A piece of the Rock

Banner sets up two-pic pact with Darabont

Frank Darabont has sealed a two-picture deal with Castle Rock Entertainment, the company that produced his first directorial effort “The Shawshank Redemption,” which he adapted from a novella by Stephen King.

The first project, “The Green Mile” — which Darabont will adapt and direct — reunites him with King and Castle Rock. “Mile,” from King’s collection of short stories “The Night Shift,” is a period prison film about an inmate who is mentally challenged and his relationship with his guards on Death Row.

‘Ryan’ rewrite

However, before Darabont starts on “Mile,” he will do a rewrite for Steven Spielberg on Paramount Pictures’ “Saving Private Ryan,” which stars Tom Hanks. Darabont will also direct an episode for Hanks and Imagine Entertainment’s “From the Earth to the Moon” for Home Box Office in July or August. The episode, “The Fire,” written by Graham Yost, follows the 1967 death of three astronauts who were training for the first moon mission.

The second project in the Castle Rock deal that Darabont will direct is “The Bijou,” a Capra-esque romantic comedy set against the blacklist of the 1950s. He said the script, written by newcomer Michael Sloane, is “the first script I’ve found that I really like that I would like to direct.”

Time-travel tale

“I have enormous loyalty to Castle Rock, so I’m deliriously happy to have a two-picture deal with these guys. I’m dancing on a rainbow,” he said.

Darabont is adapting the thriller “Mine” from a novel by Robert McCammon. He also just set up his time-travel detective story “Stitch in Time” with producer Joel Silver at Warner Bros. The project had previously been set up at TriStar Pictures.

Robert Stein of the William Morris Agency brokered the Castle Rock deal on behalf of Darabont. King’s deal was negotiated by CAA’s Rand Holston.

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