The Walking Dead vs Darabont: Details emerge in AMC lawsuit

Frank Darabont and Jon Bernthal, The Walking Dead - AMC
Frank Darabont and Jon Bernthal, The Walking Dead - AMC /

Details in the lawsuit between AMC and Frank Darabont regarding the hit zombie survival drama The Walking Dead have emerged and paint an ugly picture of AMC.

For a long time, fans were left wondering what happened between Frank Darabont and AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead. The two seemed like a marriage made in heaven to those on the outside of the situation and then it was shockingly announced that he had been relieved of his duties in the middle of season two.

Thanks to recently released information on The Hollywood Reporter and Yahoo’s websites, there is now a lot more information available as to what caused the rift between the two parties and why the divorce is something that both sides have very strong feelings regarding the details leading up to the event.

According to Darabont’s deposition in the lawsuit, it all started when budget cuts were made to the episodes. Based on the success of the show, he felt that The Walking Dead shouldn’t have cut the funding, citing the show’s ratings and popularity worldwide. In addition to the cut, AMC stated that they would be keeping the tax credit for the show and not distributing it through the organization, making the amount of money even less than before.

While money is a big deal, respect is another. Darabont, along with the cast and crew, spend numerous hours a day in the sweltering heat of Georgia filming the hit show, and when AMC executives showed up, he claimed they seemed less concerned about the product being made and more concerned with being comfortable.

"“When they did rarely show up on the [Georgia-based] set, [they] would … drive in from the airport in their air-conditioned car, race into the air-conditioned tent we had there so the actors could have a break and not pass out from the heat, poke their heads out on occasion, and half an hour later jump back in their car and fly back to their air-conditioned office in New York. I had a tremendous lack of respect for them.”"

Addy Miller and Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead - AMC
Addy Miller and Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead – AMC /

Darabont felt that the executives should “put on some combat boots” and see what it was like actually filming the show, adding that they would be “picking ticks off their groin and their ankles at night.”

Aside from that, there were allegedly meetings that Darabont set up with the brass at AMC which made him feel a little better about the situation. He knew the shows he was putting together weren’t up to his standards, so he went to get approval for additional filming and editing. He claims those were granted, but later the vice president of scripted programming denied the conversation ever took place.

When the hammer came down on him, the reasoning blew his mind. Darabont stated in his deposition that he felt the reasons given were fabricated just to get him out the door.

"“They accused me of not having directors tone meetings,” he said, referring to the way in which a showrunner is supposed to sit down with each director of each episode to go over the script — scene by scene — and convey the tone of the show. “And I said, ‘That’s absolutely not true, I have had a directors tone meeting with every single director this season.’ “"

Since he was released during the filming of season 2, AMC didn’t give Darabont the full 10% of profits from the series that he was set to earn. Instead, they gave him 7.5%, a major difference considering the juggernaut that The Walking Dead has become.

Of course, as with every legal situation, there are multiple sides to every story. It is sad that The Walking Dead has forced Darabont and AMC into the legal realm, but hopefully they can settle things in a way that ends up with everyone happy.

Sadly, that’s not usually the case when millions of dollars are on the line.