Josh Boone gave vulture.com a glimpse at his plans for the theatrical version of The Stand.
We’re gonna do one three-hour, R-rated version with an amazing A-list cast across the board. Every single one of those characters will be somebody you recognize and somebody you relate to. And it’s gonna be awesome. I’m really excited. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever got to do in my entire life. If 12-year-old me had ever known that one day I’d be doing this, to even just go back and look at that kid, I’d be like, Keep doing what you’re doing! It’s just crazy. I’ve met so manyVulture's Gilbert Cruz did not follow up on that statement at all. over the years, and like, when I met , I hugged him with tears in my . He meant that much to me when I was young. I still say everything I learned about writing I learned from Stephen King. I don’t read screenplays. I don’t read screenplay how-to books. It’s always just, establish the character. Establish the character.
So let's size that up:
1. It's going to be "ONE" three hour movie.
One. ONE! Uno.
Okay, the hobbit is about 276 pages. It is being made into three movies. The Stand is over 1,000 pages; and it is going to be made into one movie. See a problem? They are turning an epic story into a three hour cram session.
The Stand is enormously complex in terms of plot and character alone. It simply cannot (CANNOT) be done in 3 hours. Remember the History Channel's adaptation of The Bible miniseries? It skipped and dipped and made such a mess of things it left anyone who knew much about the Bible cringing. In fact, the final scenes tried to accomplish the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles and the Revelation all in just a few brief scenes. It was terrible. Will we have to suffer through similar carnage with The Stand?
Here's what's frustrating: When a book has a really great scene, and the movie barely gives that a cursory nod. The film doesn't have time to build up suspense as Larry heads toward the Lincoln Tunnel, just as well spend much time with him navigating through it. There isn't time to build the scenes, because the plot is so big, it has to just keep bombarding us with more information.
There is no room for character development. Characters will have to be combined, cut or barely mentioned.
King released the "Complete and Uncut" edition. Now Boone is going to give us a version even Readers Digest wouldn't recognize. A three hour version of The Stand is like a circumcision that cuts off the entire. . . never mind. Let's just say that three hours isn't enough time to set the stage and tell the early stories; just as well complete the entire novel.
2. There's going to be lots of big names. Yeah -- I don't care. King once said it's the tale, not he who tells it. And sometimes with movies, it's about the story, not the actors. Some movies get so focused on the actors that it loses sight of the most important thing; the story.
A cast of unknowns made Star Wars. However, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Anna Faris, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gerard Butler, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Terrence Howard, Elizabeth Banks, and Julianne Moore couldn't save Movie 43, about which Lou Lumenick of the New York Post worte, "If you mashed-up the worst parts of the infamous Howard the Duck, Gigli, Ishtar and every other awful movie I've seen since I started reviewing professionally in 1981, it wouldn't begin to approach the sheer soul-sucking badness of the cringe-inducing Movie 43."
3. It's going to be an R-rated version.
Okay, I guess. I'm not sure I'm really familiar with movies aiming to get an R-rating. Surely what he is trying to say is that the movie will be more gritty, scary and so on than the mini-series was.
What's really going on with this R-rating talk is an apology. "Sorry we're only making one movie when we should make three. But hey, we'll put a lot of gore and sex into it, and that should make things better." Toss in there, "And, don't get mad yet, because we are going to get a lot of really super name actors that you'll recognize right off the bat. That will make it a great movie." He's apologizing! Groveling. Begging. "Please don't give up on my movie. I'll make a lot of things go boom and spend a lot of money."
Can it be done? I guess. Can it be done well? No way. Thus far, I like the cover of Revival better than I like this news about The Stand.
The Stand is one of those novels the Constant Reader really doesn't want Hollywood to touch unless they know what they're doing. It's an American classic. Look, don't mess up To Kill A Mocking Bird, The Grapes of Wrath or The Stand.