Wharton, Wharton, Wharton.'
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Stephen King attended the premiere with his wife Tabitha King.
Michael Jeter also appeared in another Tom Hanks movie, The Money Pit (1986).
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The expression about the cheese slipping off the cracker was used in True Blood (2008), which also takes place in Louisiana.
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Patricia Clarkson played James Cromwell's sister-in-law on Six Feet Under (2001).
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Harry Dean Stanton, who plays a convict, also played a convict in Cool Hand Luke (1967) 32 years earlier.
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In order to stay true to the book, Sam Rockwell requested the makeup team apply fake zits for his nude scene.
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David Morse appeared in an episode of Tales from the Crypt (1989) that was written by Frank Darabont.
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This is the first of two 1930s-era films starring Tom Hanks with a music score by Thomas Newman, the other being Road to Perdition (2002). The respective directors of both films, Frank Darabont and Sam Mendes, always use Newman to score their films.
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The main antagonist of Michael Jeter's character, Edward Delacroix, is name Percy. Michael Jeter would go on to portray a likeable character named Percy in 2003's Open Range.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Michael Clarke Duncan was uncomfortable with having to grab Tom Hanks' crotch for the scene where John cures Paul's urinary infection. Hanks left the set and came back to do the scene; Duncan grabbed Hanks' crotch and was shocked to discover that he had put an empty water bottle in his trousers. After that, Duncan felt more comfortable with the scene.
The film never actually tells why Arlen Bitterbuck and Edward Delacroix were sentenced to death. According to the novel on which the movie is based, Delacroix was an arsonist, rapist and murderer, while Bitterbuck murdered a man in an argument over a pair of boots.
By the time Paul introduced Elaine to Mr. Jingles, the mouse would have to be at least 64 years old--over nine times the age of the oldest actual mouse.
Sam Rockwell felt really bad delivering some lines in the flashback sequence, because the two little girls liked him.
In the book Paul's wife is killed in a major bus accident and Paul is one of only four survivors. It is hinted that Paul survived because of the power John gave him.
To make John Coffey look big, his electric chair is smaller than the chair used in other scenes.
When Melinda Moores (Patricia Clarkson) is visited by John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), she gives him a St. Christopher medal. In Catholicism, St. Christopher is known as the patron saint of travelers (John Coffey describes himself as a wanderer) and, like Coffey, died a martyr.
Michael Clarke Duncan was holding a light bulb when he resurrects Mr. Jingles, but most of the glow is done with effects.
Arlen Bitterbuck's story of his "best time", told to Paul Edgecomb before his execution, are Graham Greene's only lines of dialogue in the film.
Michael Jeter taught himself how to say "The Lord's Prayer" in Creole to add authenticity to his character's Cajun heritage. You can hear him quietly reciting it during Del's execution scene, as the dry sponge is being applied to his head.
The plot unfolds in the form of Paul telling Elaine the story of the Green Mile. In the book, Paul writes his story down in the form of a novel. At the end of the film, as Paul leaves the cemetery after Elaine's burial, a tombstone can be seen behind him that reads "Greene", and two others, one in the foreground and one to the right of the screen, that read "Story".
Body count: 7.
In "Doctor Sleep", Stephen King's sequel to "The Shining", when Danny Torrance senses that someone is dying, he experiences it as insects and flies, in the same way that flies come out of John Coffey's mouth when he heals people. In "Doctor Sleep" Danny even speaks Percy's line, "Dead man walking." Also in "Doctor Sleep", flies portend something bad about to happen, such as before Percy is institutionalized.
The crew patterned the movements of the bugs that come out of Coffey's mouth after swimming fish and swarming insects.
The elderly Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer) tells Elaine that he is 108 years old. In reality, Greer was 81 at the time.
Doug Hutchison (Percy Wetmore) would play a mental patient again in Punisher: Warzone (2008).
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