10 Things You May Not Have Known About The Green Mile Movie

“Please boss, don't put that thing over my face, don't put me in the dark. I's afraid of the dark.” 

Here are ten fascinating facts about The Green Mile movie that you may not have known.

The Green Mile is a wonderful adaptation of Stephen King’s Green Mile novel that was first published in six low-priced paperback volumes in 1996.

The 1999 film version of The Green Mile starred Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, the senior prison officer on Cold Mountain Penitentiary’s death row, and it features a remarkable performance by the late Michael Clarke Duncan, playing the gifted, but mentally challenged John Coffey who has been wrongly sentenced to death for the murder of two young children that he didn’t kill.

The Green Mile movie is not for the feint hearted, but it is for people who have a heart. It raises some serious questions about the validity of the death penalty, in any country, and it can make even the toughest of men cry. Here are ten facts about The Green Mile movie that you may not have known.

1. Bruce Willis helped get Michael Clarke Duncan the part

The character of John Coffey is a complex one. It called for a man of imposing stature, but also a man who could portray sensitivity and gentleness. It was Bruce Willis, who suggested that his friend and co-star star of Armageddon could pull it off, and he was right! When Willis heard about the search for an actor to play the role of John Coffey in The Green Mile, he contacted director Frank Darabont and put Michael Clarke Duncan’s name forward.

2. Stephen King Tried out Old Sparky, but Tom Hanks would not

Stephen King visited the set of The Green Mile and he let director Frank Darabont strap him into the electric chair. Tom Hanks, however, refused the offer as he wanted to say in character and he didn’t think that it would be right for Paul Edgecomb to sit in Old Sparky.

3. There fifteen different Mr Jingles

There were fifteen different mice that played the part of Mr Jingles, the adopted pet of inmate Eduard Delacroix, and the mice had their own set chair. More often than not though, in the scenes where Mr Jingles appears the actors are looking at laser light that was pointed at the ground and the image of the mouse was added in later.

4. Michael Clarke Duncan stopped working out to prepare for the role of John Coffey 

To make himself look more like a man from the 1930s would look, Michael Clarke Duncan stopped lifting weights during the filming of The Green Mile. Other actors also changed their appearance in the movie, including Bonnie Hunt, who played the part of Jan Edgecomb, who gained 15 pounds. Tom Hanks also put on weight for the film.

5. Michael Clarke Duncan was big, but not that big

In The Green Mile film, John Coffey towers over Brutus "Brutal" Howell, played by David Morse and Paul Edgecomb, played by Tom Hanks, but while Michael Clarke Duncan was an imposing figure at 6’ 5”, he was actually only slightly taller than his co-stars. Clever camera angles and other tricks were used to make Michael Clarke Duncan look so tall. The electric chair that he meets his end in, for example, was physically smaller than the chair that the other actors sat in.

6. Why Tom Hanks didn’t play his older self in The Green Mile

In Stephen King’s The Green Mile, the story Paul Edgecomb and his experiences on death row are narrated by a much older Paul in 1999. The plan was to use makeup to make Tom Hanks look older for the opening and closing scenes of The Green Mile, but the makeup artists couldn’t do a convincing enough job of ageing Hanks, so they called in Dabbs Greer to play the old Paul Edgecomb instead.

7. Stephen King approved of the casting

Stephen King has said that he told Frank Darabont that Tom Hanks was exactly whom King had envisioned playing the role of Paul Edgecomb in the Green Mile.  King also told Michael Clarke Duncan that he thought the actor looked exactly what King had imagined John Coffey to look like.

8. Mr Jingles pooped on Tom Hanks

The scene where Tom Hanks brushes his shoulder after Mr Jingles had perched on it wasn’t planned; Mr Jingles really did poop on Tome Hanks’ shoulder.  Mr Jingles also relieved himself a few times on Tom Hanks’ hand when the actor held the mouse in his palm.

9. The Green Mile is the highest earning Stephen King movie adaptation to date

The Shining may be a cult classic and The Shawshank Redemption much praised, but it’s the Green Mile that is the highest earning film adaptation of Stephen King’s work. The movie grossed a total of $290,701,374 in combined domestic and international takings.

10. What Tom Hanks said to critics who complained that the movie was too long

The Green Mile has a running time of 189 minutes, so it is a pretty long film. Tom Hanks answered critics who complained about the length of the film by saying that they were getting more movie for their dollar. Stephen King was amazed that The Green Mile was ever squeezed into one film at all. He said that fitting the story that was originally released in six instalments must have been like "stealing all the towels at a Holiday Inn and trying to cram them into one suitcase."

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