Stephen King’s massive tome The Stand is one of those projects that has seemingly been kicking around Hollywood forever. The book was already adapted once, as a 1994 TV mini-series starring Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinise, and Warner Bros. and CBS Films have been working on a new adaptation for years. Every time it looks like there is forward progress, a director quits or some other tragedy befalls the production. For all of that, however, it looks like they may finally have at least a couple of pieces in place as actor Nat Wolff and director Josh Boone have both joined the party.
An epic post-apocalyptic journey is an interesting choice for this pair, who have teamed up before. Both are winning acclaim for their work in the young adult cancer drama The Fault in Our Stars, which debuted earlier this year at Sundance. Actors tend to bounce around from genre to genre quite a bit, but it’s harder for directors, and this will definitely be a step in a different direction for Boone. There’s no word on what role Wolff will play, but Boone tells THR that he is writing a part specifically for the young actor.
Part of the issue with adapting The Stand is the sheer size and scope of the story. After a virus wipes out most of the human race, the story tells the story of the struggle of good versus evil in the aftermath. The book tips the scales at more than 1100 pages, there are dozens of important characters and storylines, and the action takes place over the course of years. But apparently the studio is going to try to fit this all into a single movie, which is an odd choice given a cinematic landscape where filmmakers try to break an adaptation into as many movies as possible—just look at Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and The Hobbit for examples.
For a project that has had big name directors like Ben Affleck and David Yates attached, it was this unwillingness to break up the story that caused Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), the previous director, to leave the project. He compared it to the first time Peter Jackson’s first ventured into Middle Earth with The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Who knows what beloved characters and stories this new version will have to cut out, and some of King’s most memorable ones are in here, like Trashcan Man, Randall Flagg, Mother Abigail, and so many more you can’t even name them all. I’m not a huge fan of most of these splits, but it just seems like crazy talk to attempt to fit The Stand into a single movie.