1994 The Shawshank Redemption Filming Locations
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.
Director: Frank Darabont
Writers: Stephen King (short story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption"), Frank Darabont (screenplay)
Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton etc
One of those odd sleepers, a modest success on release, Shawshank went on to a phenomenally popular afterlife on video and DVD.
Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) bides his time during twenty years’ imprisonment for the murder of his wife in this adaptation of a Stephen King story. And being Stephen King, the setting is once again Maine, though you’ll find ‘Shawshank State Prison’ in Ohio. It’s the forbiddingly Gothic Mansfield Reformatory, 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield, on US Route 30, about 80 miles southwest of Cleveland.
Built between 1886 and 1910, the reformatory remained in operation until 1990 and was scheduled for demolition when the film was made. In fact, much of the prison yard has now gone to make room for the adjacent Richland Correctional Institution, but the striking Administration Building lives on as a tourist attraction. Find it just north of downtown Mansfield, off South Olivesburg Road.
Although some prison interiors were recreated in the studio, the office of the corrupt Governor Norton (Bob Gunton) really is Mansfield Reformatory.
Prison scenes for Air Force One, Harry and Walter Go To New York and Tango & Cash were also filmed in the reformatory.
The golf pro’s house, where Andy’s wife and her lover are murdered, is the Pugh Cabin, which you’ll find on the grounds of Malabar Farm State Park, 4050 Bromfield Road, south of Lucas, a few miles southeast of Mansfield itself.
About 40 miles west of Mansfield, in the town of Upper Sandusky, Andy’s trial is held at Wyandot Courthouse, 109 South Sandusky Avenue.
Incidentally, 228 South 8th Street, also in Upper Sandusky, served as the woodwork shop of ‘Shawshank Prison’.
The town into which the elderly, institutionalised Brooks (James Whitmore) is released is Mansfield itself. The ‘Brewer’, the halfway house where he carves ‘Brooks was here’ into the beams, is the Haunted Bissman Building, 193 North Main Street. Built in 1887 as HQ of the Bissman grocery company, the now-disused building is supposedly inhabited by mysterious spirits, and you can participate in regular paranormal investigations. The Bissman is also featured in Edward Douglas’s 2010 horror The Dead Matter, with splatter-master Tom Savini.
The interior of the ‘Brewer’, incidentally, was filmed inside Mansfield Reformatory.
South from the Bissman Building, on Main Street, it’s in Mansfield’s Central Park that Brooks sits on a bench forlornly feeding the pigeons, hoping to get a glimpse of Jake, the crow he reared.
‘Maine National Bank’, into which the invented ‘Randall Stephens’ strides to withdraw the Warden’s money, is Huntington Bank, 19 West Main Street, in Ashland, about 12 miles northeast of Mansfield. The bank is currently closed.
It’s back to Mansfield, where Carrousel Antiques, 118 North Main Street, provided the gun store window into which Red (Morgan Freeman) looks as he considers breaking parole to be returned to prison.
The ‘hayfield up near Buxton’, to which Red travels keeping his promise to Andy, is a private field near to Malabar Farm. You can see the oak tree north of Pleasant Valley Road (Co Hwy 303) at Bromfield Road, a little to the east of the entrance to the farm. The majestic tree is a little reduced after being split in two by a lightning strike in 2011.
The tree is on private property, used as agricultural farmland, so please don’t trespass. The owners of the tree are negotiating the opportunity to view the oak tree up close for the Shawshank Reunion 20th Anniversary in 2014. It’s important to protect the land, the crops and the oak tree for people to enjoy in the years ahead.
Back in Ashland, not far from the bank, Revivals Thrift Store 345 Orange Street became The ‘Trailways Bus Station’, where Red boards the bus to ‘Fort Hancock, Texas’.
Andy and Red are finally reunited in ‘Mexico’, but that’s not the blue of the Pacific. It’s the Caribbean, and the beach at ‘Zihuatanejo’ is Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, a two-mile crescent of sand just south of Frederiksted on the southwestern tip of St Croix., largest of the U.S. Virgin islands, an unincorporated territory of the United States.
It is a remote and peaceful spot, but needs to be treated with respect. The beach is a hatching ground for leatherback turtles, and open only at limited times (10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays), and not at all during the breeding season.
SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION ( filming location video )
Andy and Red’s opening chat in the prison yard – in which Red is pitching a baseball – took 9 hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball for the entire 9 hours without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling.
In the scene with Andy arriving in the library as Brooks’ assistant while Brooks’ crow Jake is squawking, Tim Robbins had to time his line, "Hey, Jake. Where’s Brooks?", so that the crow wouldn’t squawk over him since the bird could not be trained to squawk on cue. Robbins was able to adapt to this and time his line perfectly by learning the bird’s squawking patterns, for which Director Frank Darabont praised him. Robbins’ improvisation is noticeable as he watches the bird carefully while approaching it, waiting for it to squawk, and doesn’t begin his line until after it does so.
Stephen King sold the film rights for his novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" for $5,000. He never cashed the check. Years after Shawshank came out, the author got the check framed and mailed it back to the director Frank Darabont with a note inscribed: "In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve."
Morgan Freeman’s favorite film of his own.
Director Frank Darabont watched Goodfellas (1990) every Sunday while shooting Shawshank and drew inspiration from it on using voice-over narration and showing the passage of time.
The mugshots of a young-looking Morgan Freeman that are attached to his parole papers are actually pictures of Morgan’s younger son, Alfonso Freeman. Alfonso also had a cameo in the movie as a con shouting "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We’re reeling ’em in!"
Although it is never directly stated in the film, allegedly Brooks is in prison for murdering his wife and daughter after a losing streak at poker.
Although a very modest hit in theaters, it became one of the highest grossing video rentals of all time.
Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen were all considered for the part of Andy Dufresne. Hanks turned it down because he was committed to Forrest Gump (1994). Costner liked the script a lot but was then embroiled in the filming of Waterworld (1995).
Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were all considered for the part of Red. In the original novella, Red is a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair. However, Frank Darabont always had Morgan Freeman in mind for the role because of his authoritative presence, demeanor and deep voice.
Tim Robbins thought of the idea of his character, Andy Dufresne, turning up the volume of the record player in the scene where he plays the Opera music over the PA.
Rob Reiner loved Frank Darabont’s script so much that he offered $2.5 million for the rights to the script so he could direct it. Darabont seriously considered Reiner’s offer but ultimately decided that it was his "chance to do something really great" by directing the movie himself. Reiner wanted Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise to play Red and Andy respectively.
The film’s initial gross of $18 million didn’t even cover the cost of its production. It did another $10 million in the wake of its Oscar nominations but the film was still deemed to be a box office flop.
After the film gained popularity, Ted Turner sold the television rights to TNT, his own network, for much lower than normal for such a big film. Because it is so inexpensive to show, the film is broadcast on TNT extremely often.
Kevin Costner turned down the role of Andy Dufresne, a decision he strongly regretted later on.
The most rented video of 1995.
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