Everyone in the movie business hypes their next project as the greatest thing ever. It's why you constantly see someone like Michael Bay saying that each new Transformers movie won't have the problems the last one had. This business is about showmanship, after all, and it pays to be a good showman. Having said all that, director Josh Boone's comments about his adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand almost seem a little too good to be true.
While doing press for his latest movie, The Fault in Our Stars, this is what Boone told Vulture about The Stand, which follows a group of strangers trying to survive a deadly flu outbreak that is bringing society to its knees (and that's before the weird stuff happens):
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 many actors over the years, and like, when I met Stephen King, I hugged him with tears in my eyes. 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.
Alright, so that all sounds pretty perfect to us. If anything deserves a sprawling, three-hour epic filled with R-rated violence and a cast of the world's best actors, it is Stephen King's The Stand. We just have a hard time believing that a movie studio would also agree with that. At that length, with a cast of expensive actors, and an audience-restricting rating, there's only so much money a movie can make.
An R-rated horror movie of such scale would be a pretty unprecedented committment from a studio, and considering Warner Bros. also passed on Guillermo del Toro's massive, R-rated adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness, we're reluctant to believe those involved changed their minds and decided The Stand would be worth it. Granted, one of Stephen King's most famous books already has a huge fan base, so it's a much safer bet, but even still, if the studio were willing to go all-in on the book like this, why would Ben Affleck (or any of the other directors that followed him) have walked away from the project?
We love where Boone's heart is at, but this The Stand fan just has a hard time thinking Hollywood would make a risky, expensive bet like this when it may not make much back at the theaters. But, maybe that's the key to his comment. He says "one three-hour, R-rated version," which could certainly mean that the theatrical version will be a PG-13 affair that hovers around two hours, and then the full, uncut version will hit on Blu-ray later. And that would be totally cool with us if it happened, but we'll believe that R-rated version exists when we see it.
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