If you're a regular reader of my blog (as millions are), you'll know I'm a big fan of Stephen King's novel The Stand, and have been following the development of the new movie adaptation quite closely (with a sense of ever-increasing dismay).
In June 2014 it was announced that Josh Boone would direct the new film. Boone previously directed the teens with cancer tearjerker The Fault In Our Stars, which of course makes him the perfect choice to helm a fantasy/horror epic about the end of the world. That was red flag #1.
Boone then announced he was going to somehow distill the 1150 page novel down into one measly three hour movie. That was red flag #2.
As a long-time fan of the book I didn't see any way one film could possibly do the story justice. The 1994 ABC miniseries was six hours long and they still had to drop characters and subplots for time.
It also didn't make sense to me from a monetary standpoint. Hollywood is positively desperate for film franchises these days, and The Stand could easily be turned into three films. Heck, the novel is already divided into three sections for the filmmaker's convenience. Turning it into a movie trilogy seemed like a no-brainer to me. They could even split the last film in two, as is increasingly the fashion these days (I'm lookin' at you, Hunger Games and Insurgent).
Then in November 2014, cooler heads prevailed as Boone announced he'd changed his mind, and The Stand would be three, possibly even four films. Huzzah! Delete one of the red flags.
He then went on to say that he had no idea what would be in which film, and said he wanted to make "a grounded, credible version of the movie." Uh-oh. There's that word again— "grounded." What the hell does that even mean? I keep hearing writers and directors say it over and over these days, usually about sci-fi and fantasy films. Because of course everyone wants to see a "grounded" and realistic version of Superman or the Fantastic Four. I'm adding two more red flags, for a total of three.
This week Josh Boone's changed his mind about The Stand yet again. It seems he now wants to turn the novel into an eight part Showtime miniseries. Eh... OK, I suppose. Not quite what I expected or wanted, but I suppose it could turn out OK, as Showtime generally does good work. But wait, there's more! The miniseries will lead directly into a theatrical film that will conclude the story.
Jesus Jetskiing Christ! Are you fraking kidding me?
What a bone-headed idea! Why the hell would you start up the story on cable, but then make people leave their homes and drive to the cineplex to see the goddamned ending?
And what about people who see the movie but didn't see the miniseries? Are they going to have a fifteen minute prologue to get the audience up to speed?
I don't understand why it's so hard to get this film onto movie screens. Jesus, if dreck like Mortdecai and Paul Blart 2 can get green lit, why can't something good like The Stand? And what about money? Surely a Showtime miniseries couldn't possibly gross as much as four theatrical films could?
This movie has gone from one film to four and now to a combo TV show/theatrical release. It's patently obvious at this point that Boone is in over his head and doesn't have any idea what the hell he wants to do.
I'm looking forward to next month when Boone announces an animated version of The Stand, or one performed by an all-puppet cast. The Stand: The Musical perhaps?
I'm coming perilously close to giving up on the whole thing and letting this miniseries or movie or whatever the hell it is go watch itself. I'll be home rereading the book again, thanks.