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Hollywood adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand will be a four-film series

A big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s epic post-apocalyptic novel The Stand has been in the works for years now and emerged at various points in myriad forms — including standalone movies of different lengths, a trilogy, and so on. Now comes word that the latest plans for the project have the story being told over four feature-length films with writer/director Josh Boone (The Fault In Our Stars) attached to bring the dark saga to life.

The story of a terrible disease that has an apocalyptic effect on humanity and the ensuing struggle between good and evil that develops among survivors, The Stand was previously adapted as an eight-hour television miniseries in 1994 based on a screenplay penned by King.

Boone discussed the studio’s current big-screen plans for The Stand during the most recent episode of Kevin Smith’s Hollywood Babble-On podcast (subsequently transcribed by SlashFilm), and explained how the project went form being a standalone film to a four-part series.

“I really wanted to do an A-list actor, really grounded, credible version of the movie. I sold them on that and they hired me…I sold them on a single, three hour movie. I went and got [Stephen] King sold on it, everybody’s really excited. … So what happened is the script gets finished, I write it in like five months, everybody loves it, King loves it, $87 million is what it was budgeted at, really expensive for a horror drama that doesn’t have set pieces. … They came back and said ‘Would you do it as multiple films?’ and I said ‘F–k yes!'”

While he couldn’t offer up any details about the four-part project, Boone did reveal some of the ways he initially compressed the sprawling novel into a single film. By taking one major, mid-story element and beginning with that point in the film, the rest of the story could be told in flashbacks that occur as the characters move forward in the plot.

“I told the story non-linear and that was the way I was able to compress that book and get everything into that script,” he explained. “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.”

According to Boone, some of the casting for the film is already in place, with production expected to begin next spring in 2015.