The Shawshank Redemption is one of the classic films that engraved its name in the film industry. Being considered one of the best films of all time, it gave Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman a significant push later on, when it was recognized for its true value. While Robbins gave life to this iconic character, Tom Cruise was reported to have been considered for the role.
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It was reported that the Top Gun actor could have been playing the role however he decided to pass on the opportunity. The reason was reported to be the film director, Frank Darabont who back then was just starting in the industry.
Rob Reiner Thought Tom Cruise Was The Perfect Person for The Lead Role in The Shawshank Redemption
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The 60-year-old action star, Tom Cruise rose to prominence by working on some major projects in his 80s and 90s. That was the very time when The Shawshank Redemption was in the works. Rob Reiner, one of the executives at the production company, Castle Rock Entertainment was much interested in the film.
Frank Darabont, who wrote the film script at the time was just a rookie director who was struggling to make ends meet. Being impressed with the script, Reiner eventually made an offer to the director by offering him $3 million to give him movie rights and pitched about bringing the former as the lead in the film.
Reiner had already done a few projects with the Mission: Impossible actor, which is why he was hoping for a reunion. The filmmaker had already established himself as an important personality in the industry meanwhile Darabont was in his initial stage. While the offer was too good to resist, the then-rookie director told Vanity Fair,
“You can continue to defer your dreams in exchange for money and, you know, die without ever having done the thing you set out to do.”
He eventually rejected his offer to give the movie rights and the direction of the film his hands and eventually went ahead with this project. However, little did he know that the famous actor would turn down the movie because of it.
Tom Cruise Turned Down The Lead Role Because of The Then-Rookie Director, Frank Darabont
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The screenwriter kept steadfast on helming the cult classic even though he was “completely tormented” by turning down such a golden opportunity. However, the global cultural icon was not impressed by the rookie director back then which was eventually reported to be the reason behind letting go of that project.
It was believed that the star loved the screenplay, and was even present for a table read of the film. Though, he was not happy about working with Darabont.
When Reiner explained to him that the script was from The Walking Dead producer, he eventually stepped away. Even though Cruise was not there in the film, Tim Robbins played the role of Andy Dufresne and left his trademark on the character.
Source: The Vanity Fair