Those of you who have been following along know that Frank Darabont — the original showrunner and co-creator of AMC’s The Walking Dead — has been in a years’ long lawsuit with the network over royalties. Darabont was fired after the second season of the series, and as someone who obsessively covers The Walking Dead, the show is much better for it, not just because the show improved under Glen Mazzara and later Scott Gimple, but because it sounds like Darabont was hell to work with.
As that lawsuit is playing out, emails have been released, and they depict Darabont as a controlling, temperamental prick.
“I am in a state of boiling rage right now,” Darabont wrote in a 2011 email to Hurd regarding problems with production on the first episode of “Walking Dead’s” second season. “Everybody especially our directors better wake the f— up and pay attention or I will start killing people and throwing bodies out the door.” In an email from 2010, Darabont vented his anger at two writers on the show, saying he should have “hunted them down and f—ing killed them with a brick, then gone and burned down their homes.”
He also got testy with Gale Ann Hurd, the producer of the series who basically makes that show (and Fear the Walking Dead run). From THR:
In one June 2011 email to executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and others, he wrote, “Fuck you all for giving me chest pains because of the staggering fucking 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 fucking up my show scene by scene.”
That wouldn’t be the only profane rant that month. In one email, Darabont asked why camera operators were being paid when “Ray Charles could operate better.” In yet another, 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,” wrote Darabont.
Darabont clearly wasn’t a fan of his writers’ room, either.
And to AMC’s executives, he was no less polite. “Please let’s stop invoking ‘the writers room,’” he emailed AMC’s Ben Davis. “There IS no writers room, which you know as well as I do. I am the writers room. The fucking lazy assholes who were supposedly going to be my showrunners threw that responsibility on me after wasting five months of my time.”
“YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE MOTHERFUCKING SCRIPT! I EVEN CHOOSE MY GODDAMN COMMAS FOR A REASON!”
That guy sounds like a real pleasure to work with. It’s probably why he’s only been involved with one project since the AMC series, a TNT show called Mob City that was frankly not very good. It was cancelled after its 4-episode first season.
Darabont is seeking around $300 million from AMC. In depositions, he says he stands behind the content of his emails.