It seems as though adaptations of Stephen King novels like to follow a stop-start pattern. While things seem to be moving forward once more for The Dark Tower, with casting announcements and a release date set for 2017, another of King's novels is set on the back burner once more. The Stand, telling the tale of two groups of survivors at war after a deadly disease wipes out most of the human race, has been rumored to make it to the big screen for years. Each and every time though, it seems to hit a bump in the road, which sets plans back once more.
After numerous directors took on and then departed the project, Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) stepped up to the helm in February 2014. At the time, Boone planned to make a three hour, R-rated movie with an A-list cast. This gradually evolved; becoming four movies, then a TV series with a movie finale. At the start of February, 2016, Warner Bros. Pictures' option on The Stand rights expired, and so now it rests back at CBS Films, which must decide whether to make the movie with another studio... or fund it alone.
According to producer Roy Lee, while The Stand movie still in the works, the creative team behind the project are once again looking at how best to tackle the adaptation. Speaking to Collider at DICE 2016, Lee confirmed recent reports that Boone will work on another King adaptation, Revival, first, before making any decisions on the future of The Stand.
“Right now it’s just in a holding pattern trying to figure out how to best make the movie because we’ve toyed with breaking it up into multiple movies, making it into one, making it into two. The latest draft, Josh Boone had written it and he was very anxious to make it but since then has written another script, Revival, which he’s gonna do beforehand, so we’re just waiting for that.”
Given the vast length of King's work, The Stand seems unlikely to work as a one-off, standalone movie. To carry the story across effectively and to do the work justice, The Stand must either be made into multiple films, like Harry Potter, or even a TV mini-series, similar to that which aired in 1994. Boone seemed on board with both ideas in June, 2015, saying that he would develop the work as an 8-part mini series; one that would then culminate in a feature film finale. Now, however, Lee revealed that plan is shelved due the logistics of the worldwide movie release.
"The TV component would not necessarily be released at the same time worldwide. So it became a logistic nightmare to try to figure that out, so that plan was abandoned.”
Lee also added that King still feels as though the original mini-series was a faithful adaptation of his book, so that might also be a factor in Boone deciding against going down the TV route. Surprisingly, Lee admitted they had also been toying with the idea of making one movie, but admitted that "You obviously have to take out a big portion of the book, so trying to balance what to keep and what to cut out was a long process because there’s so much to go through." adding that at present, it is written as two movies.
Fans of King's The Stand novel might feel this is still cutting it short. There is a lot of material, sure, and cuts could definitely be made, but one of the joys of The Stand being so long is that a reader can become fully immersed in the story that King so expertly weaves. To start making major cuts and even plot changes would compromise the quality of the story being told. It seems as though The Stand is one of those books that should definitely be told again onscreen - but which screen, and how to tell it, eludes directors and producers still.
We will keep you updated on The Stand as it develops.