Well, the world is still reeling from last night's shocking announcement that Ben Affleck is playing Batman in director Zack Snyder's Man of Steel sequel. The question of whether or not the Oscar-winning actor/filmmaker could work as the Caped Crusader is certainly worth of discussion; however, today we're going to focus more on the real-world repercussions that Affleck playing Bruce Wayne looks to have on his other professional career endeavors.
Beside getting ripped to portray a 40-something Bats, Affleck will be spending his time in the foreseeable future directing and headlining an adaptation of Gone Baby Gone author Denis Lehane's period crime-drama novel, titled Live By Night. As a result of his busier-than-ever schedule, Affleck has been forced to abandon his gestating movie adaptation of the hefty Stephen King post-apocalyptic tale, The Stand.
This news makes sense, given that Warner Bros. - the studio developing both the aforementioned King adaptation and Snyder's Batman/Superman movie - would prefer to have someone else get the ball rolling on The Stand in the near(er) future - whilst Affleck concentrates on preparing for his role in the evolving DC Cinematic Universe. Indeed, there hasn't been any real progress on The Stand to report since the last update from Affleck in 2012. Even then, the actor/director was somewhat lukewarm about the project moving ahead in the near future and admitted that he was having a difficult time compressing King's 800-1,100 pages of writing into a manageable script.
Deadline is reporting that WB has set Scott Cooper to re-write and direct The Stand; though, it's not clear how much (if any) material the project's new director will be carrying over from previous script drafts put together by Affleck. Moreover, there's not at all a definite official timeline, as far as when studio heads would like Cooper to finish with scripting and get ready to begin principal photography.
Cooper directed Jeff Bridges to an Oscar with his feature-length filmmaking debut on the alcoholic country singer drama Crazy Heart, back in 2009. He also helmed the working-class crime drama Out of the Furnace starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck; that film is expected to be an awards-season contender when it opens later this year. That's a way of saying: Cooper has proven himself to be a quality storyteller and capable of producing visually-potent vehicles for showcasing actors at their best. Not bad credentials to have, as far as being qualified to direct The Stand goes.
Whether Cooper can make the jump from indie cinema to making a good big-budget picture of The Stand's magnitude - likened by Affleck to being "'Lord of the Rings' in America" - is another matter, since crunching King's source material down to fit inside a single film will be a real challenge. Of course, we're assuming that WB won't choose to go and make an entire movie trilogy based on the single book (a la Peter Jackson's The Hobbit) - which is a move that comes with its own set of risks (read: if the first of three planned Stand movies were a dud, then WB could be up the creek without a paddle).
How do you feel about Cooper replacing Affleck as writer/director on The Stand? Are you still holding out hope that WB may decide to split the book into 3 movies - or would you prefer a streamlined (read: single-film) take on the story?
We'll keep you posted on The Stand as more information becomes available.