Frank Darabont Discusses ‘The Walking Dead’ Exit & New Series ‘L.A. Noir’

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Frank Darabont L.A. Noir TNT1 Frank Darabont Discusses The Walking Dead Exit & New Series L.A. Noir

Since announcing a return to television with the upcoming TNT series L.A. Noir, it was inevitable that Frank Darabont would address his highly publicized departure from The Walking Dead, and he did so in a recent interview with TV Guide.

Naturally, due to the success The Walking Dead had enjoyed up to that point, and because Darabont is a well-known talent, the unexpected exit of the show’s lead creative voice became the subject of great speculation last summer. The reason for Darabont’s leaving was eventually blamed on budget constraints issued by AMC after The Walking Dead’s first season.

Through it all, Darabont remained silent. However, with the first Darabont-less Walking Dead episodes airing when season 2 resumes in February, now is probably as good a time as any for the filmmaker to put the issue to rest.

According to Darabont, the show’s dwindling budget was certainly the impetus for his parting with AMC – though he acknowledges the rift runs deeper.

“…I was really given no choice. I don’t understand the thinking behind, ‘Oh, this is the most successful show in the history of basic cable. Let’s gut the budgets now.’ I never did understand that and I think they got tired of hearing me complain about it. It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s as far as I want to go with it because otherwise it’s just provoking more controversy and that’s not really of interest to me. I just want to keep my head down and do my job and be allowed to do my job, that’s key, and continue to, hopefully, enjoy it and do good work.”

When discussing how the cast took the news, Darabont admits it was hard for everyone, but still manages a sly nod toward the next genre he’ll be undertaking.

“These people are like family to me. It has not been easy for anybody. Let me put it that way: It was like a death in the family. Only I was the dead guy. I felt like William Holden, face down in the swimming pool, narrating this thing.”

Ryan Gosling The Gangster Squad Frank Darabont Discusses The Walking Dead Exit & New Series L.A. Noir

Ryan Gosling in 'The Gangster Squad'

Of course in mentioning Billy Wilder’s 1950 classic, Sunset Blvd., Darabont clearly has his mind on TNT’s new period drama L.A. Noir – for which he provided some tantalizing details on the upcoming pilot.

“Certainly Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel and William Parker will be vital components of that. But where exactly the mix lands, that’s work yet to be done. Joe Teague is the lead of the pilot, he will be a good way to step into this world. And what’s a good noir without a great noir dame? I definitely have in mind a very, very nice, complicated girlfriend for Joe. It’s not quite a meet-cute scenario but they’re definitely going to have some heat to it I think.

The pilot takes place in 1947, this is that massive post-war boom where the soldiers came back and they settled here because they weren’t going to go back to the farm or Detroit. A little bit of Joe Teague is based on a gentleman that died back in 1992 but he was the father of a best friend of mine. He fought in the Pacific and was originally dirt poor from the slums of Detroit and he went off to war and when he came back, he settled in Los Angeles like so many others did. That’s kind of an interesting world because the whole city is being reinvented. The Valley is being uprooted and turned into housing. There was so much that was happening at the time.”

Undoubtedly, it was a surprise to find out Darabont’s initial post-Walking Dead gig would be a return to the medium speculated by many as a poor fit for the director’s sensibilities, but the director sets the record straight on that topic as well.

“I love the medium. I love that I finished the script on New Year’s Eve and we’re already greenlit and planning to shoot in April. I love the pace, I love the momentum of it. I love you can get in there and not second-guess everything to death. For the guy that directed The Green Mile, by comparison that was a generous schedule. In recent times I’ve really gotten to like the brisker pace. I really have.”

It certainly sounds as though Darabont has put The Walking Dead behind him and is ready to tackle his newest series. And with Gangster Squad, starring Ryan Gosling, in theaters this fall, Darabont may have picked the perfect time to launch L.A. Noir.


With production on L.A. Noir starting soon, Screen Rant will be sure to update with any breaking news. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead continues its second season starting February 12 on AMC.

Source: TV Guide

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  1. L.A. Noir is shaping up as a must see
    and Darabont is the reason why.

    Frank said just enough if what had
    to be said regarding The Walking Dead.
    He was right and fought for what was right
    and went down swinging like real champions do.

  2. Its hard to say the show wont suffer greatly without him, but I really hope they stay true to the standards Frank set.

    I’m really excited for L.A. NOIR. Bring the awesome Frank!

  3. Dammit… Make More Movies!

  4. Frank is gold. I can’t wait for new stuff from him, although I have doubts on TNT. The only good thing I’ve seen from them is the NBA.

  5. The first half of this season of the Walking Dead definitely did not meet a lot of expectations. I thought that last season was simply phenomenal in every meaning of the word, but I am really disappointed with the second season thus far and really don’t see my outlook on the season improving.

    I would compare this season 2 to the season 2 of Heroes. While season of heroes was a masterpiece (imo), the second season, no matter how much you wanted to love it ultimately fell short. I completely feel the same way about this season of the Walking Dead. While the season has had its moments, overall it was a let down.

    I would say that at this point the show needs to revamp itself and perhaps try to find a way to fill Frank Darabont’s shoes (maybe try and get him back?). When this show went on its winter break I totally forgot about it, never even thought when is Walking dead coming back on I want to see what happens. This article is probably the first time I have thought of the show since then…

    • I think pretty much everyone would agree that the first season was better so far – that’s pretty difficult to argue. However, if you have read the comic books you will realize that the show is about to take a crazy turn.

      I would say just give the second half of the season a fair shot – I would bet my life savings on the fact that it is going to deliver.

    • its hard to live up to what you call a masterpeice…. if standerds are said to high then you will be dissapointed. I loved all the episodes of walking dead tho I agree with which ones were better and I agree with ur statement on heroes but I don’t find either seasons far better

  6. I hope everyone knows that the first half of the second season was planned out by Darabount btw, so he did have partin the sucking of it…and the budget cut wasn’t even that much soo most likely we might see a reboot when the show returns 2/12

  7. Is L.A. Noir based on the game?

    • Was wondering the same thing… Well, almost the same thing. I doubt it is directly based on the game, but I wonder how big of a role the game played in jump-starting the idea for this tv show.

  8. im excited for michonne to make her debut in the show

    • You probably aren’t going to see her until season 3 at the earliest.

  9. ‘The Walking Dead’ (Season 1) was phenomenal. ‘The Walkng Dead’ (Season 2} maintains some spirited performances, however it was clear to me thatt the writing wasn’t flowing as it had previously with character and plot developemnt – the most exciting part being Shane’s car horn beeping at a certain point!

    The last four episodes are true ‘rippers’ : the pace;pure excellence of fear with SURPRISE Zombie appearances; and brilliant zombie makeup add to the ensemble acting cast. I am pleased to see Shane now defunct: one can only take sociopathic eyes and lies for so long! Laurie (Lori?) is set to be the best b**** of the show and both Carol and Darryl look to becoming stronger characters (fingers x’d). We all look forward to Season 3; this is quite an additctive hour of teev…

  10. I am Frik van Niekerk from Pretoria South Africa .Just want to thank the developers of this awesome TV series. I started to watch the first episodes a week ago for the first time and wow, what a surprise I got with the opening season. I couldn’t stop watching because every 40 mint session was n surprise. I stayed up till 2 in the morning but just finished the last bonus cd on the third season. The reason is that in South Africa we normally 9 months behind the USA in TV series so I can’t wait for season four and five.

    What surprised me the most is the way the developers and all involved just broke away from the boring Hollywood stereotyping ,when it comes to these kind of series. Let me explain myself. I love the WALKING DEAD movies, but Hollywood made movie after movie on this and it became boarding and predictable.

    It always opens with one or two lead actors (that you know is not going to die.)there is this scenes of all is well and ok ,then something happens and it all goes wrong and then senseless scenes of killing ,walkers roaming and lead actors end up in 100 near death situations. Eventually someone gets hold of a big bomb and destroys the layer an then it’s all back to normal, boring. But not with Frank Darabont ,no .I always thought if I could make a series like this I would do it exactly as they did. To sum it all up, I always wanted to know what will or could happen beyond the walking dead .

    What if the world stays like this for 10 years, how would individuals react and will they seek for a cure or will they fight for survival and kill the living also. This was a true awesome pleasure to watch .I would give anything just to be on the set for a day .Also the walking dead is actually not about the dead but about the living and there coping mechanisms that is awesome.

    The attention to detail the long lays afternoons with intense delouse ,the times of silence with no forced action and drama is just awesome. Nothing is rushed and fast tracked in the series ,if they need to talk they talk and if they need to listen the listen. The set and actors made me feel if I am part of the movie. I almost wished if I wake up the streets of Pretoria would have changed into the walking dead. I also like the idea of a lot of new actors almost every scene. The trust and hate between actors ,its feels real and if it’s a documentary of what is actually happening.

    I personally like the long late afternoon scenes where the camorras will pan out and you can see and feel the total desperate situation without the need for intense action minute by minute. I don’t think I would enjoy any normal movie again where one actor is the hero and the emphasis is placed on action ,killing ,and more action every minute. I like the silence in some scenes . Don’t know how to say this but the whole series is not rushed to reach some kind of conclusion ,u guys take time to really go through the seemingly Mandan tasks .That is what is making this real.(like if they need petrol for a car ,they take time to actually show someone take a jerry can ,opening the cap and extracting the gas ,I like that attention to small detail. You don’t find it in normal boring Hollywood movies) Well, that’s it I am so glad a friend gave me the set and please continue to create this kind of film ,TV series it’s just pure awesome movie like entertainment. And can you believe it I am actually a Pastor heading a local church. Maybe the developers can bring in a priest , like the one in the movie called Machinegun Priest, that would be interesting. Frik from Pretoria South Africa

  11. Season 3 is so much better than Season 2, and especially the first half of season 2 (for now the worst of the series, for me), that I have to admit the leave of Darabont did not hurt Walking Dead in the slightest in terms of quality. It looks even to be the contrary.

    Kudos to the team and Kirkman for what they did.

    I understand Darabont made the series go to the top, but season 2 really was going to be hard and not enjoyable to watch; with his leave, it seems that the show also found a new birth.