Posted: September 14, 2000
Lilja: First, let me take this opportunity to thank you for letting me read your book, WALKING THE MILE - THE MAKING OF "THE GREEN MILE", and doing this interview. I really enjoyed the book. It's well written and a great read!
Tyson Blue: Well, thank you; it's great to hear that kind of reaction after two long years of writing and rewriting!
Lilja: Please tell me a bit about yourself. How did you end up writing this book?
Tyson Blue: I was asked to do it by Frank Darabont, who remembered reading my work in the old CASTLE ROCK newsletter back when we were both much younger. His memory was jogged when I contacted him about visiting the set while they were on location, and he ended up asking me to cover the whole picture.
Lilja: Tell me a bit about this book. When will it be released and by what publisher?
Tyson Blue: I wish I knew! I thought this would be a no-brainer -- the first making-of book about a King film. But a lot of these books have tanked, and publishers are leery. There has been some interest in doing a limited edition from CD Publishing, and I'm toying with the notion of doing it electronically, but all that's a ways off yet.
Lilja: It's not the first time you write about King, right? Tell me a little about the other stuff you have been written about King.
Tyson Blue: I have written two books about King and his work, THE UNSEEN KING, now sadly out of print, and OBSERVATIONS FROM THE TERMINATOR, which has managed to put two small presses out of business without quite being published. Dave Hinchberger has expressed some interest in that book, so it may yet see the light of day.
I've also written hundreds and hundreds of articles, essays, interviews and reviews about King and his work, which has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world, including Twilight Zone, Midnight Graffiti, Cemetery Dance, Footsteps, and others. Abroad, I've appeared in Canada in Fenetre Secrete sur Stephen King, in Italy in Cleaver, in Germany in Horror-News, and the French magazines Steve's Rag and Tenebres. I've contributed to all of Steve Spignesi's King books, and have, as he points out, written more about King and his work than anyone else on the planet.
Lilja: Have you ever met King in person?
Tyson Blue: Yes, four times. It's been an enjoyable experience. He's hard to get to, but if you ever get the chance, I think you'll find him very approachable and easy to talk with.
Lilja: Frank Darabont, who directed THE GREEN MILE, have done two other movies based on King's work, THE WOMAN IN THE ROOM and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. All three movies have been nominated for Oscars but none of them have won any. Do you have any theory to why that is? They seams to have been big hits with the public…
Tyson Blue: I think it's been a combination of bad breaks. A lot of the Oscar voting is influenced by huge publicity campaigns involving tons of money, and lesser films have unfortunately had more push behind them. But if you look at the status of those films on the IMDB, it speaks pretty eloquently. I mean, is there ANYONE out there who thinks that a piece of crap like "American Beauty" is really better than "The Green Mile"?
Lilja: In the book you talk about some documentary filming done by Constantine Nasr. What happened to all that? Was it cut down to the documentary that is on the DVD version of the movie or will there be a longer documentary about it?
Tyson Blue: Yes and Yes. Yes, the 130 hours of video that Constantine shot was pared down to the documentary on the DVD; also, yes, I understand that a longer version will be included on the VHS release when it appears priced to own later this year.
Lilja: Speaking of movies in movies, will WILD BILL GOES TO HOLLYWOOD [read the review to know what this is] ever be shown to the public?
Tyson Blue: I lobbied very hard for it to be put on the DVD, but Frank thought it was too much of an in-joke. But I'll keep hoping; hope, as they say, is a good thing.....
Lilja: After having the opportunity to follow the making of this movie, did it turned out as you though it would when you attended the recording?
Tyson Blue: It was everything i hoped for and more. I thought it was by far the best translation of a King novel to the screen, and that the changes Frank made were for the better. There were a couple of scenes and shots I wish had stayed in, but the overall result is so fine, I just can't argue much with it.
Lilja: I know you tell us about a favorite moment of your visit on the set in the book (no I won't reveal it here). Is there any other moment you feel like sharing, one that isn't in the book?
Tyson Blue: Yeah. I didn't put it in the book, but I got to be one of the mourners at Elaine Connelly's funeral near the end of the film; I'm seated to the right of the coffin, next to a woman in black, in the shot of the graveside service. Constantine is the man in the black suit standing at the front end of that row, by the way. I'm easy to spot; no one else moved in the shot.
Lilja: What's next for you? Any new books in the making?
Tyson Blue: For now, it's back to my regular job as an attorney; I recently re-entered private practice, and that takes a lot of time. I'm also working on starting up "And I In Dreams Behold", a suspense novel I put aside two years ago when "The Green Mile" came along. I also looking to place OBSERVATIONS FROM THE TERMINATOR, and have been asked to do an essay for Steve Spignesi's new King book. I'm definitely open to doing more work with Frank Darabont, if possible, but that's a ways off yet. And I'll keep writing my regular King news columns and anything else that comes along. There's always something.
Here you can read a review of Tyson's book, WALKING THE MILE - THE MAKING OF "THE GREEN MILE"