Early in his career, Frank Darabont was known as a screenwriter. He and screenwriting partner Chuck Russell co-wrote the scripts for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and the 1988 remake of The Drop (Russell directed both). He also wrote The Fly II, several episodes of Tales from the Crypt and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and a retelling of Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein called Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Obviously, he is interested in genre stories.
While working on Dream Warriors, he thought it would be nice to have a project that he could work on as a director. At the time, he was torn between The Shawshank Redemption and The Fog. In a short film “When Darkness Came: Making the Mist” Darabont said of his decision, “And that night, I sort of decided on The Shawshank Redemption. It’s a project that I nurtured for about five years and then finally wrote the script and finally made it.” The making of the film changed the way Hollywood saw it. “It put me in a whole, kind of insightful category of what kind of work I do.”
Since then, the trajectory of his career has certainly changed. Soon he was filming The Green Mile and Majestic. Thus, to viewers only familiar with his brilliant, enjoyable films, it might seem strange that he then made something soaked in so much blood and desperation as The Mist.