Back in August of 2011, it looked like Warner Bros. was going to reunite Harry Potter franchise screenwriter Steve Kloves and director David Yates on a new ambitious adaptation of a dense literary work: The Stand, based on Stephen King's popular post-apocalyptic supernatural horror/sci-fi tale - which has already inspired both an award-winning 1994 TV mini-series and Marvel comic book spinoff.
When that deal failed to materialize, studio heads then turned their eyes onto Ben Affleck as a potential helmer; now, we have confirmation that the Oscar-winning actor/writer/director is indeed involved with the project, seeing how he's recruited a screenwriter to try their hand at adapting King's source material.
Vulture says that David Kajganich has been hired on to script The Stand. It's not clear yet whether Affleck will also be contributing directly to the screenwriting process on this project, like he did with his first two directorial efforts (Gone Baby Gone and The Town) - or, if he'll be more hands-off with the script, as is the case with his upcoming 2012 release, Argo.
Kajganich was previously responsible for scripting two critical duds: the 2007 version of The Invasion and director Joel Schumacher's horror-thriller, Blood Creek. However, it's been said that Kaganich's work on the script for a new feature-length adaptation of another well-known King book, It, impressed both Warner heads and Affleck alike; hence, he's been tasked with penning The Stand.
King's original Stand novel is divided into three sections, titled "Captain Trips", "On the Border", and "The Stand"; each of these sections (arguably) feature more than enough narrative material to fill up an entire film, on their own. That Warner Bros. was previously said to be giving serious consideration to developing a trilogy of movies based on King's book is no surprise; however, it's not clear as to whether or not that remains the plan, now that Affleck is involved.
That said: movies with built-in franchise potential are all the rage in Hollywood right now, with upcoming 2012 flicks such as Snow White and the Huntsman and World War Z also hoping to be the first installments in three-part series. Don't be surprised if Warner Bros. goes a similar route with The Stand, for both artistic and financial purposes.
[caption id="attachment_137400" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="Ben Affleck is preparing to take 'The Stand'"][/caption]
Affleck has directed two critically-acclaimed, character-heavy crime dramas/thrillers in a row and he looks to spread his wings as a filmmaker even more, with the globe-trotting historical CIA thriller that is Argo. The Stand will see the man working on different genre territory with a story that starts out global in scope, but eventually evolves into more of a smaller-scale and personal conflict between the survivors of an apocalyptic event. So, in that sense, the King adaptation could (in part) play to Affleck's strengths as a cinematic storyteller, while also presenting him with some new challenges - regardless of how he and Kajganich adapt King's source material, i.e. as one or three movies.
King himself has already expressed a healthy amount of skepticism about the idea of turning The Stand into a single feature-length film, as have many fans of the novel in general. Hence, until we have a better idea of exactly what Affleck and Co. have in mind with this venture, it's probably best to hold off on jumping to too many conclusions about the potential results of their efforts (good and bad).
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of The Stand as more information is released.