Unless you’ve been living in a cave, or, you know, not going on the internet and cruising movie-centric websites, you’re well aware that Reindeer Games star Ben Affleck has apparently been cast as the latest big screen Batman. He’ll play the Caped Crusader in the Batman Vs. Superman movie that will purportedly be the sequel to this summer’s Man of Steel. While the world wide web lost its collective shit over this announcement—the pro camps have been stocking up in WMDs for the inevitable clash with the anti-Affleck contingents who I believe are armed with nerve gas—there are wider reaching implications. Chief among these is, what the hell is going to happen to the adaptation of Stephen King’s epic apocalyptic tale The Stand that Affleck was supposed to direct? Well, it didn’t take long, but it looks like we may have an answer.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Scott Cooper is in talks to take over the director’s chair so recently vacated by the Argo director. Cooper’s highest profile job thus far has been at the helm of 2009’s Crazy Heart, which won Jeff Bridges an Academy Award for best actor. His follow up, the thriller Out of the Furnace, comes out this December, and stars the last Batman, Christian Bale, as well as Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Forrest Whitaker, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, and the younger Affleck brother, Casey.
It makes sense that this announcement comes shortly after the news of Affleck’s departure. Warner Bros. and CBS Films need to act fast, because if they don’t adapt King’s monster of a novel in relatively short order, they could lose the rights.
For those of you not in the know, The Stand is like one of those post-apocalyptic young adult novels, but written for grown ups. After a virus wipes out most of America, the survivors descend into an all out battle of good versus evil. The narrative is a sprawling monsters with dozens of characters, and almost as many plot threads that all crisscross and overlap. Most of the action centers around the fight against Randall Flagg, who is more or less the Antichrist. We’re talking about a very long, very involved story one that I have no idea in hell how they’re going condense it into a single movie. We are talking about Stephen King after all, the man is not known for his brevity. The 1994 miniseries that aired on ABC clocked in at a massive 366 minutes, so in order to cram everything into a movie, there are going to be cuts, and those cuts are going to piss off fans. We’ll see how this goes.
In all honesty, I could give a rat’s ass about Affleck playing Batman. I thought casting Heath Ledger as the Joker was a bad idea, so lets just say that there is a very good reason I do not work as a casting agent. I would make terrible choices. I’m still mad at Affleck for what he did to my beloved Daredevil, so my issues run deep. The truth is, he’s turned into a director that makes movies I like, and I would rather see him continue down that path than put on some tights and a cape, and punch Superman in the face for two-and-a-half hours. He is in the process of preparing for his next acting job in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, and is still going to direct Live By Night, based on a Dennis Lahane (Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River) novel.