Features and Columns

A Brief History of That ‘The Stand’ Movie That Should Not Be Made

By  · Published on February 26th, 2014

Great cultural contributions are not fluid. A classic book does not need to automatically be turned into a feature film. A stirring song does not need to be adapted for a TV theme song. A beloved miniseries does not need to be turned into a comic book.

Some things are just good as is, on their own, and in their original form.

Such is the case with Stephen King’s “The Stand,” which continues to be forcibly pushed through the Hollywood studio system in an attempt to make the 1100 page-plus tome into an easily digestible feature film – sort of like movie breakfast sausage. The “film” (and, yes, we’re putting this one in quotes, because it sure as hell isn’t a real film just yet) has been through nearly every incarnation imaginable over the course of three years, cycling through writers and directors and even possible runtimes with a startling regularity that appears to lower the possible quality of the film at every turn. Think about it this way – back in 2011, we were going to have a multi-film event from the very best Harry Potter team, now this project will be directed by a guy who has just two films under his belt and, oh, yeah, it will just be one single film. How did we get here?

February 2011 — a feature film adaptation of “The Stand” is announced by Warner Bros. No talent is attached, no director is named, no screenwriter is indicated, and the film’s potential length is not mentioned.

February 2011, laterKing pipes in about some casting choices, while also sharing that he thinks it would work best as a trilogy.

July 2011Warner Bros. reportedly courts a post-Harry Potter David Yates to direct their production, already eyeing a King-approved trilogy.

August 2011HitFix breaks the news that Yates will indeed helm the film, and he’s bringing Potter scribe Steven Kloves along with him. The Stand becomes a “multi-film” event, something these dudes know how to do.

October 2011Yates and Kloves are suddenly and mysteriously out, and Ben Affleck (at this point, filming Argo) is in as director. The project remains a multi-film event.

January 2012Warner Bros. and Affleck bring on screenwriter David Kajganich to pen the production. Kajganich, a relative newbie, suddenly becomes Hollywood’s go-to King guy – because he’s also writing It and Pet Sematary remakes for Warners and Paramount, respectively. The project’s scope is in question.

August 2013 — Over a year and a half pass with no word on the project, until someone finally reveals that Affleck has dropped it (he’s busy, you know) and that Warners has handed it over to Scott Cooper. No word on length or number of films.

November 2013Cooper is out. The director has already sounded off about casting picks (Christian Bale?) and his approach to the material, but nope, he’s gone. He does, however, make mention of a “standalone film,” giving credence to the idea that the project will become a single feature.

November 2013, later— Days after Cooper is tossed, word gets out that Paul Greengrass is being courted to direct the project. Finally, some good news! Reports also emerge that little things – like rating and number of films – have yet to be determined.

February 2014 – The Wrap reports that filmmaker Josh Boone is in talks to both direct and rewrite the project, as a single film. Boone has two films under his belt – the little-seen Stuck in Love and the upcoming Shailene Woodley-starring cancer drama, The Fault in Our Stars. Yet, despite minimal experience, Boone does have a trump card – his next feature is set to be, you guessed it, a King adaptation. Boone has been attached to direct Lisey’s Story, based on King’s 2006 novel, for a while now. Cool connection. Not The Stand, though.

Let us all remember – maybe this thing just doesn’t need to be made.

Related Topics: