If Ben Affleck, the actor, had it good when it came to choosing films, Ben Affleck, the director, has it even better. He’s three for three in terms of successful films, both commercially and critically, and his home studio of Warner Bros. wants to keep him happy. While he was rumored to be offered Justice League, one major property we know he’s been thinking about is Stephen King‘s The Stand. The novel is an epic tome about a virus that wipes out the world and the survivors who attempt to rebuild society while under a cloud of supernatural darkness.

Affleck was recently asked about status of that project and admitted adaptation was proving difficult. He also described it as “Lord of the Rings in America.” Read his quote and more after the jump.

The last update we had on the project was David Kajganich was writing it, but that was almost a year ago. Affleck’s quote from a GQ interview (via Screencrush) explains the delay:

Right now we’re having a very hard time. But I like the idea—it’s like The Lord of the Rings in America. And it’s about how we would reinvent ourselves as a society. If we started all over again, what would we do?

Affleck’s description of The Stand as the reinvention of society is telling. That idea is certainly a part of The Stand but few would say it’s the most memorable. When most people think of King’s novel (or its subpar made for TV movie) they think of the destruction of society by the disease Captain Trips or how the survivors share a dream, leading them to a confrontation with a personification of evil called the Walkin’ Dude. However, the desire to rebuild and be with people is a central theme of the book. If that’s what Affleck is focusing on, we can surmise his version would play up the humanity of the novel and play down the fantasy.

As for the Lord of the Rings aspect, The Stand is made up of three parts, telling one overall story, just like Tolkien’s masterpiece. Much of this story is about travel by walking, and a confrontation with overwhelming old evil. And, just like Rings, each story is essential to the others, making an adaptation into any kind of digestible piece of media difficult. Peter Jackson was successful because he made Rings big, and didn’t rush it. that allowed him to focus on character. A successful adaptation of The Stand would surely have to be similar.

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