The Alternate cast of Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption, a movie which finds its place in almost every movie enthusiast's best films list. Among many other important depiction of human emotions, it showed the friendship of two prisoners over a time period of almost 2 decades; Andy and Red. The supporting characters included Heywood, Lloyd, Brooks and Tommy. There was a great equation among these characters. However these characters could be completely different, if the actors who were first approached agreed to portray these characters .

Let’s start with Andy; this role was offered to Tom Hanks and Kevin Costner but they couldn't do it because of issues with the dates. Though Tom Hanks went on to win the best actor in a leading role at the Academy Awards for playing Forrest Gump, Kevin Costner strongly regret his decision for turning down the character of Andy Dufresne. Not only the two, even Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen and Nicolas Cage were considered for the part of Andy Dufresne which finally went to Tim Robbins.

Red; the role for Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding was determined to go to Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman or Robert Redford. In the Stephen King's book, Red was a white Irishman, so it was meant to be played by a white skinned actor in the first place, but director Frank Darabont wanted to cast only Morgan Freeman as Red. 

Frank Darabont made sure that his favorite character actor James Whitmore must get a role in this film, so he asked him to do the role for Brooks. The role for the character Tommy Williams played by Gil Bellows was first going to Brad Pitt. Though this character had a small part, it was an important role in the film.

Given the great actor Tom hanks is, we would have loved to see Hanks do the Andy part, or Clint Eastwood being Red, but then, could Shawshank achieve the cult status, it has achieved now?

Author: Amrit Rukhaiyaar