Hollywood Reporter just announced that one of the greatest novels of all time (in my humble opinion) is going to be hitting theaters. Warner Bros. and CBS Films are working together to adapt The Stand into a feature film. Nothing is really set when it comes to director, writer, actors, etc. but all the people involved will be sitting down over the upcoming weeks to discuss everything.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Stand, I grabbed the official synopsis off of King’s website for you:
“One man escapes from a biological weapon facility after an accident, carrying with him the deadly virus known as Captain Tripps, a rapidly mutating flu that – in the ensuing weeks – wipes out most of the world’s population. In the aftermath, survivors choose between following an elderly black woman to Boulder or the dark man, Randall Flagg, who has set up his command post in Las Vegas. The two factions prepare for a confrontation between the forces of good and evil.”
This is pretty exciting news I must say, but I have deep reservations at the idea of fitting an 1,100 page novel into a three hour film. Anyone who’s seen the 1994 TV adaptation of The Stand knows how complex the plot is, and even that was missing a great deal of material. I’m hoping that they’ll at least break it into two separate films (which seems to be a huge fad when it comes to adaptations nowadays anyway).
Now, as excited as I am about The Stand, nothing compares to the anticipation I have when it comes to the most recent mass release of Dark Tower movie news. The Dark Tower is one of my many obsessions, but it is definitely my number one (both of my arms are covered in DT tattoos), so you can guess how stoked I am to see it on the big screen.
For those of you who don’t know what on earth the Dark Tower is about, I can try to break it down in a few lines. The story centers around Roland Deschain, the last in a long line of Gunslingers (think white knight with more attitude, kind of like Clint Eastwood in every western movie ever) and his quest to save the Dark Tower (a linchpin that binds all possible realities together) from the forces of Chaos and Evil. The series ties in with nearly every other story that King has ever written, and combines multiple genres into a sprawling epic.
A while back, Damon Lindelof and J. J. Abrams (of LOST fame) purchased the screen rights for $19 (wink wink) but they eventually backed down from the project. All was quiet for a while until, in a rush of announcements, it was revealed that Akiva Goldsman and Ron Howard would be taking over the project, with plans to release three movies, and two television series to air between each film that will paint the back story of the characters and fill in gaps between the movies. The part of Roland was just offered to No Country for Old Men‘s Javier Bardem (who would be absolutely perfect).
I think this idea is great in theory. However, the TV series will most likely be shown on NBC which will severely limit what can and cannot be adapted. To me, that detail is crippling to the entire plan. If the plan for the TV series was to broadcast it on Showtime or HBO then I would be chomping at the bit to get this project started, but network cable is far too limited to do the Dark Tower justice.
The other issue I have is a deep seated distrust of Akiva Goldsman and Ron Howard. Now, I realize that Goldsman won an Oscar for Screenplay for A Beautiful Mind. The man has talent, for sure. What people keep glossing over however, is the fact that this is the man responsible for Lost in Space, Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin. Not a very inspiring background.
Ron Howard definitely has an excellent track record, winning multiple Oscars and proving his capability as a director, but the biggest black marks on his record are his adaptations of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons (which Goldsman worked on as well). I doubt I have to explain this to anyone but those movies were terrible, and if that’s the caliber of work they put into blockbuster novel adaptations, then I don’t want these two anywhere near my beloved Dark Tower series.
King adaptations have long been a sore subject for me. I still have trouble understanding how directors and screenwriters can take such marvelous novels and turn them into piles of steaming crap. It’s astounding, and certainly not in a good way. With a few rare exceptions (Darabont, Reiner and Garris), I have yet to see a director who can come anywhere close to capturing the feel that King’s novels possess. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these projects will turn out amazing, but I’m certainly not holding my breath.