Stephen King’s The Stand – previously adapted as an award-winning TV mini-series in the 1990s – is a hefty novel (certain editions run 1,100 pages) divided into three segments, each of which could feasibly support a separate genre movie altogether. It’s no wonder, then, that the challenge of adapting it to film has already stumped a handful of high-profile directors.
Warner Bros. sought to bring Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves and director David Yates onboard for The Stand a few years ago, but that version of the project never got off the ground. A year later, Ben Affleck was recruited to direct the King adaptation; following his commitment to play the Caped Crusader in Batman vs. Superman, Affleck likewise stepped away from The Stand. Then, in 2013, Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) was lined up to captain that ship, but it took only a few months before creative differences with studio heads inspired Cooper to move on to different pastures.
The Wrap is no reporting that Josh Boone is currently negotiating a deal for him to write and direct a movie based on The Stand for WB and CBS Film. Boones’ feature debut Stuck in Love got a lukewarm critical reception, but the dramedy was virtually ignored at the 2013 box office (it grossed $81,000 in the States). However, he looks to make a bigger splash this summer with his sophomore directing effort The Fault in Our Stars – based on the popular young adult novel – arriving in theaters, featuring Shailene Woodley (Divergent) as the lead.
King’s source material unfolds in three sections: “Captain Trips”, “On the Border” and “The Stand”. The first part is, in essence, a Contagion-esque pandemic thriller (i.e. told from multiple perspectives), while the second portion is a post-apocalyptic drama about the surviving factions of humanity, and the third segment is a war epic (set in King’s grim fantastical world) with heavy religious overtones; to paraphrase something Affleck once said, The Stand is tantamount to Lord of the Rings set in the U.S. during modern times. However, according to The Wrap‘s article, Boone’s film adaptation is gong to be “a single, R-rated movie that will be faithful to the book,” rather than a trilogy as long-rumored.
It’s certainly possible for King’s text to be effectively streamlined – be it with flashbacks (a la the 3-hour IT min-series) or by reducing the character count – which might even benefit the dense narrative. That could also offer a different viewing experience than the long-form storytelling of the 1990s Stand mini-series (despite not sitting well with dedicated fans of the original book), though it’s surprising that WB isn’t vying to make a new franchise out of this multi-genre, best-selling literary property (like what Paramount is doing with World War Z).
Problem is, Boone simply hasn’t done anything yet (as a filmmaker) to suggest that he’s capable of surmounting such a task – which doesn’t mean that he lacks the potential, of course (see: other small-time directors making the jump to the big leagues this year). The other concern is that WB prefers Boone for the job because the studio believes he’ll be easier to control than a more established filmmaker and/or confident auteur – and thus, we’ll really end up getting WB’s desired version of The Stand, instead of Boone’s personal vision (for better… or worse).
We’ll keep you posted on The Stand as the project develops.
Source: The Wrap