This week Josh Boone (director of the current "dying-teens-in-love cancer epic" The Fault In Our Stars) announced he's working on a film version of Stephen King's novel The Stand. If that wasn't enough of a red flag for you, Boone also says he plans to turn King's sprawling epic into ONE three hour film. Oy gevalt.
As a longtime fan of The Stand, I'm extremely disappointed by this news.
I first read The Stand way back in 1979 and became an instant fan. I've read both versions of the book many, many times over the years, so I know of what I speak. Trust me when I say that trying to cram the novel into one movie is a very bad idea.
The Stand is a massive book with a huge cast of characters-- at least 28 by my count. I can guarantee they're not all going to make the cut in a three hour film. The 1994 ABC miniseries was six hours long. Even at that length they had to drop certain characters and combine others, as well as eliminate entire subplots. There's no way in hell a two or even three hour version can do justice to the book. It'll be The Stand Lite.
I don't understand why Boone wants to make just one measly film. Hollywood is positively desperate for franchises these days, optioning any multi-book series they can get their hands on. The Stand could easily be turned into a trilogy along the lines of The Hunger Games and Divergence. Heck, the book's already divided into three parts-- Captain Trips, On The Border and The Stand-- for the filmmaker's convenience. They could feature the super flu plague in the first film, deal with the survivors and their attempts to rebuild society in the second, and then confront Randall Flagg in the third. It seems like a no-brainer to me.
Not only does one film not make artistic sense, it's a bad financial decision as well. Why make one subpar film that'll piss off fans of the novel and tank at the box office, when you could make three good ones that'd rake in at least $150 or $200 million each? They could even split the third film in two, as is the ever increasingly popular custom these days (again, see The Hunger Games and Divergence), and generate another aircraft carrier full of cash.
And once the theatrical runs were over they could sell each of the three (or four) films separately on DVD and blu ray, then combine them and sell 'em all over again in a special collector's set. It'd be like a license to print money!
Please, Josh Boone, stop siding with The Walkin' Dude and reconsider this cockamamie three hour film idea and turn The Stand into a trilogy like it deserves. As Tom Cullen would say, "M-O-O-N, that spells boffo box office!"