It turns out that Stephen King never cashed in the royalty check for selling the movie rights for the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption which was adapted into cult drama The Shawshank Redemption by Frank Darabont in 1994. This was revealed by Darabont in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal.
According to WSJ’s piece, several years after the movie was released, King framed the $5,000 royalty check he received in 1987 and sent it to Darabont with an interesting accompanying message: “In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve.”
The novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption was featured in Stephen King’s 1982 collection Different Seasons and was based, according to the author, on the Leo Tolstoy short story God Sees the Truth, But Waits. Frank Darabont took the elements of the story and expanded them, writing a script in 1992. He also assumed the director’s role and the movie, simply titled The Shawshank Redemption, was released two years later.
The movie initially received positive reviews from the critics but failed to have significant commercial success. It was also nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1995 but failed to win a single award.
Years after its release, however, The Shawshank Redemption gained cult status and is now considered as one of the greatest films of all times. It is one of the highest rated movies on IMDb, with 9.3 out of 10 score, while holding a 91 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.