There is no doubt that Warner Bros. loves Ben Affleck. The actor/director has brought the studio critical acclaim with “The Town,” and he’s already behind the camera on his next effort for the studio “Argo.” But before that film got underway, WB had already passed movies like “Man Of Steel” and “Gangster Squad” his way as potential projects, and while he turned those down, it looks like they’ve nabbed him for what will be his first bonafide tentpole picture.
The massive tome tells the story of a virus that kills off 99% of the world’s population, and a pack of survivors who come head to head with another group led by Randall Flagg, a creature of pure evil with supernatural powers. And this isn’t the first time a movie version has been tried. George Romero worked on an adaptation in the 1980s, as did “Excalibur” scribe Rospo Pallenberg, but it never came together. You may remember the well received 1994 six-hour ABC miniseries starring Gary Sinise and Rob Lowe, but that was hampered by small screen sized budget and the story will definitely benefit from a big league studio’s money and special effects.
We presume the script from WB fave Steve Kloves — the man who penned the “Harry Potter” pictures and adapted “Akira” — is still in play, and though the trade cautions that it’s early days, it seems that for whatever reason, talks with Yates didn’t work out. Whether he transitions to one of the other projects he had been circling this year — “Cicero,” a trilogy centered on the rise and fall of Al Capone; “Fables,” an adaptation of the Vertigo graphic novel centered around revamped fairy tale characters or a big screen version of the novel “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper — remains to be seen. And as for Affleck, he’ll be caught up in “Argo” for a while yet so “The Stand” doesn’t seem likely to roll until late 2012 at the earliest.
However, with WB already lining up “Akira,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Arthur & Lancelot” to shoot next year, it seems they are laying out an impressive slate of tentpoles to carry them to 2013 and beyond. And with “The Stand” looking to spread out over a trilogy, they will have a solid series to anchor their summers for the next few years.