As much drama as there is on “The Walking Dead,” it’s nothing compared to what happened behind the scenes in the early years of the show.
“Walking Dead” showrunner (and Oscar-nominated director) Frank Darabont was fired from the show in 2011. It was a messy breakup. In 2013, the former showrunner compared his former bosses at AMC to “sociopaths,” and he and his agents at Creative Artists Agency sued the network for supposedly denying them millions in profits. AMC, meanwhile, claims that Darabont was fired for failing to do his job, mishandling the series budget, and turning in scripts late.
On Thursday, both AMC and Darabont reportedly filed motions for summary judgment in New York Supreme Court. In support of a dismissal, AMC filed explicit emails Darabont sent to those involved with the show, and they’re intense.
In a 2011 email to “Walking Dead” producer Gale Anne Hurd, Darabont wrote, “Everybody, especially our directors, better wake the fuck up and pay attention. Or I will start killing people and throwing bodies out the door.”
He goes on:
Fuck you all for giving me chest pains because of the staggering fucking incompetence, blindness to the important beats, and the beyond-arrogant lack of regard for what is written being exhibited on set every day. I deserve better than a heart attack because people are too stupid to read a script and understand the words. Does anybody disagree with me? Then join the C-cam operator and go find another job that doesn’t involve deliberately fucking up my show scene by scene.
Emails to others include statements such as, “YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE MOTHERFUCKING SCRIPT!” and, “If it were up to me, I’d have not only fired Chic Egles and Jack LoGuidice when they handed me the worst episode 3 script imaginable, I’d have hunted them down and fucking killed them with a brick, then gone and burned down their homes.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Darabont responded to AMC’s filing in an affidavit, saying the emails must be considered in context and that they were sent during an “intense and stressful two-year period of work” when he was “fighting like a mother lion” to protect the show on behalf of AMC, adding:
My tone was the result of the stress and magnitude of this extraordinary crisis. The language and hyperbole of my emails were harsh, but so were the circumstances. As for the enormous problems they describe, I stand by these emails to the last detail.