After spending years in development hell, and burning through multiple high profile potential directors (Ben Affleck, David Yates, etc.), it would appear that the long awaited theatrical adaptation of Stephen King’s epic novel The Stand is finally happening.
Unfortunately, a new interview given to Vulture by currently attached director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) could have worrying implications for those hoping we would get a more intense, but still faithful adaptation this time out.
When asked about the project, Boone relayed the following information:
“We’re gonna do one three-hour, R-rated version with an amazing A-list cast across the board. Every single one of those characters will be somebody you recognize and somebody you relate to. And it’s gonna be awesome. I’m really excited. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever got to do in my entire life.”
While his enthusiasm is certainly commendable, anyone who’s read The Stand’s gargantuan source novel will likely be given pause by the part about it being adapted as one three-hour movie.
The 1994 Mick Garris directed The Stand miniseries is well remembered overall, but the main faults it did have had nothing to do with its massive six-hour running time. In fact, Stephen King (who also served as screenwriter) was forced to cut out huge chunks of the novel from the miniseries script, and even outright exclude characters who played important roles in pivotal events of the book.
If a six-hour time window wasn’t enough to faithfully adapt The Stand, how in the world will three-hours be enough? How many characters and subplots will have to be omitted this time out? How many supporting characters that do appear will get the short shrift?
That all said, the news isn’t all bad, specifically the part about the R rating. The Stand (like many of King’s works) is filled with incredibly harsh and brutal violence, depictions of horrific deaths, and a good amount of sexual content. Garris and King’s TV version managed to preserve the overall plot, but as with the 1990 IT miniseries, the adult content was severely toned down in the journey from book to screen. So, fans may get a condensed adaptation, but at least it will likely be darker, bleaker, and edgier than before.