HOLLYWOOD (CAP) - Castle Rock Entertainment has confirmed reports that it will make a sequel to its beloved 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption, chronicling the further adventures of characters Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding.
"This was a story that demanded to be continued," said Castle Rock CEO Martin Shafer. "There were so many unanswered questions from the first movie, like, what do they do after they meet each other again on the beach in Mexico? And, after they get together, what is it that they do, together?"
Plot details for the film, tentatively titled Shawshank 2: Return Of The Redemption, are still under wraps, but Shafer did confirm the rumors first reported on Showbiz411.com that the pair would fight crime in Mexico as a pair of scrappy private detectives.
"But as for the mysteries they solve, well, you'll have to see the movie," said Fraser.
According to Showbiz411, which claims to have acquired an early draft of the script, Andy and "Red" (warning: spoiler alert!) assume new identities as private eyes - named Andy Shaw and "Red" Shank, in a nod to their former "home" - and wind up tangling with the twin brother of Shawshank's Warden Samuel Norton, who tracks them down in Mexico seeking revenge.
John Malkovich (In The Line of Fire, Con Air) has been cast as the brother, according to Showbiz411.
Tim Robbins has reportedly signed on to reprise his role as Andy, with negotiations still ongoing with his original Shawshank co-star, Morgan Freeman. Several executives close to the production have indicated that if talks with Freeman break down, Billy Dee Williams (The Empire Strikes Back, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings) has been tapped as a likely replacement.
Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson have also been mentioned as possible candidates for the role of "Heather," an American tourist with a dark secret who becomes a love interest for Robbins' character. "If there's one thing people seemed to feel was missing from the first movie, it was a hot woman character," noted Fraser. "At least I felt that."
"The Shawshank Redemption finishes consistently near the top in polls of people's favorite movies. This is a chance to offer closure on these classic characters to the millions of people who love them so much," noted Barry Meyer, CEO of Warner Bros, which owns Castle Rock. "Also, the original movie frankly didn't do so hot financially in its initial release, so this is a chance for us to make some of that up."
Not everybody is thrilled with the idea, however. Steven King, who wrote the short story on which the original film was based, says he's none too happy about the direction the story is taking.
"I actually wrote a completely different treatment for a sequel a few years ago," said King. "It had something to do with Maine, and a cemetery - I think there was a creepy clown in it." King was apparently on pain medication following his 1999 van accident at the time.
But the sequel's director, Frank Darabont - who also directed the original movie but has since struggled to find a hit, helming both The Magestic and The Mist - said the new story is a worthwhile one.
Contacted at his home in Sheboygan, Wisc., Darabont first asked "How did you find out about this project?," and then said, "Well, this was a story that was - you know, demanding to be..."
Then he paused, sighed heavily and said, "Who the hell am I kidding? I just need the money."
- CAP News Staff