Reading the Screen: The Stand
Posted by: David Pitt
According to this article at The Hollywood Reporter, Stephen King’s 1978 post-apocalyptic plague novel The Stand is coming to a movie theater near you.
The Stand, which was more than 800 pages long in its original incarnation, and more than 1000 in its 1990 “complete and uncut” reissue, is one of King’s best novels. Rich in character and story, epic in scope, it seems almost unfilmable, due to its sheer length. And, if you read the book, you’ll find that there’s nothing that can easily be cut from the story: it’s a big book, but all its parts are designed to fit together, and if you take out any of the parts you’ll weaken the story considerably.
The Stand was made into a television miniseries in 1994, with Gary Sinise as Stu Redman, the book’s nominal hero, and if the guys who are making the movie have any sense at all, they’ll ask him back to play Stu in the movie. Here’s the trailer for the miniseries:
King wrote the miniseries, too, and I think it’s probably a good thing if he works on the movie. Although, according to this THR article, King wasn’t aware of the movie until he read about it. King’s casting ideas are solid – Billy Bob Thornton as Trashcan Man and Jake Gyllenhaal as Stu Redman are both good choices — and I agree with him that The Stand might require a trilogy to get the job done.
The Stand has also been adapted as a graphic novel, with a stark, edgy visual style that would, I think, work very well on the big screen.
What do you think? Is a movie of The Stand a good idea, or folly?