The Shawshank Redemption
Production In Mansfield OhioDarabont secured the film adaptation rights from author Stephen King after impressing the author with his short film adaptation of The Woman in the Room in 1983. Although the two had become friends and maintained a pen-pal relationship, Darabont did not work with him until four years later in 1987, when he optioned to adapt Shawshank. This is one of the more famous Dollar Deals made by King with aspiring filmmakers. Darabont later directed The Green Mile (1999), which was based on another work about a prison by Stephen King, and then followed that up with an adaptation of King's novella The Mist.
Rob Reiner, who had previously adapted another King novella, The Body, into the movie Stand by Me (1986), offered $2.5 million in an attempt to write and direct Shawshank. He planned to cast Tom Cruise in the part of Andy and Harrison Ford as Red. Darabont seriously considered and liked Reiner's vision, but he ultimately decided it was his "chance to do something really great" by directing the film himself.
Though the movie is set in Maine, the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, served as the fictional Shawshank Prison. Though a large portion of the prison was torn down after filming, the main administration building and two cell blocks remained; the site would be revisited later for filming parts of the film Air Force One. Several of the interior shots of the specialized prison facilities, such as the admittance rooms and the warden's office, were shot in the reformatory. The interior of the boarding room used by Brooks and Red was located in the administration building, though exterior shots were made elsewhere. The prison site remains a tourist attraction as of 2011. Internal scenes in the prison cellblocks were actually filmed on a soundstage built inside the nearby shuttered Westinghouse factory. Downtown scenes were also filmed in Mansfield, as well as neighboring Ashland, Ohio. The oak tree under which Andy buries his letter to Red is located at , near Malabar Farm State Park, in Lucas, Ohio. The tree was heavily damaged by straight-line winds in a thunderstorm on July 29, 2011; officials are unsure if the tree will survive.