Frank Darabont is now promoting his new show, Mob City, which features two cast members from The Walking Dead, which he developed and ran for AMC until he was dismissed early in production on Season 2.
Since he's doing press for the TNT show, people keep asking him about his ugly split with The Walking Dead. He hadn't said too much about it in the past, but now he's just a quote machine.
He previously talked about "truly malevolent people" pushing him out, and he's also called the execs "sociopaths." In a new interview with IGN, he explained the main source of the antagonism was the 25 percent budget cut when the show advanced to Season 2.
IGN noted that everyone in the cast and crew seemed afraid to comment on the showrunner split when it happened. "Oh yes, they were bullied, and threatened, and their livelihoods threatened, and there was some weight being thrown around,” Frank said. “Like I said, I'll write a book. And there are a lot of people who will go on record. That are actually very keen to go on record, because like I said there are a lot of people who felt tremendously abused."
Frank's friend Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale) — one of his regular collaborators, including Laurie Holden (Andrea) and Melissa McBride (Carol), who were all in Frank's movie, The Mist — ended up leaving the show in the second season, before Dale was originally meant to die.
"Yeah, Jeff didn't want to stick around," Frank told IGN. "Because Jeff is a human being and he's got a tremendous...he doesn't need the work. He doesn't have a very extravagant lifestyle and he wants peace of mind in his life. He's a very good and decent man that way; which is absolutely no reflection on anybody else who stayed with the production."
Frank said some of the cast were contractually obligated to stay. "I actually had a few people, well more than a few people, call and say, 'What do you want us to do? We're thinking of walking off the set. I'm thinking of leaving. I'm thinking of quitting.' And I said do not do that for me. Don't do that. Don't confuse love or loyalty to me with taking some kind of stand that's only going to harm you. Don't expose yourself to legal action or retaliation, which you know these people will take. And just don't do it. It was heartwarming to hear people expressing that loyalty, but I didn't want anyone to compromise their livelihoods. I mean these people have to work and support their families."
At least loyalty isn’t completely dead. And, on a selfish level, we’re glad the core cast stuck around. But hopefully Frank does write a book, ‘cause it already sounds juicy.
Mob City, starring Jon Bernthal (Shane) and co-starring Jeffrey DeMunn, premieres December 4 on TNT. The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.