Frank Darabont was fired from The Walking Dead?

News Simon Brew 11 Aug 2011 - 07:43

It turns out that Frank Darabont's mysterious departure from The Walking Dead may have been explained. It seemed he was fired...

Comfortably one of the most surprising stories in the land of television this year was the news, a few weeks’ ago, that Frank Darabont was stepping down as showrunner of AMC’s smash-hit show, The Walking Dead.

It was Darabont who spent many years developing and pushing for The Walking Dead to be made into a TV show in the first place, and who took charge of the acclaimed pilot episode. And he’s overseen much of season two, as well, which is heavily into production.

Yet, just a week after sitting on a Comic-Con panel to promote season two of The Walking Dead, Darabont left the show. There was some reason given, which amounted to him not being able to adapt to the world of television. But now, a different reason has sprung up: it seems Frank Darabont might have actually been fired.

The Hollywood Reporter has dug into the reasons for him leaving the show, and it’s reported that Darabont wasn’t happy with the budget cutting that surrounded the show’s second season. This was something he’s criticised AMC for a few months ago, and the report cites an agency source as saying Darabont is “notoriously a pain in the ass”, one who was “taking a feature-film approach to television”.

Yet it’s this that many on the crew on the show appear to believe is the reason The Walking Dead has worked so well. The Hollywood Reporter quotes an insider as saying “Frank fights for the show … He doesn’t just do what the network wants him to do … He’s a filmmaker, and that’s why the show was as good as it was”.

The eventual catalyst for Darabont’s departure appeared to be an episode from the second season, where a director had delivered “footage that was not usable”. The director in question hasn’t been named, but Darabont apparently was trying to fix the episode. However, it looks like it was this that gave AMC the chance it seemingly needed to swing the axe.

It’s a messy affair, and we should note that AMC has not responded to any of the allegations that The Hollywood Reporter has put forward. Nor has Frank Darabont made any public statements since he left The Walking Dead.

It all strikes us as a massive pity. Frank Darabont is an immensely talented creative force (we’d sit here and defend The Majestic if you wanted), and The Walking Dead was one of the best new TV series in some time.

We’re still looking forward to the upcoming season two, but we can’t help but feel it’s all been a little tainted, too.

Here’s the more detailed report at The Hollywood Reporter.

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