the stand first look

Director Josh Boone loves Stephen King. In addition to giving the prolific horror author a small role in his first film, Stuck in Love, Boone has dedicated the past half decade to adapting King’s work. One of those adaptations, a film version of the novel Revival, didn’t come together. But the other, an adaptation of King’s massive The Stand, will be a 10-episode miniseries on CBS All Access.

We recently spoke to Boone about his upcoming X-Men film The New Mutants, but he also supplied us with updates on The Stand and told us what went down with Revival. Constant readers of King will be happy to know that Boone describes his touchstones for the Stand miniseries as being both Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone, a combination that, somehow, feels just about right.

While a Revival movie is being made by Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan, Boone took a crack at it. As he explained to us, it was important that he make a Stephen King project for personal reasons, and, quite frankly, The Stand just happened to come together first:

I love that book [Revival], but you’ve gotta understand, I put King in my first movie as himself, I had written him a letter when I was a kid. I’ve told this story so many times, ad nauseam, probably, but I was raised by a very religious family, and I used to have to kind of sneak reading Stephen King. My mom would burn his books in the fireplace. So I wrote him a letter when I was young, he signed some books for me, I went back to him years later, put him in my first movie, Stuck in Love, as a cameo as himself, and so over the next however many years after that, I dabbled in a couple different Stephen King books and carried The Stand from Warner Bros. to CBS over the course of five or six years. It was really less which specific thing, and like, one of these things I’m going to make. Once I’d made The Stand, I’m not going to immediately go out and make something Stephen King-related, you know? It took so long to make that one. I loved Revival as well, but I love Mike Flanagan, and I think he’ll do a fantastic job on that one.

Meanwhile, The Stand managed to finish production shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down film and television productions around the world. Considering that the novel opens with a plague wiping out most of humanity, it’s either the absolute best or worst time for an adaptation of the novel. Boone is taking it in stride:

I know, right? It’s one of those things. Will you be pandemic-ed out by then? But so much of it isn’t really about that. It’s so much more what comes after [the pandemic]. But yeah, we’re excited about it. Couldn’t have gotten a better cast or a better group of people to make it.

As for the miniseries itself, Boone confirmed that he directed the first and last episode, with King himself penning the finale:

We were really lucky. I wasn’t there the whole time. I directed the first and last episode, I wrote the first episode with Ben Cavell and really worked on developing this for years with Knate Lee, my co-writer from New Mutants, and Jill Killington, who’s my other producing partner. We worked on this with Ben, developing this for CBS once I brought it over from Warner Bros. and got it up and running, cast everything, hired all the directors, and then right at the beginning, I shot the first episode and the last episode. And King wrote the last episode. So I already got to shoot an original King script, so I guess what I say is, I don’t worry so much about whether I made Revival or not, you know what I mean? [laughs] I got to scratch my itch. But we’re really excited about it. The cast is incredible. I brought Henry [Zaga] over from New Mutants and it has some of these actors involved in this project for years and years who hung on with me and stuck with me to go make it. We hired a bunch of great filmmakers and showrunners and just great people to help bring it all to fruition.

So, what does The Stand, a novel that combines supernatural terror, grand adventure, and grandiose excess, feel like on screen? Boone mentioned a surprising duo of legendary filmmakers as key influences while promising that yes, the fact that this will be a streaming series means they can embrace King’s R-rated qualities:

[We] thought about like Close Encounters and the way those Spielberg movies felt in the ‘70s, and crazy Oliver Stone movies in the ‘90s. Kind of merging those things to tell this epic, dark fantasy. I think it’ll be really cool. The main thing we have going for us that the original didn’t have going for it is that we can really do it at a really high level in terms of the R-rated content and things like that which just weren’t possible then.

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