Frank Darabont Almost Cut One Of The Mist's Greatest Moments, Until Thomas Jane Convinced Him Otherwise [Exclusive]

After 15 years, "The Mist" remains one of the most memorable horror films of all time, largely due to the infamous ending that strays away from Stephen King's original novella. In honor of the film's anniversary, /Film's Eric Vespe spent months tracking down as many members of the cast and crew of the film as possible, to present "'The Mist' At 15: An Oral History Of Frank Darabont's Gut-Wrenching Stephen King Adaptation."

As is to be expected, there's a lot of talk about the film's harrowing ending, including the fact that director Frank Darabont turned down the opportunity of doubling his budget if he were to change the ending to something a little less devastating. Luckily, Darabont stuck to his guns, and "The Mist" continues to be a film horror fans can't stop talking about after all these years. However, the budget chop from $40 million to $18 million meant that the film had to be shot as cost-effectively as possible, which was no easy task for a creature feature with interdimensional beasts of a Goliath stature.

In a moment leading up to the film's final climax, David Drayton (Thomas Jane), his son Billy (Nathan Gamble), Amanda Dunfrey (Laurie Holden), Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn), and Irene Reppler (Frances Sternhagen) escape the grocery store where they've been hiding from the monsters and decide to drive out of town as far as the tank of gas will take them. As they head down the road for a hopefully better tomorrow, their vehicle starts shaking as they witness a skyscraper-sized monster marching along. It's a devastating visual of just how lost their world has become, and as Vespe found out, it almost didn't happen.

Thomas Jane to save the day

During his interviews for the oral history of "The Mist," Eric Vespe learned from Thomas Jane that he had to convince Frank Darabont to keep the shot of the massive monster. "One of the things I remember that Frank had initially cut from the original script was when they hear the rumbling and the Jeep starts shaking and they look up and they see this enormous brontosaurus creature," he says. "It had the little birds flying around it to give you this sense of scale."

The visual, especially when experienced on a movie screen, is unexplainable. The sight of the creature is both awe-inspiring and horrific, illustrating just how small humans are in comparison. "That was the moment where it was like, 'Oh f***, this world is never coming back,'" says Jane. "This is a world of monsters and we are some of, if not the only humans left. This isn't our world anymore."

The moment was originally cut as a means to save money on the budget, with Darabont believing it was okay to go because the film had included plenty of monsters already. Jane recalls pleading with Darabont to keep it in, saying that the only way to pull off the gut-wrenching ending is to showcase the huge monster. "Thankfully, it didn't take much convincing," Jane says. Thomas Jane strived to "protect" the moment, believing that it would make the final scene the best it could possibly be. And he was right. 

"Plus it's just a f***ing awesome image," he says. "You thought those creatures in the supermarket were bad? Welcome to the real world."