Since 2011, the upcoming feature adaptation of The Stand has been evolving, and like any good viral plague it's resistant to any efforts to try and destroy it. It's already gone through three directors, as well as various format changes. In particular, the question of just how many movies would be made out of the incredibly long Stephen King novel has been one of the greatest sources of debate, as both a multi-film arc and a single, three-hour long film have been mentioned in the run up to production. As of today, it looks like the multi-film approach has worked out, and to the tune of four movies.
Kevin Smith's podcast Hollywood Babble-On had current director Josh Boone -- who also directed this summer's smash hit adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars -- on the show, and what he had to say about the long in-gestation adaptation's history was eye opening. With the original script looking more like a "big summer blockbuster," Boone re-wrote the movie into one three hour, R-rated film that got Warner Bros, and eventually Stephen King, excited about the project.
According to Josh Boone in his quote below, Warner Bros was so excited that they were ready to sink more than $87 million and three hours into a film that could very well be a blockbuster for a different reason.
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.
For a film that almost had Harry Potter's David Yates and Ben Affleck in the director's chair, The Stand looks like it's in its most exciting form yet. With over a thousand pages of story to tell, and four films that'll probably weigh in with two to two-and-a-half hours each outing, The Stand actually sounds like it'll be done a great justice on the big screen. Provided, of course, that the R-rating sticks and no one drops out at this point. Josh Boone sounds optimistic though, as he offered he following production update:
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.
The Stand is flying under the radar right now, but given the attention this interview is drawing to the rising star that is Josh Boone, it looks like that won't be the truth for long. Warner Bros, you might want to invest in some addition security, lest you have a Marvel-esque leak on your hands in the next month or so. The Stand has no release window in mind, but since next spring is the targeted start for production, we could see the first film as early as late 2016/early 2017.