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Frank Darabont’s Rage Boils Over: The ‘Walking Dead’ Emails

Variety logo Variety 7/13/2017 Gene Maddaus
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AMC Networks filed an immense trove of emails from fired “Walking Dead” executive producer Frank Darabont on Thursday. They give a rare behind-the-scenes look at the tensions that go into a prestige cable show. Darabont has said the tone and the “hyperbole” were the result of a crisis on the show, and that he stands by the substance of the emails “to the last detail.”

Here are some of the juiciest excerpts:

Email to Gale Anne Hurd and others

Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 10:39 p.m.

Guys and gals,

I am in a state of absolutely boiling rage right now.

I just kept Denise on the phone for 20 minutes making her listen to me scream. I hope she conveys to you what the tenor of it, because you need to grasp my fury. I have never been a screamer, but I am now. The work being done on this episode has turned me into one. Congratulations, you all accomplished what I thought was impossible. You’ve turned me into a raging asshole. Thanks a lot, you fuckers.

Everybody, especially our directors, better wake the fuck up and pay attention. Or I will start killing people and throwing bodies out the door.

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.

Email to Ben Davis

July 21, 2010, 12:11 a.m.

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 lazy fucking assholes who were supposedly going to be my showrunners threw that responsibility on me after wasting five months of my time.

If it were up to me, I’d have not only fired Chic Egles and Jack LoGuidice when they handed me the worst episode 3 script imaginable, I’d have hunted them down and fucking killed them with a brick, then gone and burned down their homes. I haven’t even spoken to those worthless talentless hack sons-of-bitches since their 3rd draft was phoned in after five months of all their big talk and promises that they’d dig deep and have my back covered.

They didn’t have my back, they rammed knives into it.

Professional courtesy is something one earns, and those douchebags have not earned mine. I don’t want to see them cc-ed on ANYTHING any more. They renounced that privilege by not even trying to live up to their job descriptions, by instead leaving me dangling in the wind like a hanged man. Calling their 103 “phoned-in” would be vastly overstating, because they were too busy wasting my time and your money to bother picking the damn phone up. Those fucking overpaid con artists.

Email to Gwyneth Horder-Payton and others

Monday, June 13, 2011, 7:18 p.m.

I am profoundly let down by some of this footage. I’m boiling mad.

YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE MOTHERFUCKING SCRIPT! I EVEN CHOOSE MY GODDAMN COMMAS FOR A REASON! WHY AM I WORKING SO FUCKING HARD IF YOU’RE SHOOTING EVERYTHING SOME OTHER WAY THAT DOESN’T WORK?

Email to Denise Huth and others

June 16, 2011, 12:21 a.m.

Shane being chased by zombies on the Parkway and being rescued by the RV is a major element we must reshoot. Seeing those dailies today left me gobsmacked and thinking I should fake my own death, leave town, and live under an assumed name. There are some shots we can use from Gwyneth’s footage, but only shots. Right now the sequence doesn’t exist. Re-shooting this along with everything else is something we have to plan for. And I haven’t even vetted the goat farm stuff yet, but I can safely bet you a million dollars there are major problems there too.

Denise, I’m putting my anger and disappointment at Gwyneth aside when I say this. I promise I’m not being a hyperbolic wiseass.

Remember our experience with Allan Garfield on The Majestic? We were all so shocked because it was like he had no grasp of the basics of his craft? And it turned out later that he’d had a stroke he was unaware of? And a few months after we wrapped, the massive secondary stroke happened that put him permanently in the hospital?

I am honest-to-God wondering if Gwyneth hasn’t experienced the same thing. That’s how fundamentally fucked this footage is. It’s as if she’s totally lost her grasp of what to do. It’s like we yanked some kid with no experience out of high school and put her in charge of directing a show. And what’s really weird is that she doesn’t seem to know it.

Frank Darabont emails by gmaddaus on Scribd

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