Green Mile – Love of Life, Strength and Energy of Nature
Performance Arts Information on Stephen King’s film “The Green Mile”
The acting in this remarkably cohesive film, The Green Mile, was tremendous and uniform. Not a bad performance in
In particular, I recall the scene with the wife of the warden. What tension was in the room! What a wonderful
performance by the wife, coming out of her cancerous delusion and obviously driven, despite her physical weakness,
to touch the man who had reached her in the depths of her darkness.
She moved with the etheric grace of an angel
and that choice she made to rather “float” toward John, coupled with the infinite gentleness of her caress
(which went way beyond the prejudice of that day and time, with regard to the color of a man’s skin) touched me
deeply. I was acutely aware that this was probably the only time in John Coffe’s life that he had been touched
in love. Tremendous choices by a fine actress. That actress was, of course, Patricia Clarkson. I had the privilege
of meeting Patricia at a screening I attended of, The Station Agent and found her to be genuine and unassuming,
despite her success in the industry.
And I have to say that the beginning scene, when John is first brought to the prison was a masterpiece of tightly
woven humor and fear. The way David Morris sort of fixated on John’s massive biceps at one point, the incredulous
look that came over Tom Hank’s face when John said he was afraid of the dark, many other subtle moments when the
audience was allowed nervous release of tension but could never quite freely laugh. Finely held tension throughout
the scene which set the pace of the film for me.
And who could ever forget Michael Jeter? I did not even know it was Michael until well into the film, which is the
result of phenomenal character development. Michael, until that moment, was etched in my mind as a comedic actor
due to his wonderful work on the now defunct Burt Reynold’s series “Evening Shade.” (I can see him now,
standing with stomach pooched out and pants pulled up around his chest, almost – what a great character.) and his
various film roles. What a transformation and what a remarkably vulnerable portrayal of a man facing death. I recall
the way he jumped when Percy scared him, and stumbled backwards falling down. I recall the naked look of fear in
his eyes when Percy discovered the mouse, his pal and friend. And of course, the horrid, horrid execution scene.
Bravo, Michael, Bravo!
Sam Rockwell gave what I feel was an award-winning performance too as the pure evil Billy the Kid. I recall the
scene after Billy wakes up from being drugged. Sam’s voice was raw and gravely. His head was slow to move. He captured
the reality of a major hangover in such a way that I had a history in my own mind of him having laid there, knocked
out, while the prison guards took John to the house of the warden. Somehow, Sam tapped into pure evil when he did
the scene with Percy where he grabbed him and was making sexually explicit remarks. I believed Billy would do the
vile things he was suggesting. I believed Billy had done those things and worse, he had completely reveled in the
the doing of them. Remarkable work, Sam.
And Percy. Tremendous. The way he never quite could get to pure evil but never quite could trust to go the other
way. A tortured soul. I recall the sensitive trembling of the lips and the forced laugh of someone who knows the
others will never accept him, and the glint in his eye whenever he was planning something. An impeccable, flawless
characterization by Doug Hutchison.
The other guards, the warden, and the other prisoners all developed strong personalities and avoided cliche performance
which wasn’t easy in a prison movie. David Morse (Brutus) managed to keep a boyish amusement within those sterile,
lifeless walls. I recall the impish grin that seemed so out of place yet so much a part of his character that it
lived even there. And the youngest guard who cried when Michael’s character died. Subtle, almost out of control but
remembering his position.
And of course, Tom Hanks and the big guy, Michael Clark Duncan. Wow. I wailed loudly (those with me were embarrassed
at the theatre, I’m sure) when John took Tom’s character by the hand near the end of the film and shared with him
what John Coffey’s life was like. I remember Tom making the choice to almost faint. I could see him buckling with
the psychic impact of what he was suddenly feeling. I saw him decide to stop it, resist it, unwilling to see the
unthinkable and unable to stop seeing and feeling. That scene seemed to go on for hours to me. Painful, raw, real.
As an empathic healer, I have had similar experiences. I, too, have buckled beneath the horrible reality of someone
else’s suffering. I know exactly what that feels like and Tom captured it perfectly.
Michael Clark Duncan could have made far more dramatic choices, aiming to be “a star” but it would have
ruined the film. The simplicity of his speech, in fact the very simplicity of his movements, feelings and reactions
as well, engendered such empathy in me for this gentle giant. Bravo, Michael, for resisting the melodramatic. John
Coffey didn’t need that to be effective.
The film has some graphic violence and I rarely endorse that sort of thing but it would not be possible for this
film to be representative equally of our light and dark natures as humanity and leave that aspect out of the equation.
I understand not everyone can witness that much of the dark side of our culture. Seek discernment as to whether it’s
message is one you should receive.
Frank Darabont, the director, did a masterful job of shepherding this fine group of actors in creating a believable
film of power and impact. Kudos to the director, cast and crew.
The Green Mile as experienced by an empathic laying-on-of-hands healer. As an empathic healer, I cannot begin to
tell you how much it affected me. If you are empathic, and wondered if anybody else knew how overwhelming the knowing
can get (especially if you have no one to help you understand or balance the gift which is the reality for many healers
when they first wake up to their service) please see this movie. If you know about “Oneness” and believe
we are moving toward that as a planetary family, then you know the importance of understanding the dark nature of
our human experience.
Mitakuye Oyasin is a Lakota prayer that means “All My Relations” or “We
are all related.” This phenomenal movie illustrates Mitakuye Oyasin so well. It is full of levels upon levels
of awareness about dark, light, fear, love, life, death, good, evil, joy, pain, force, counterforce, prejudice, stereotyping,
expectation, ego conflict and more. Isn’t it so easy to love the loving. Isn’t it so challenging to keep loving the
cruel and vicious.
The Green Mile reminded me in one brief scene to feel the earth and smell the soil; to look at the night sky in
renewed wonder, and to remember that it is all about love. Remember John’s wonder at the night sky and the gentle
giant bending down to grasp a handful of dirt. Remember him extending that fresh odor of grass and soil to his prison
keepers with the innocent zeal of a child?
The Green Mile reminded me to extend that love of life, strengthened by the beauty and energy of nature, to the
darkest and those who seem consumed by anger, rage, or cruelty. It reminded me to hold my gaze upward into the starry
night and to breathe.
It reminded me, also, that when we shift into negativity, our energy is as strong for destruction as it would have
been for healing. When John made the choice to spew the cancerous energy into Percy, he was fighting hate with hate.
There wasn’t a soul in the theatre who didn’t understand the impulse but the result was destruction and not healing.
I think this is the true meaning of the bible verse that asks us not to that we return “evil” with evil,
but to respond always from love. I came away from The Green Mile knowing that we are to love. We are to keep loving,
even in the very face of hate and cruelty. This I will do. If it reminded me to do that more, then it is a good thing.
by Stephen King
A Memoir and Behind-the-Scenes Tour – the Making of a Stephen King Novel. Back in the year of 1999, author
Stephen King began to writing about his life and his craft. But about midyear a serious accident that was widely
reported jeopardized his life and career. During his recovery time, the months revealed the deep connection between
writing and living.
Rarely will you read a book on writing thats so very useful, clear, and revealing. On Writing begins
with a mesmerizing reflection of King’s childhood and his uncannily ability to focus his thoughts around writing
and storytelling. Reading this book give you opportunity to share in a series of vivid memories that spanned from
adolescence, college, and into the struggling years that led up to his King’s first novel. Those who remember Carrie,
and those who don’t will still enjoy this fresh and often very funny perspective on the formation
of a writer.