Director: Frank Darabont
Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse
Plot: The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.
John Coffey was supposed to be seven feet tall. In fact, Duncan was 6'5", the same height as co-star David Morse and two inches shorter than co-star James Cromwell. Forced perspective camera angles and other trickery were used to make him appear taller.
At the end of the movie, Mr. Jingles is at least 64 years old, more than nine times as old as the longest-lived mouse on record.
Although director Frank Darabont cast Tom Hanks in the lead role of Warden Paul Edgecomb (a choice that delighted author Stephen King) fairly early in production, the director reportedly offered the part to John Travolta, who turned Darabont down. Additionally, the supporting role of Wild Bill Wharton, the rambunctious psychopath played by Sam Rockwell, was shopped to Josh Brolin at one point.
Always outspoken about the depiction of African American men and women in Hollywood productions, Spike Lee took The Green Mile to task for what he and some film critics saw as the relegation of Duncan to the detested trope of “magic Negro,” a term for an enchanted black character who exists purely to better the lives of his white compatriots.
Michael Clarke Duncan credited his casting to Bruce Willis, with whom he had worked on Armageddon one year earlier. According to Duncan, Willis introduced him to Darabont after hearing of the open call for John Coffey.