Drew McWeeny over at HitFix is reporting that David Yates and Steve Kloves, the director and writer team who collaborated on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I and II, will reteam for a cinematic adaptation of The Stand, Stephen King‘s epic novel of fantasy and horror depicting humankind’s struggle to endure in a world ravaged by a virus and preyed upon by a dark figure known only as Randall Flagg (a.k.a. The Walkin’ Dude).
The book was first published in 1978, but in 1990 King published an expanded edition, which subsequently served as source material for a television miniseries directed by Mick Garris that aired on ABC in 1994 and starred Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Ruby Dee, Rob Lowe, Miguel Ferrer, Shawnee Smith, and Jamey Sheridan as Flagg. Prior to that, George Romero attempted a single film version with a screenplay by Rospo Pallenberg (Excalibur), but the project never got off the ground.
The deal is just now being concluded, but Yates had hinted in the recent past of his desire to attempt a film version of King’s massive tome while on a press tour for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Working with Kloves, the director’s new take on The Stand will comprise of more than one film, making it either a two-part epic or possibly a trilogy, but it is not known yet if they will go for an R rating or stick to the studio’s PG-13 comfort zone.
Although I’m not a fan of the Harry Potter films I’m very happy at this news. Yates is an excellent director and Kloves is one of our few remaining classical screenwriters still active in Tinseltown. He even wrote one of my favorite films of the last decade, Wonder Boys (which was also a literary adaptation).
The Stand is a tough nut to crack; Garris’ miniseries version was competently directed and featured some fine acting, but since it was made for television much of the novel’s darker and frightening material had to be excised. This is one of the main reasons why I’m all for a new film version. The big screen is the proper place for The Stand, and if done right, this could be one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel yet made. King always said the book was his attempt at writing a large-scale fantasy epic in the vein of The Lord of the Rings, and just look at how the film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic trilogy turned out.
If Yates and Kloves’ adaptation of The Stand becomes a success then it might bode well for Ron Howard’s long-gestating Dark Tower project, which saw its own development grind to a halt recently when Universal Pictures dropped the ambitious adaptation (you can read about that HERE ).
The Stand is an ensemble story and the chat rooms and forums are already going wild with casting possibilities. Entertainment Weekly even got in on the action back in February when talk of the new Stand feature first began. I’m anxious to see what ultimately becomes of this new development.