Not too long ago, author/screenwriter Stephen King indicated that The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone is now planning more than a single film based on King's The Stand novel, despite Boone having previously described the project as being a three-hour movie event. However, Boone has since changed his song and is affirming King's comments, by having revealed that the big screen version of The Stand is now being planned as not just one, but four movies total.
King's original The Stand book was published in 1978 and ran just over 800 pages, though the "Complete & Uncut Edition" (released in 1990) reaches well over 1,000 pages. The novel is divided into three segments ("Captain Trips", "On the Border", and "The Stand") detailing a global pandemic breakout and its aftermath, culminating in an elemental battle between the forces of good and evil. (Ben Affleck, who was attached to direct the project earlier on, appropriately referred to it as "'Lord of the Rings' in America.")
Boone, who is also writing the Stand movie script(s), was recently a guest on Kevin Smith's Hollywood Babble-On Podcast (hat tip /Film), when he dropped the bomb about his Stand adaptation now potentially spanning four feature-length films. The story, which Boone described as being "kind of a morality play set in post-apocalyptic America," features a pretty hefty number of characters, but the filmmaker said he had originally cut down the narrative into something manageable as a single film.
"I really wanted to do an A-list actor, really grounded, credible version of the movie... I sold [Warner Bros.] on a single, three hour movie... So what happened is the script gets finished, I write it in like five months. Everybody loves it. [Stephen] King loves it. $87 million is what it was budgeted at. Really expensive for a horror drama that doesn’t have set pieces... They came back and said ‘Would you do it as multiple films?’ and I said ‘F**k yes!'... So I think we are going to do like four movies.”
The Stand was adapted in 1994 as a six-hour TV mini-series (scripted by King), and many a fan of the book has voice their desire to see the novel turned into not just one, but at least three films; each based on the corresponding segment of King's original novel and produced with the sort of production values befitting a contemporary post-apocalyptic drama. It's not quite so obvious how The Stand could be divided into four movies rather than three, but given the wealth of material (some 1,100 pages total) it's arguably not an unreasonable proposition.
Two-part finales are in fashion right now, especially for dystopian/post-apocalyptic genre fare (see: The Hunger Games and Divergent), so it's possible that The Stand will also be getting a two-part conclusion to its overarching story. Boone is keeping his lips shut about how, exactly, King's novel will be split up for its big screen rendition, though he teased on the podcast that the films will feature an impressive cast - and that some big name players have already joined the project.
"I can’t tell you anything about how we’re going to do them or what’s going to be in which movie. I’ll just say we are going to do four movies, and we’re going to do ‘The Stand’ at the highest level you can do it at with a cast that’s going to blow people’s minds. We’ve already been talking to lots of people, and have people on board in certain roles that people don’t know about."
Boone then said that he's still looking to get cameras rolling on the first Stand movie as early as Spring 2015; if not that, then sometime later next year. So far, the only big name star who has been rumored as a possible cast member for the film is Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey (he's reported to be WB's "top choice" to play the villain, Randall Flagg) but if Boone is to be believed, then more concrete casting news for The Stand may be arriving very soon, perhaps before 2014 reaches its conclusion.
We'll bring you more information on The Stand when we have it.