Stephen King Doesn’t Think ‘The Stand’ Feature Film Will Work

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:30 pm,

Stephen Kings The Stand new movie Stephen King Doesnt Think The Stand Feature Film Will Work

Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic horror novel The Stand is widely regarded as one of the prolific author’s most accomplished works. Although many of his stories (especially his recent titles) have been criticized for being unnecessarily bloated and somewhat self-indulgent, most readers feel that The Stand is one sprawling epic that actually deserves every single page King dedicates to it.

So when it was revealed earlier this week that Warner Bros. and CBS Films were planning a new feature film version of The Stand, many were left wondering how a big screen adaptation could possibly do justice to the incredibly dense source material. As it turns out, it’s not just Stephen King fans who are skeptical about this ambitious endeavor – the author himself is similarly apprehensive.

King is a regular contributor to Entertainment Weekly and after the news broke, the magazine reached out to him for his thoughts on the matter. Amusingly, King claims he learned about this project the same way the rest of us did – he read about it on the Internet. That seems to contradict the original report’s assurance that he would be involved with The Stand movie in some capacity. Perhaps they intend to reach out to him at some point but haven’t yet?

Either way, King displays a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing – but it’s clear he’s not very enthusiastic about the news:

I didn’t know anything about the remake until I read about it on the Internet. You absolutely can’t make it as a two-hour movie. If it was a trilogy of films…maybe. People who’ve seen Kubrick’s The Shining dislike the miniseries I wrote (and my amigo Mick Garris directed) even if they haven’t seen it. That’s always annoyed me. But the wheel of karma turns! This time people will probably say, “The miniseries was lots better.”

I agree that trying to cram The Stand into a single film or even a series of films could prove to me an insurmountable challenge, but to be perfectly honest I think many of us might be looking back on that 1994 miniseries through rose-tinted glasses – King included. I always thought it started out fairly strong, but that the limitations of its budget became increasingly obvious as it progressed (not to mention the filmmakers had the added restriction of what they were allowed to show on network television).

King sees another problem with this proposed film adaptation – finding an actor to play Stu Redman who won’t pale in comparison to Gary Sinise (who portrayed the character in the miniseries):

No one will be able to top Gary Sinise, who played Stu Redman in the original ABC miniseries. He was perfect. When he says “You don’t know nothing” to the soldiers who are putting him under mandatory quarantine, you believe his contempt completely. My runner-up pick would be Jake Gyllenhaal.

He also suggests that Billy Bob Thornton would make a great Trashcan Man (I actually have to agree with that one) and continues to poke fun at Molly Ringwald’s performance in the miniseries. However, it may be a bit premature to discuss casting since King is convinced that it will be a long, long time before this project gains traction – if ever.

While it would be incredible to see The Stand get the adaptation it deserves (like the epic treatment The Dark Tower is at long last receiving), this whole situation actually reminds me more of that big screen version of It that’s still being kicked around.

Not only is It a similarly expansive narrative that they’re having trouble condensing, it also has a sub-par, but somewhat beloved early ’90s miniseries adaptation. While both stories would probably benefit from a more R-rated approach, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious or appropriate way to truncate them.

To be fair, the studios have yet to decide if they’re going to try and cram everything into one film or split it up into several installments. Although I suppose a Lord of the Rings-style trilogy might work for The Stand, I can’t help but wonder if Warner Bros. and CBS are ready to cough up the amount of cash that would be required for something that massive.

The Stand is easily one of my favorite Stephen King novels and I want to believe that this film (or films) is being approached with a certain level of reverence for the source material – and isn’t simply moving forward to capitalize on all of the attention The Dark Tower has been getting. We’ll keep you updated on how this progresses.

Source: EW

TAGS: The stand
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  1. Leave it alone.

    Create something original WB/cbs.

  2. How can one say no one can do better at a certain role if no one else has attempted it?

    I concur that a 2 hour movie is no way to treat this.

    I would much rather see it on cable almost like the original series. You can get a bigger budget and keep the story fresh in the minds of the people watching.

    The Walking Dead has proven it and the Game Thrones should only solidify it. I dont think there will be another LotR.

    • They are making the Hobbit

      • Doesn’t mean it will work or work as well. And wasnt The Hobbitt originally self contained? Meaning it was one book which should translate well to one movie. Two or more could (Could) stretch it.

        • Actually, reading all of the backstory, I now comprehend where Jackson is going with the Hobbit and to do it will require 2 movies. They will tie it into LotR by exploring the White Council, where Gandalf went when he left the party mid book, etc.

  3. I am actually looking forward to the film(s) yet I must ask: why out of the many works of King are they making films of ones that have already been adapted? (Pet Semetery, It, The Stand?)

  4. HAHAHAHAHAHA from THE MAN himself, eat it Hollywood.

    • aMthony? LOL

      well I hope they do a series of it. If it cant be done in one film then a series might work.

      • Hey have you read it??

        • No but ppl say it wont work and i really want to read it.

          • Rick, it wouldnt , let me put it this way , do you think they could have done Deathly Hallow in one movie and it have been good

          • Here we go again…lolololol

            • No Loco I dont. DH needed to be split,so yeah Ill be cool if they split this. Stephen King is the man!!

              • There is no way to compare Harry Potter books to The Stand. Not even close. That is like comparing The Cat in the Hat to The Bible. One is a childrens book and one is not. The Stand needs at least a trilogy to TRY to cover all the material. Read the book.

                • Seriously Ill jump in on rick side, First off Im pretty confident in saying you have never read a harry Potter book with that comment, and be the second to say ,the Harry Potter books are not childrens books, Oh yeah and I would also say you Alpine, that KING himself has said how incredible the Potter books where so much so that he has used them in his own books, or didnt you read the Dark Tower series either

                  • Thanks Lobo ,well said :)

              • Go out and get right now, young man!

                They honestly should consider it a modern classic and required reading at some level of education.

                Truly. It’s a masterpiece.

                I think I need to dust it off and have another go at it.

          • Yea Ricky, see, if you have never read the book, or watched the mini series, then people wont take what you have to say about the matter seriously at ALL.

            • Oh well lmao

              • Typical Ricky response when one proves a point 😉

                • lmao atleast i always have something to say. And respond back! LOL

  5. why bother? why not another king novel? The Talisman maybe, or Eyes of the Dragon.

    • That Talisman, no way. An equally dense story that i don’t think would translate to a 2 hour movie. Eyes of the Dragon, though?! THAT would be awesome.

  6. The 1994 miniseries was garbage, with just about the least frightening Randall Flagg imaginable. They had to put a wig on the guy and use cheezy digital transformation effects to make him look even remotely demonic. That’s what happens when you let King and his “amigo” Mick Garris have their way. I think its hilarious that they didnt inform King this time, and I hope he has NOTHING to do with the production, unless its a cameo, let him play it, then kick him off the set. Oh, and speaking as someone who has seen the Shining miniseries, it was terrible, King. Deal with it, and stick to the typewriter, its what youre good at. Leave the filmmaking to people with a talent for it.

      • Gotta agree there..I never envisioned Flagg as a Jerry Seinfeld/used car salesman/ Dr. Mengele mashup…
        “You poor guy…You look like caca!”

        • Nearly ruined me for the great RF character – possibly worse than that Hayden whats-his-face tool as Anakin…

      • Yeah im almost sure the budget and it being on TV had nothing to do with. It was TV it was 1994.

        I liked it and always will.

        Now if it gets to the big screen and they treat it like 1994 or some SyFy special then I understand.

      • I can agree that the min was not the best of the best,But Randle Flagg is ” the Most Menacing villians” really, cause i really dont think so , See I always thought he was cool cause he really didnt have to be menacing , his evil was so great it was that it was overwelling but he never came across as menacing to me.

        • I’m sorry, next time I will ad an IMO to my statement bro :)

          • Lol, yeah do that next time Ant cause you know … we all take everything literally around her , lmao

      • No way dude. That power mullet was terrifying. I still have nightmares about that. :)

    • ok dude, I disagree again that its his best work. Imo Dark tower is Kings Opus, it is a collection of ALL his best characters ,and it is the one series that truly brings Kings MIND to the forfront. I like the stand and it does sit high in my top books. but it like most of Kings work is Long winded. Oh and it absolutely can be trimmed down , How can i say that?, well because King Himself has trimmed it down….. So It can be done with out giving up too much. Do I think it should be done in a single movie or a trilogy , i say no to both i think it should be done on HBO or Starz or take your pick but it should be done on cable and done to the full extent. I think you let Frank Darabont or Eric Kripke take a shot at the screen play and Go for it

      • Reading your replies Loco and I see you have remembered the face of your father. I totally agree, look at Spartacus, Mad Men, The Living Dead, put this on AMC or a premium network and let the crazy flow. If King wants to put in his 2 cents, fine, but let’s leave it at that, not creative input on someone else’s vision of what The Stand is.

    • The Stand and Dark Tower series were both awesome but I stand firm that his best book by far is IT. That is of course all of our opinions. All are great books and it would be a travesty to not do justice to them respectively. The great part about the Stand is that it could be done in a trilogy or could be done in 2 long parts. I think that could be done easily. With the Harry Potters, they were under time restrictions due to the fact that the producers didn’t think kids would want to sit through a 3 and a Half hour movie. With this series… Who cares? If it is not rated R, I will not go see it anyway. I thought the original mini series was great and very well cast. It just wasn’t well played in some aspects. Such as Randall Flagg. That guy was just awful. I agree with King that it will be hard to replace Gary Sinise. I will watch Lt. Dan in just about any movie. :)

    • I love The Stand, but it is seriously flawed. The first 600 pages or so are brilliant – nearly perfect – but then it goes off the rails and kills the tension/forward momentum by wasting 250 pages in Boulder, Colorado with the heroes in council meetings that are as excruciating as all of the Jedi Council/Congressional BS in the Star Wars prequels. If King had edited that boring section down to about 100 pages TOPS and focuised his time, instead, on Flagg’s defeat of the opposition armies in L.A. that are barely even mentioned in the novel, it would have upped the tension and helped establish a woefully underdeveloped bad guy, as well as making that mid-section a little exciting. After those 250 pages, the story picks up again by moving to Las Vegas, but it never gains its momentum back completely. Also, by that point Flagg’s powers are already on the wane, so we never really get to see him at the height of his power (again, during the Battle of L.A.).
      If the film adaptation (which is now rumored to be 2 films) were to cut out most of the Boulder BS, and cut a few characters, it could easily cover all of the important events of the novel and retain the breakneck pace it needs.

      • I really love The Stand but I agree that there should have been less Boulder and more of the doing in the West. Flagg should have been shown in all his infernal glory! I,m kind of leery about a Stand movie. I think they should just leave it to each readers imagination.

        • Janparot,

          To cut the Boulder scenes would be cutting the meaning of the work, “The Stand”. What “stand” was King talking about? I suggest that he was talking about “the stand” of good against evil.

  7. As much as I love Stephen King I think he’s a bit out of order with his comments regarding fans of Kubricks The Shining.
    While I’ll admit there probably are some Kubrick fanatics who wanted nothing to do with Kings own adaptation & who probably refused to watch it.
    Still, I’ve seen both versions and I believe Kings mini series adaptation was the inferior of the two.
    I’m sure there are lots of people who’ve seen both that would agree with me, so Kings generalisation that only Kubrick fans gave it a hard time is pretty harsh.
    It almost feels like sour grapes on Kings part.
    He attempted to adapt one of his own novels for television & the end result was slated by people who were justifiably more impressed by another persons vision of the material

    • The only thing that was remotly better with Kubricks version was Jack. The mini series version was true to the original story. I enjoyed it. It is just hard to top Jack. Christian Slater would have been a good pick because he is so close to Jack.

      • Let’s see Slater as Randall Flagg!! Now that would be good casting!

  8. The Stand IS my favorite book of all time. I am not jazzed about the existing mini-series as it is and there is NO WAY they could pull it down to 2 or even 3 hours.

    No way.

  9. Maybe King’s ego got bruised because he wasn’t contacted about this first.

    • Well I’m sure it was a bit, he’s only human. What he doesn’t understand is that (as someone said above) he should not be involved in the film production of his stuff. Was The Stand and The Shining true to the books? Yeah I guess so, but what I envisioned and what I actually saw weren’t close. Just not scary enough. Same with Maximum Overdrive, Storm of the Century, etc. etc.

      Put Darabont behind the wheel, a different story all together. Was Kubrik’s movie good? Heck yes, one of the best horror films of all time IMO…. but it wasn’t true to the material. But it being fantastic makes up for it. Somewhat like how Jackson changed some of LotR….

        • I’d love to see Thomas Jane from The Mist play Sinise’ part in the new Stand. Or why not get Gary Sinise to play it again? He’s still a might fine looking man.

    • I thought that King lost the film rights to The Stand. Wouldn’t that explain why he wasn’t contacted?

  10. perhaps its because Hollywood has in general done such a pisspoor job imagining his works and translating them onto the big screen or even the little screen. Sometimes they do get it right, for example Carrie, the Green Mile, Stand By Me, Misery, and The Shawshank Redemption. Sometimes they come close like The Shining, The Dead Zone, Cujo and Needful Things and other times its complete dreck (and sometimes SK himself is involved in it) like The Langoliers, It!, The Tommyknockers, Salem’s Lot etc. The problem is that there have been way more misses than hits and its usually the fault of CASTING. King has faithful readers and when he srites a character a certain way, you get certain expectations. If you screw that pooch, you lose his audience, imho.

  11. I like how people think KING cares, have you seen an Interview with the Guy , he does care , He stopped caring long ago , He said he personally thinks that everyone of his books have been terrible adaptions of his books which I totally agree with. There is nt one of his books that have been faithful to the source material. The only stuff that has come close, is his own take on The Shining, which was alot closer to the original source material then Kubrick’s. The Stand was close but it had so many bad actors in it and was a product of its time, poor fx and network editing. Today it would be great on cable, to do it anyother way is a very bad idea

    • Yes, the GN was amazing… but it is still LONG.

  12. I love Stephen King as an author.
    “The Stand” is also one of my very favourite books.

    I would take with a rather hefty grain of salt King’s opinion on anything related to filmic adaptation of his work.

    Stephen King is a great author. He’s an awful film maker. He should NOT be involved, in any manner, form, or capacity, in the translation of “The Stand” to the silver screen.

    He can complain about all the adaptations that have been done of his books all he wants. The poorest ones were those in which he was most heavily invested.

    And to those who didn’t know, King disagrees with all of us who think The Stand is his greatest work. He certainly doesn’t keep it in the same high regard as we do.

  13. All I know is if they make a new movie they had BETTER cast a hot Nadine. Nadine was supposed to be the most beautiful woman in the book, and they cast Laura Giacomo!! UGH!

  14. I think if they get serious about it and give it a fighting chance with a trilogy or more of movies and the funding, someone can make an excellent adaptation. The tv series gave it the best shot they could but a darker, R rated movie could end up being a masterpiece.

    Wish I could direct and front it.

  15. It is definitely going to be a trilogy. Will people flock to it? Well they did to LOTR but that had 3 distinctive books. Who knows? I surely would have enjoyed the Gunfighter epic but alas too much money.

  16. Brian Stepanek would make a MUCH better trashman!

  17. I love Stephen King’s books, but he has NO CLUE what makes a good movie, especially when adapting his own works. The TV movie of The Stand was horrible, and yet another instance of a screenwriter trying to be true to the novel instead of trying to make a good film. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that ALL of the TV adaptations, which stuck WAY to close to the source material, were awful. Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot, the ONLY exception, may be extremely dated and limited by the strict censorship of 70s TV, but still packs a punch, and had no qualms with making major changes, like the brilliant Nosferatu-inspired, silent Barlow.
    As for Gary Sinise, he gave one of the better performances in the TV film, but it was still mediocre. I do agree that Thornton would make a GREAT Trashcan Man though.
    I read George Romero’s script for his canceled early 80s film adaptation, and it was an absolute mess, though I give points for it not being as much of a mess as it could have been. You just can’t tell the story in one movie. The last I heard, though, it was going to be at least 2 movies, and Ben Affleck, who is actually a very talented director, was signed on to helm it.

  18. The original was AWSOME! I own the damn thing yet I still watch it EVERY time it comes on. The cast is great. Why do people have to ruin things? Go find your own imagination.

  19. ive read both the original and uncut books as well as watched the mini series and there is no way to do it in one movie 8 hours of tv and they had to cut people out including one of my favorites that guy with the model a coupe that gave the trashcan man a ride you would need another series or do it in 6 movies like star wars (the most over rated pile ever made)and im not saying thats even a good idea
    the best way it could be done is sell the rights to amc and have them make 12 42 min episodes and keep ben aflic the hell out of it or i just might kill someone

  20. Why doesn’t HBO or showtime pick it up as a limited miniseries

  21. I think this would make a great trilogy or a cable miniseries, but one film seems impossible. I hope they reconsider and make it three films. I am an actor myself and would love to play Larry Underwood 😉

    I agree, Jake Gylenhall would be a great Stu.

  22. The Stand is my favorite Stephen King book for one important reason: the character development is so good you feel like you have known the characters all of your life and when the book reaches the final chapter you think, “No!”, because you don’t want the characters to go out of your life for good. I doubt that any screen adaptation could ever develop the characters that well, especially in one movie. And after the last season of the walking dead where writers attempted to develop the characters and received so much fan flack for it, I doubt anyone would watch a film that attempted character development. People just want cheap entertainment with a lot of action, and that would completely destroy this great work.

  23. I loved the movies and the books from Steven king