David Drayton, Dew Struzan and The Mist

In the film adaptation of The Mist,Thomas Jane plays David Drayton.  But there's a story behind the character.  Frank Darabont gave some added texture to the story by making Drayton an artist.  But not any artist!  He's Drew Struzan.

Drew who?  You might not recognize the name Drew Struzan, but you'd recognize his art.  He drew the posters for Blade Runner, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, ET, Harry Potter, The Walking Dead -- and something like 150 movie posters.  Sometimes his poster was better than the movie!

You  might recognize his work from a few Stephen King movies including The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.

The Shawshank Redemption
Frank Darabont says about Struzan's work on the Shawshank Redemption that he is very collaborative.  "When we did the Shawshank art, there was definitely some conversation with him about what the elements should be," Darabont said.  "He took images that had been becoming iconic during the decade since (the book) had been released."

Now how does that connect to The Mist and David Drayton?

This is from the May 22, 2008 edition of the Los Angeles Times:
Frank Darabont is such a fan, he not only has tapped Struzan for pieces for "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile," he has also made him a basis for Thomas Jane's lead character in last year's "The Mist." (Several of Struzan's originals were featured on-screen as set dressing.) 
Struzan's website says, "The Mist: The movie begins with David Drayton, the main character, hand painting a movie poster for an upcoming film. He is a poster artist. A collection of his other original works, including posters from The Thing, Shawshank Redemption, Pan's Labyrinth, Green Mile and other paintings actually by drew can be seen in his studio. He is painting a picture known immediately to Stephen King fans to be for his The Dark Tower. This is the original painting created for the film."

Dark Tower, The (The Mist)
Medium: Acrylic paints and colored pencils on gessoed board

A documentary about Struzan appeared at ComicCon.  The documentary includes interviews with Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas, Guillermo del Toro, Leonard Maltin and many others.  It is currently on Netflix.

Frank Darabont decorated the set of The Mist with artwork from Struzan's studio.  Further, Struzman gave Thomas Jane tips on how to actually look like a painter so he could, "look authentic" in the film.  "I portrayed Drew," Jane said.  "He wouldn't let me leave until I got it just perfect," Jane commented.  "At the premier of the film, Drew said, 'No, no that wasn't right."  He did everything wrong, Struzman said!  Jane notes that he has  nailed all kinds of difficult roles, but he couldn't play Drew Struzman for thrity seconds.


  1. Man, it's so good to have the entire explanation for why David Drayton is painting Roland at the beginning of the movie version of The Mist!

    When I saw the movie, I immediately recognized the Roland painting (of course) but I thought it was a secret nod or indication if you will, that it would be *Thomas Jane playing Roland in the movie version*, and that furthermore--it would be directed by Frank Darabont.

    Ever since seeing The Mist, I've always championed Thomas Jane as being a good choice to play Roland.

    Great to know about Struzan -- I will track down and watch his Netflix documentary asap.

    P.S. Another great Netflix documentary (not Stephen King related) is MILIUS. You gotta see it...of course he's the powerhouse which directed the original CONAN THE BARBARIAN movie, but he's done a ton of other stuff (such as wrote the screenplay for APOCALYPSE NOW, etc) and the docu MILIUS even explains what happened to him, and where he's at now. Def a must see.

  2. I'm totally with you, Shaun. I did not realize the connection until watching the documentary on Struzan.