The current resurgence in popularity of movies set in post-apocalyptic futures and dystopian alternate timelines has meant that both older and more recent novels have been green lit for the big screen treatment. While The Hunger Games sits comfortably at the top of the genre, less well-known books like The Maze Runner and Divergent have also been groomed for movie franchise potential, and 1993 children’s novel The Giver finally got an adaptation as well.
There’s one particularly famous apocalyptic novel that’s been struggling to make it out of development hell and onto the big screen: Stephen King’s The Stand, which has been sitting on Warner Bros.’ development slate for years, with David Yates, Ben Affleck and Scott Cooper all attached to the director’s role at various points and a number of attempts to translate the intimidating 1000+ page novel into a usable script. The Stand covers the events that take place after a pandemic wipes out most of the world’s population, and two warring factions form amid the chaos.
The Stand is now in the hands of The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone, who will both write and direct the movie and has previously said that he intends it to be 3 hours long and R-rated. Speaking with Collider, Boone explained that he actually found the process of adaptation fairly smooth (Affleck, by comparison, admitted that he had “a very hard time” trying to turn the book into a script), and that the finished script even has the author’s approval.
“I finished writing the script maybe a month ago. Stephen [King] absolutely loved it. It’s, I think, the first script ever approved by him… It hews very closely to the novel… I’m so familiar with [King’s] work and I’ve read so many of his books so many times over the years that it was just a really comfortable thing to be able to work with his material. He gives you so much great material to work with. There’s an abundance of it. So it’s not a book where you have to generate new material and make it work for a movie. He writes so cinematically and his characters are so sharply drawn. You don’t have to change much.”
A completed script is a good sign, but Boone was unable to give specifics as to when The Stand might begin filming. There has been some casting talk – including rumors that Matthew McConnaughey is the top choice to play antagonist Randall Flagg and that Boone has written a part specifically for The Fault in Our Stars actor Nat Wolff – but Boone warns that there’s still a lot of prep work (“six to eight months“) to be done, and he doesn’t expect the cameras will start rolling until spring 2015 at the earliest.
Beyond The Stand, Boone was also recently rumored to be in talks to direct The Vampire Lestat, an adaptation of the Anne Rice novel from the Vampire Chronicles series. Although Imagine Entertainment claimed at the time that the rumor was false, Boone was happy to confirm it (though he hasn’t officially been hired yet) and to talk a little about his own interpretation of the story.
“I would argue that [Lestat’s] a romance film. If you look at ‘Interview with a Vampire,’ it’s about two people who are sort of in a toxic marriage for a century. You know what I mean? [Lestat] really is still a character-driven story about a relationship.”
The Vampire Lestat, according to that interpretation, certainly fits in with the themes of Boone’s previous films, but it’s hard to predict how his interpretation of King’s apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy novel will turn out. Focusing in on the characters, as Boone says he intends to do, could be a good way to make it work – and keep audiences from falling asleep before the three hours are up.
We’ll keep you updated on The Stand and The Vampire Lestat as development continues.