.Stephen King’s novel, The Green Mile, tells the story of John Coffey, a Black man wrongly convicted of murdering two young white girls. Despite his cries for help, he is sentenced to death row. When Coffey is transferred to his cell, a bond forms between him and guard Paul “Boss” Edgecomb. Coffey’s supernatural healing powers are revealed when he cures Boss’s painful injury, leading to a miraculous discovery.
10 Micheal Clarke Duncan Remembered His Saddest Time for the Role
.Michael Clarke Duncan’s performance as John Coffey required him to delve into an emotionally charged role. He was so successful that he received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards. To deliver such a compelling performance, Clarke drew from his own childhood experience of his father’s abandonment, tapping into the sadness and emotion needed for his character’s portrayal. While unfortunate, this approach allowed him to deliver a nuanced and powerful performance.
9 Fifteen Mice Were Used During Production
Eduard Delacroix, portrayed by Micheal Jeter in The Green Mile, formed a bond with a mouse while awaiting his execution. After retiring from his job as a guard, Boss took care of the mouse. Interestingly, the role of the mouse required a team of fifteen trained mice to perform various tricks throughout the filming of the movie. All fifteen mice were used in the final cut of the movie.
8 Tom Hanks Stayed in Character on Set
During the filming of The Green Mile, author Stephen King would visit the set to observe the production. However, lead actor Tom Hanks, who portrayed the character of Paul “Boss” Edgecomb, would never break character while King was around. On one occasion, King asked Hanks to sit in the electric chair, but Hanks refused, stating that he needed to stay in charge of his block. This level of dedication to his role is a testament to Hanks’ professionalism and commitment to his craft.
7 Rodney Barnes Snuck on Set to Land His Role
In The Green Mile, Michael Clarke Duncan played the role of John Coffey, a character much larger than the average man. To ensure that the crew could capture the size and strength of Coffey, a stand-in was cast for certain scenes. This role was given to Rodney Barnes, who went to great lengths to gain the part. Barnes snuck onto the set, hiding in the paddy wagon used to transport the inmates to the prison. This surprise entrance caught the attention of director Frank Darabont, who was so impressed with Barnes’ dedication that he decided to give him the role.
Interestingly, Barnes had another motive for sneaking onto the set of The Green Mile. He wanted to meet his favorite author, Stephen King. Despite not having any prior acting experience, Barnes managed to impress the crew with his portrayal of Coffey, and he even got the chance to meet King during his time on set. Barnes’ commitment to the role and his determination to meet King ultimately paid off, as he was able to land a spot in one of the most iconic films of the 90s.
6 The Green Mile Is Dabbs Greer’s Last Film
Actor Dabbs Greer was cast as the older version of Tom Hanks’ role. He, unfortunately, had health concerns before filming started. However, director Frank Darabont was so interested in Greer for the role that he proposed the movie be filmed around Greer’s health. Greer approved and took on The Green Mile as his last role.
5 Production Made Duncan’s Bed Smaller
The late Micheal Clarke Duncan was an incredibly large person. To make him appear even bigger the production made his jail cell bed shorter to give him even more height and width — not that he needed it, as he towered over everyone on set naturally.
4 Production Changed the Film’s Timeline
When Coffey was set for the electric chair, he had one dying wish. Though Boss did give him the opportunity to be a free man, Coffey had something else on his mind. He wanted to watch a movie with the guards before his passing. In order to feature the movie Top Hat, the specific film they wanted for Coffey’s scene, the time frame of The Green Mile had to be moved from 1932 to 1935 due to its 1935 release. The film’s soundtrack features the song Heaven by Mark Sandrich, resulting in a very emotional scene for Coffey and the guards.
3 Stephen King Dislikes the Electric Chair
Stephen King often visited the set of The Green Mile. On one occasion, King asked to be strapped into the electric chair, also called “old sparky.” It is recorded that King was not fond of this experience and likely did not strap up twice.
2 It Was Stephen King’s First Film to Surpass $100 Million
Being the renowned author that Stephen King is, he’s had more than 30 film adaptations rise to earn nearly $100 million. The Green Mile was King’s first film to make more than $100 million at the box office, doubling that profit by grossing $286.8 million in total.
1 John Coffey’s Ending Scene Foreshadows His Demise
Perhaps the most emotional scene in The Green Mile is when Boss and Coffey had their closing time together before Coffey’s execution. Coffey explained to Boss how he would rather go to heaven than stay another day on Earth. Moments after this conversation, Coffey’s wish to watch a movie before passing was given to him. When he was sitting watching Top Hat, there was a glowing halo atop Coffey’s head made from the film projector, making the scene to be that much more moving.
The Green Mile was one of the most moving films of 1999 and was nominated for four Oscars. Though it would not take an Academy Award home, it did win a plethora of other awards, like six Saturn Awards, two People’s Choice Awards, and many more. While the actors did a phenomenal character depiction of Stephen King’s ideology, there was also seemingly no mistake made in filming, and the script was delivered with pure talent.