Frank Darabont didn't mince words in a deposition conducted as part of his ongoing litigation against AMC. The former showrunner of the network's massively popular comic book adaptation "The Walking Dead" said he had a "tremendous lack of respect" for AMC executives, in testimony reported by THR.
"When they did rarely show up on the [Georgia-based set of 'The Walking Dead]', [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," Darabont said. "I had a tremendous lack of respect for them."
Darabont also stated that, in a key allegation in his case against the network, budget issues lingered despite the show's major success in its first season, with the former showrunner relaying that he was told by AMC president Joel Stillerman "the success of the show has no bearing" on a disputed budget issue.
The Hollywood Reporter reached AMC for a response to Darabont's comments, with the network stating: "Frank Darabont has made it clear that he has strong opinions about AMC and the events that led to his departure from 'The Walking Dead.' The reality is that he has been paid millions of dollars under the terms of his contract, which we honored, and we will continue to vigorously defend against this lawsuit."
Glen Mazzara, who took over showrunner duties from Darabont and left after the show's third season, said in his testimony that a "personal rift" between Darabont and "Walking Dead" comic book creator Robert Kirkman and Darabont and AMC helped lead to the split.
"When the material for the finale came in and Frank said I need some time to figure out a plan of how to pursue this and what we're going to re-shoot and what it will take to do this, AMC was unwilling to give him that time to solve the issue," Mazzara said in his deposition.
The dispute between Darabont and AMC dates back to December 2013, when Darabont and CAA first filed suit against the network for wrongful termination and alleged profits owed to the writer/director/producer, who was fired from the massively successful show after its first season.
"The Walking Dead," based on the Image Comics series created by Kirkman and illustrated originally by Tony Moore and currently by Charlie Adlard, debuted on Halloween 2010 as an instant ratings hit. Darabont served as showrunner of the first season and developed the comic for television, before being fired in July 2011. The show has steadily grown in popularity, spawning a vast multimedia franchise.