As much as Stephen King’s name is synonymous with horror literature, the author has also garnered himself a slice of profitable Hollywood royalties over the past four decades. With sixty movie adaptations to his name and counting, not to mention a slew of successful TV series, this doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon. However, his most recent projects seem to be getting off to a slow start.
The Dark Tower has finally started to make progress, what with Idris Elba mooted for the lead role, but no green light is in place just yet. Another project that has garnered some significant buzz of late is The Stand, King’s epic apocalypse story from 1978, a book that remains one of his most popular works to date. The project seemed to be rolling forward smoothly, with several rumours confirming dream casting choices, but in a strange turn of events, the project has been delayed once again — and this time, it’s because another Stephen King book is being brought to the big screen.
Director Josh Boone revealed that he has been co-writing an adaptation of Stephen King’s 2014 novel Revival with King himself and producer Michael de Luca. In an interview with Deadline, the director of The Fault in Our Stars confirmed that the script was recently submitted to Universal, and he expects the project to “find a home” either there or with another studio. If this is the case, then Boone’s other projects — his adaptation of The Stand being one of them — will be pushed back due to the length of the development stages. Boone is also expected to direct The Stand when they finally get around to it, and Deadline also revealed that the movie “practically has a cast, with verbal commitments,” so all the film needs is some attention.
Boone has been a lifelong fan of Stephen King’s work. As a child, his parents forbade him from reading his books due to strict religious beliefs, but years later the director now finds himself with not one, but two King projects to hand. In what can only be a dream scenario for the director, who discovered his love for King literature early, Boone speaks fondly of being heavily involved in two films that hold fond memories for him. After all, he first read The Stand from the secrecy of his bedroom.
“I’ve read every book Stephen King has written, multiple times; he taught me how to write characters. When I read The Stand, it was literally from under my bed. I was raised by evangelical Christians, who believed in The Rapture. I wasn’t allowed to read Stephen King books for a large part of my childhood. I ripped the cover off this Frank E. Peretti book This Present Darkness, a Christian bestseller, and put it on The Stand, because they were roughly the same size.”
The Stand was written in 1978, so to see Boone excited about Revival in the same light, a book that was released 36 years later and details a completely different subject matter, looks promising for both projects.
“When I read Revival, I was like, man, did you write this for me? I’d been on both sides of that pendulum. I call myself a non-believer, now, and when I moved to LA, it was like Neo being pulled out of The Matrix. Oh, my god, none of that stuff is true! But it was what I’d been taught and what I believed in since childhood. I believed in the devil, in Jesus, and even now as a non-believer, I’m still fascinated by that world and Revival is the scariest thing he’s written since Pet Sematary.”
The Stand continues to find barriers on its eventual path to the big screen. Warner Bros. and CBS Films first announced the cinematic adaptation in 2011, but the former’s option has since expired, so the latter will have to find another studio or use its connection to Lionsgate in order to bring the film to life. Envisioned as a three-hour movie, Boone has since revealed that The Stand is expected to encompass four different movies, again revealed by Deadline. This move practically guarantees meticulous attention to detail for the epic tale, one that spans 823 pages — and 1152 if you count the Complete & Uncut Edition released in 1990.
As for the aforementioned casting, nothing has been revealed yet. In a popular story from 2014, as revealed by Total Film, Matthew McConaughey was being considered for the main villain, Randall Flag. Whether or not he is still connected to the project is unclear. The Stand could also appear as a Showtime eight-part miniseries, an event that would be used to set up the movies. ABC made The Stand into a miniseries back in 1994, and it received mixed reviews, so fans might be wishing for a big screen outing — or four — to really do the source material justice.
With Revival now Boone’s main Stephen King-related project, don’t expect The Stand to hit cinemas any time soon. However, with the interest in the project at breaking point, more news should filter through in due course. All fans have to do is wait…
[Image via Hodder & Stoughton]