Warner Bros. Wants Josh Boone to Turn 'The Stand' into Four Movies
Back towards the beginning of the year, The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone was tapped as the new director of Warner Bros. Pictures' gestating adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Stand. We'd heard that casting was eyeing Matthew McConaughey for a pivotal role in August, but since then there's been no word on any new names associated with the project. That may be because instead of a single film, the studio has decided they want Boone to make multiple films to properly adapt the novel. Boone revealed the change in plans on Kevin Smith's Hollywood Babble-On podcast, and this will be much bigger than originally thought.
Here's what Boone said (via SlashFilm) about his initial version of the film he wanted to make:
“I sold them on a single, three hour movie. I went and got [Stephen] King sold on it, everybody’s really excited…I told the story non-linear and that was the way I was able to compress that book and get everything into that script. You open with Mother Abigail dying and sending the guys off, and then you jump back in time… So what happened is the script gets finished, I write it in like five months, everybody loves it, King loves it, $87 million is what it was budgeted at, really expensive for a horror drama that doesn’t have set pieces.”
And while a three-hour adaptation would have been the best way to craft a single movie based on Stephen King's hefty novel, the studio wanted something a little bigger, more expensive, with the opportunity for setpieces that will get international audiences more interested. Boone explains:
“They came back and said 'would you do it as multiple films?' and I said 'fuck yes!' I loved my script, and I was willing to drop it in an instant because you’re able to do an even truer version that way. So I think we are going to do like four movies. I can’t tell you anything about how we’re going to do them, or what’s going to be in which movie. I’ll just say we are going to do four movies, and we’re going to do 'The Stand' at the highest level you can do it at, with a cast that’s going to blow people’s minds. We’ve already been talking to lots of people, and have people on board in certain roles that people don’t know about. We’re looking to go into production next year, maybe in the spring.”
This kind of move is surprising from the studio that didn't want to take on the ambitious film and television adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, but then again, considering all the moves studios are making to milk their cash cows for everything they're worth (like splitting trilogy finales into two parts, and shooting in China so they can use famous international stars to rake in more foreign dollars), it's all a business decision. The studio wants to make sure they get their money's worth from a property with such a meaty story and large roster of characters.
But at this point, if the studio wants a longer version of The Stand, why don't they just try a massive miniseries again? They can still throw a large budget and big stars behind it, especially with shows like "Fargo," "House of Cards" and "True Detective" bringing big names to the small screen and deliver the adaptation that fans want. Well, that's because a film franchise with big names will probably bring in more profits than a TV series. So the studio wants to give fans what they want, just as long as they get as much money as possible at the same time.
This is good news for anyone who doesn't want to see The Stand shrunk down to a single film, but this is still a frustrating business decision. The studio already knew they have a good script and were willing to move forward on for a single film, but they decided to throw that out the window and start over in the efforts to build a money-making film franchise. But what happens if the first installment of this four-film series doesn't hit well with audiences? Then fans get completely screwed over and don't get to see the rest of the story played out on the big screen. Let's hope this pays off, if only for the sake of the book's fans.