It was revealed weeks ago that a feature film adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand, an epic tale of the survivors of a violent disease epidemic that wipes out the majority of the world's population, was one of a number of ambitious projects Warner Bros. was thinking of considerable weight behind. Tonight Drew McWeeny at HitFix elevated this news from fantasy to reality, and in doing so he broke one of the biggest movie news stories of the year.
What makes this news so huge isn't that a big screen The Stand is finally getting made 31 years after publication, it's who's making it: David Yates. That's right, the main responsible for the last four Harry Potter films is in the process of once again signing on the dotted line to direct a multi-film adaptation of an incredibly popular and influential book for Warner Bros. And if confirmation of Yates' first post-Potter film isn't big enough news on its own, HitFix also broke the news that he's bringing Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves with him.
If the tingling sensation this news induces still hasn't set in, let's bring it home in another way. After Christopher Nolan made Warner Bros. well over $1 billion between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, the studio, as a thank you, basically gave him carte blanche for his next project, which ended up being Inception. Now it's very easy to imagine that Warner Bros. made a similar offer to David Yates, only Yates's films made WB even more money than Nolan's. We're talking about a director who has made over $4 billion for a single studio. They're going to do whatever it takes to make damn sure that no matter what Yates does after Potter, it's done at their studio. So it's no stretch to imagine the conversation went a little something like this:
Warner Bros.: David, we love what you did with Harry Potter. What do you want to direct next?
David Yates: I want to do Stephen King's The Stand.
Warner Bros.: Interesting. It's already been done as a TV miniseries, but that was over a decade ago. We can try this.
David Yates: And I want the guy who wrote seven of the eight Harry Potter films to write it.
Warner Bros.: Wow, that'll probably be pricey, he's one of the most sought after screenwriters in Hollywood now.
David Yates: And I want to do it as two or even three films.
Warner Bros: Double wow, that's a big commitment...
David Yates: I just made you $4 billion.
Warner Bros.: You can do whatever the f@*k you want, just please, please, please do it for us.
Basically, The Stand could not possibly be adapted under better circumstances. Yates and Kloves are going to be given every indulgence they want on this project. So no matter what you thought of Yates and Kloves' work on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you have to admit it's incredibly exciting that anyone is going to be given the keys to the studio kingdom on one of the best novels Stephen King has ever written. And while their confirmed involvement is all we know for now, you can rest assured this is hardly the last we'll be writing about this film.
Let the fan casting begin!