The enduring appeal of the 1994 Frank Darabont film, based on a Stephen King short story, seems to suggest many audience members would agree with Robbins. But the film, which chronicles the wrongful imprisonment of Andy Dufresne (Robbins), his bonding with fellow prisoners, including “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and his eventual escape, didn’t come without its share of hazards for Robbins.
The iconic scene where he crawls through the sewer pipe and escapes into a nearby river/run-off was full of perils for the actor. The pipe itself was fine, though Robbins tells PeopleTV, while sitting down for Couch Surfing, that the actual escape would never be plausible. “It’s supposed to be feces, which by the way, you wouldn’t be able to survive this because the methane would kill you,” he explains. “No, what this was, was what they call Fuller’s Earth, which is if you’re doing a film, if you’ve got dirt, they have clean dirt. Dirt that’s not dirty dirt. I don’t know what the difference is.”
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But the “most dangerous part” wasn’t the excrement-soaked crawl through a sewer pipe — it was actually the most redemptive aspect of the scene, where Andy escapes into a river in the midst of a rainstorm. “This was farm run-off, so that water had all kinds of toxins in it,” Robbins reveals of the body of water he splashes into.
Still, he says it was worth it. “I love this film because it really earns this moment,” he notes. “It gets there through a long journey of patience and faith and hope. I think that’s why it’s lasted for as long as it has.”
Watch the clip above for more.