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When I interviewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows director David Yates back in July, he seemed more than a little exhausted but also maybe reluctant to leave the entire Harry Potter adventure behind. He also admitted that he might not be ready to take a break from giant scale movies-- he told me he was mulling several projects, one that would be gigantic and a few that might be smaller. Eventually word got out that the giant project would be a multi-film adaptation of The Stand, Stephen King's epic novel about a group of people who survived a virus that wiped out most of the planet's population. At the time Yates was mulling it over and nothing was official, especially while Universal's planned adaptation of another King series, The Dark Tower, was stalling out.
The Dark Tower eventually fell apart entirely, but Yates's track record with the massively successful Potter films is apparently enough to keep The Stand alive. Hitfix reports that not only is Warner Bros. closing the deal with Yates to direct multiple films based on the book, but his Harry Potter collaborator, writer Steve Kloves, will be joining him as well. Word is this is a priority project for the studio, where they're probably anxious to keep Yates in the fold and get him to work on yet another massive novel adaptation with a large and loyal built-in audience.
Of course, The Stand is not much like Harry Potter, beyond the basic themes of good fighting evil and an epic scale that will translate very well to the screen. It's hard to know what Yates will bring to the material, since as the director of the final four Potter films he's brought visual style and a clear understanding of the stories, but nothing distinctive that would automatically translate to King's material. Warner Bros. has reason to put their faith in him, though, and plans for a multi-movie adaptation promise that they'll get over what would be the biggest hurdle: condensing the massive, thousand-page book into a single film. The previous screen adaptation of the book was the 1994 TV miniseries starring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald, and while it was thorough, there's plenty of violent and disturbing stuff in the book that only a feature film will be able to tackle.
Much as I like The Stand and will be interested to see its characters and especially its huge moments translated to the screen, I'm mostly excited for Yates, who has been the unsung hero of the last few Potter films and deserves to do absolutely anything he wants as a follow-up. I can't imagine why he's not taking a three-year vacation though. If you're a King fan or especially a diehard devotee of The Stand, chime in with your own thoughts in the comments.