With out a doubt some of the most successful movies and television shows of the last decade have been those with a post-apocalyptic theme. Given the genres success, many studios are now looking for more works to adapt into films, including the massively successful Stephen King novel, The Stand.
Published almost 40 years ago in 1978, The Stand has a long history with film studios attempting to adapt it. Despite being adapted into a mini-series in 1994 and a comic in 2008, no film studio has managed to bring the book to life in cinemas.
However back in 2011 there was finally hope that a big screen adaptation might be about to happen when Warner Bros and CBS Films announced they were developing a feature-length version. But, five years later is this adaptation any closer to release, or even to production? Take a look at everything we know about the film adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand.
What is The Stand?
The Stand is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy novel which focusses on a group of people who survive a super virus called Captain Trips that kills 99 percent of the population. Over the course of the novel the survivors split into two groups and the novel culminates in a battle of good vs evil.
The Stand was originally released in 1978 but was rereleased in 1990 when King added in over 350 pages and updated the setting from 1980s to the 1990s. Altogether the complete and uncut edition of the novel is a massive 1152 pages long. The book also marked the first appearance of King's frequently used antagonist, Randall Flagg.
What happened with past attempts to adapt the novel?
In the 80s Stephen King actually planned a film version of the novel, entrusting horror legend George A. Romero to direct, with King himself planned writing the screenplay. Because of the novels length, a screenplay proved difficult and in the end the film stayed in "development hell" for more than 10 years. Then, after Romero left his company, Laurel Entertainment, he lost his claim to the film. Romero's former partner, Richard Rubenstein, then went on to make a deal with ABC, and King's script was used as the basis of the ABC mini-series.
What's happening with the current attempt to produce the film?
Way back in January 2011, Warner Bros and CBS Films announced that they were officially taking steps to bring The Stand to the big screen. There were no concrete details surrounding whether The Stand was to be one film or a series of films, but the companies were working with Stephen King and in the process of speaking with producers.
After many reports, in August 2011 Hitfix confirmed that Harry Potter director David Yates and Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves would be working together on a multi-film adaption of the novel. The confirmation that The Stand would be split into multiple movies came as a relief for many worried that an attempt to squish so much content into one film would be disastrous.
However, in October 2011, Collider reported that Yates and Kloves had left the project, with Yates believing the novel would make a better mini-series than film series. Warner Bros then tapped Ben Affleck to direct, but he left the project in 2013 to work on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck handed the reins to Scott Cooper who then also left the project soon after due to alleged creative differences with the studio. Finally in February 2014 it was revealed that The Fault In Our Stars director, Josh Boone was onboard to direct.
In August 2014, The Wrap reported that Matthew McConaughey was in talks to appear as the main villain, Randall Flagg. However Boone soon took to Twitter to correct the rumor, stating he actually wanted McConaughey for the character Stu Redman, and Christian Bale for Randall Flagg:
On Kevin Smith's Babble-On podcast in November 2014, Boone revealed that Warner Bros was onboard to produce four films in The Stand franchise, complete with A-list cast in order to make the most of the source material. A script rewrite was currently underway to expand Boone's finished script for a single three-hour film into four films.
Then in June 2015 , The Wrap reported that instead of producing four films, there were new plans to turn The Stand into an eight part mini-series shows on Showtime, which would culminate in a big budget feature film. Sources told The Wrap that the mini-series and film was slated to being production in early 2016.
For the remainder of 2015 it seems as though things went quiet on the news front, but then in February 2016 things kicked off again. First Warner Bros. lost their option rights meaning it reverted back to CBS Films, who needed to either finance the film themselves or join forces with another studio. Then producer Roy Lee revealed the film is currently "in a holding pattern." He told Collider:
“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.”
Lee also confirmed that the idea of an eight-part mini-series had also been scrapped, due to the fact it would have been "a logistic nightmare," and said they were currently working on making it into two movies.
So when could the production start?
Given the delay and the fact that Boone currently in pre-production on both X-Men: The New Mutants and The Vampire Chronicles, it doesn't seem likely that any movement will be made on The Stand until at least 2017.
However the good news is that Boone is a massive Stephen King fan and has also been tied to two other adaptations of King's work, Revival and Lisey's Story. In March Boone told Dread Central that The Stand was "the movie of a lifetime," and confirmed he was "completely content waiting until someone gives us exactly what we need to do it right rather than to compromise." He also noted that part of the breakdown seemed to come from budget disagreements. While Boone wanted around $85 - $100 million to produce what he called "The Godfather of post-apocalyptic movies," studios were looking to spend around $35 million.
Boone also gave a hint to a rough timeline for The Stand. "It’ll probably take a couple of years for any of these things to come together and actually get made just because of how expensive it is to bring these properties to the screen and how complicated the adaptation process is," the director told Dread Central.
So, after years of talk and multiple directors The Stand finally seems to have a script, a director and King's blessing to go ahead. Unfortunately, it seems the project is being majorly held back by studios unwilling to stump up the big cash to turn the film into the epic that Boone and King have imagined. Fingers crossed that at some point soon a compromise is made and this epic novel gets the adaptation it has been working towards for almost 40 years.