A theatrical version of the Stephen King apocalyptic epic The Stand, set to scrub the memory of the ABC 1990s miniseries from your brain, just took one step closer to being a reality. According to Collider, Josh Boone, who has been tapped to direct the sprawling tale of the aftermath of a plague that wipes out most of humanity, has reportedly finished adapting the thousand page+ novel into a sleek three-hour movie. And if any fans of The Stand are worried about a rerun of the first cinematic outing, Stephen King himself has apparently read the script and given his stamp of approval.
When discussing navigating the somewhat daunting waters of adapting not just such a dense novel, but, for some, King’s best work, Boone was ebullient like a kid who was given the keys to his parents’ Porsche.
I mean it’s amazing. 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’ll be] a single version movie of The Stand. Three hours. It hews very closely to the novel. It was such an amazing process. 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. [You use] a lot of structural things to condense a thousand pages into a three-hour movie but it’s still at heart his material. I just made it work within the confines of what a single film can be.
King’s blessing is high praise and not easily granted. The author was quite vocal in his disdain for Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his book The Shining, considered by many film fans to be a perfect horror film. King reportedly found that the ABC version of the book starring Steven Webber (Wings) was more faithful to his vision.
Boone went on to address the feasibility of adapting a novel as immense as The Stand into a three-hour film.
I just focused on the things that I felt strongly about, that I have strong memories about, that are evocative to me even when I read it now.
That said, I still have a bit of Spock eyebrow wondering how a three-hour film could possibly do the film the justice in that short of time. Personally, I feel like The Stand would be a better fit for two three-hour films or something along the lines of Game of Thrones and craft a ten-episode miniseries for HBO. Still, as The Stand is personally my favorite King book, I will reserve judgment and nit-picking until we know more information.
This scripting news isn’t the first piece of news to circulate about a movie adaptation lately. Last month, The Wrap reported that Boone was heavily eyeing Matthew McConaughey (Contact, Dallas Buyers Club, True Detective) for the role of the novel’s chief antagonist Randall Flagg. This would be casting, with apologies to Flagg, made in Heaven, as McConaughey has proven in recent years both is ability to fully immerse himself in his roles as well that he has grown as a dramatic actor. Further, McConaughey’s gait, lankiness, and drawl would make a Flagg simultaneously charming and menacing.
Director Josh Boone’s The Stand is still in the early stages of development, but he hopes for a late-spring start date for filming. In the meantime, check out this scene from HBO’s True Detective to see what I mean about McConaughey’s acting chops and why he would own the role of Randall Flagg.