There were rumblings this past summer about Warner Bros. recruiting Harry Potter franchise alumni director David Yates and screenwriter Steven Kloves to work on The Stand: a feature-length adaptation of Stephen King’s acclaimed apocalyptic (and thickset) novel, which was previously the basis for an Emmy award-winning 1994 TV mini-series.
It would seem that a deal failed to materialize between the filmmaking pair and studio heads – seeing how the latest report on The Stand indicates that Warner Bros. has someone else entirely in mind for the project.
Deadline says that Warner Bros. “has chosen” Ben Affleck to both write and direct The Stand. Whether the Oscar-winning actor/writer/director – who is currently filming his true-story CIA thriller, Argo – is genuinely interested in tackling the (admittedly) formidable literary adaptation has yet to be revealed.
Affleck earned numerous accolades for his previous co-writing/directorial efforts, Gone Baby Gone and The Town (the latter was also produced by Warner Bros.). Both of those character-oriented crime dramas were effective film adaptations of their respective dark and gritty source material. So, in that sense, Affleck does seem like a worthy candidate to try and handle King’s grim tale – which features a clever mix of action, sci-fi, and fantasy genre elements.
Back when Yates was being mentioned as a possible Stand helmer, it was indicated that Warner Bros. had plans to transform King’s original text into a movie trilogy – a fitting choice from both a financial and artistic perspective, seeing how the actual novel is likewise divided into three sections. Whether that remains the plan is not yet clear.
It also ought to be mentioned that The Stand isn’t the only potential future screenwriting/directing project for Affleck, who (seemingly) is still attached to the Tell No One remake – and was in talks to headline/direct the thriller Line of Sight just a couple months back. So just because Warner Bros. wants Affleck for The Stand, that doesn’t guarantee his involvement (and vice versa).
King (pictured above) previously confessed his skepticism about the prospect of The Stand being adapted into a single feature-length film – and admittedly, he’s not off-base with that concern. Case in point: the first section of his original Stand novel (titled “Captain Trips”) chronicles the emergence of a human-built superflu virus and the resulting breakdown of human society. There’s enough significant narrative material in that portion of the novel alone to fill an entire film (see: Contagion, for a recent example).
While the idea of Affleck offering a more stylistic (and thematically unrestricted) take on King’s story than the 1994 Stand TV series is definitely intriguing, the idea of compressing said story down into a single film seems unwise. It’s nonetheless best to wait and see exactly what Warner Bros. has in mind with this project – and whether Affleck actually becomes involved with it – before jumping to any conclusions.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of The Stand as more information is released.