When the real discussion started about The Stand being made into a feature film, Stephen King himself noted that we should expect more than one movie. At that point, people figured that meant it would be two movies. But writer/director Josh Boone just upped the ante and confirmed that it would be four movies.
Boone broke the news on Kevin Smith’s Hollywood Babble-On podcast. Check out what he had to say after the break (minor spoilers)…
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…I told the story non-linear and that was the way I was able to compress that book and get everything into that script. You open with Mother Abigail dying and sending the guys off, and then you jump back in time… 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.
However, Warner Bros. wanted to do a more expensive film with set pieces that would help them market the film overseas. So they made Boone a new offer:
They came back and said “would you do it as multiple films?” and I said “fuck yes!” 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. So I think we are going to do like four movies. I can’t tell you anything about how we’re going to do them, or what’s going to be in which movie. I’ll just say we are going to do four movies, and we’re going to do The Stand at the highest level you can do it at, with a cast that’s going to blow people’s minds. We’ve already been talking to lots of people, and have people on board in certain roles that people don’t know about. We’re looking to go into production next year, maybe in the spring.
Now, while I sometimes worry that breaking book adaptations up into multiple movies could be problematic (I’m looking at you The Hobbit), I’m intrigued by the idea of it happening with The Stand. To me, the book already has natural breaks in the story. If you add in how many characters there are and how many different storylines and locations actually go into it, I can see how four movies would make it much easier to tell the story in a fulfilling way.
I’m much more worried about how watching the first movie is going to turn me into a raging Captain Tripps hypochondriac for months.
You can check out more of what Josh Boone had to say in the podcast: