Negan himself might be shocked at the number of f-bombs original "The Walking Dead" showrunner Frank Darabont used to blast his own AMC colleagues during Season 2 production. Some of Darabont's email rants were just shared as part of the never-ending lawsuit after his firing. However, like the Johnny Depp lawsuit reveals over his excessive spending, the rubber-necking factor may easily capture the public's interest, but it remains to be seen if it'll have any bearing on the case.
The Hollywood Reporter has a detailed rundown of the new materials that were just made public after both sides spent over a year arguing over what should stay confidential. As THR noted, the thousands of pages revealed -- "summary judgment arguments, depositions, redacted profit participation statements, expert testimony, and even details about the financials for other AMC shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul — represent a huge exposure of Hollywood financial secrets."
But it's the explicit emails that have garnered the most attention, just as a glimpse of the stress behind the scenes, as "The Shawshank Redemption" director struggled to keep "The Walking Dead" Season 2 together and on schedule.
AMC cut the budget after Season 1, which stunned Darabont, and he was also surprised when the network demanded to see all of the Season 2 scripts up front before shooting. When the first footage came in, it was clear he was unhappy and feeling the pressure. THR shared part of an email he sent to executive producer Gale Anne Hurd:
"F*ck you all for giving me chest pains because of the staggering f*cking incompetence, blindness to the important beats, and the beyond-arrogant lack of regard for what is written being exhibited on set every day. I deserve better than a heart attack because people are too stupid to read a script and understand the words. Does anybody disagree with me? Then join the C-cam operator and go find another job that doesn't involve deliberately f*cking up my show scene by scene."
But tell us how you really feel!
- In the same month, Darabont asked why the camera operators were being paid at all when "Ray Charles could operate better."
- In another email, he compared one of the show's directors to someone who he formerly worked with who had suffered massive, debilitating strokes. "It's like we yanked some kid with no experience out of high school and put her in charge of directing a show."
- In an email to AMC executive Ben Davis, he wrote, "Please let's stop invoking 'the writers room. There IS no writers room, which you know as well as I do. I am the writers room. The f*cking lazy assholes who were supposedly going to be my showrunners threw that responsibility on me after wasting five months of my time."
- In another email to colleagues, he reportedly wrote, "YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE MOTHERF*CKING SCRIPT! I EVEN CHOOSE MY GODDAMN COMMAS FOR A REASON!"
- As Variety added, from an email sent to Hurd regarding Season 2 premiere issues: "I am in a state of boiling rage right now. Everybody especially our directors better wake the f*ck up and pay attention or I will start killing people and throwing bodies out the door."
- In an email from 2010, also shared by Variety, Darabont vented at two writers on the show, saying he should have "hunted them down and f*cking killed them with a brick, then gone and burned down their homes."
So he can be a Christian Bale/Alec Baldwin-level diva when things don't go his way. That's hardly new in Hollywood. And, as Darabont argues in an affidavit, just cherry-picking soundbites isn't a fair representation of the big picture:
"Each of these emails must be considered in context. They were sent during an intense and stressful two-year period of work during which I was fighting like a mother lion to protect the show from harm — not only on my own behalf, but ironically also on behalf of AMC.
Each of these emails was sent because a 'professional' showed up whose laziness, indifference, or incompetence threatened to sink the ship of production and added unfair and unnecessary burden to their colleagues in the cast and crew... My tone was the result of the stress and magnitude of this extraordinary crisis. The language and hyperbole of my emails were harsh, but so were the circumstances. As for the enormous problems they describe, I stand by these emails to the last detail."
AMC shot back that the rants help to demonstrate the cause for his firing:
"Darabont's erratic and unprofessional performance and his behavioral and interpersonal issues during Season 2 raised a number of concerns for AMC Studios. Among other things, his failure to timely deliver scripts, failure to adequately supervise the writers' room, and his volatile and disturbing interactions with staff and talent were impacting production."
There's a lot more, for when you have the time to go through it. What. A. Mess. But the main show is still chugging along with its third showrunner, Scott M. Gimple, with Season 8 heading to Comic-Con next Friday, July 21. TWD Season 8 will premiere in October.
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