Josh Boone is far from the obvious choice to direct a feature length version of The Stand; but The Fault in Our Stars filmmaker is an ardent Stephen King fanatic, a whole subplot in Boone’s debut Stuck in Love is dedicated to the prolific writer’s output. A bevy of filmmakers have tried and failed to bring King’s seemingly un-adaptable post-apocalyptic novel to the big screen. George A. Romero, David Yates, Ben Affleck & Scott Cooper have all been attached at some point or another. But it seems Boone has finally done the seemingly impossible – the writer/director is now gearing up to direct a “three hour version with an A-List cast across the board.”
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Boone, in anticipation of the Blu-ray release of The Fault in Our Stars, about the status of The Stand. In the following interview with Boone, he discusses Stephen King’s reaction to the finished screenplay, when he hopes to start filming, how closely it will stick to the novel and what he had to excise from the 1000 page book for the film adaptation. In addition, Boone briefly touched upon recent reports that he is in talks to direct Lestat, the second in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Hit the jump for the full interview.
JOSH BOONE: I mean it’s amazing. I finished writing the script maybe a month ago. Stephen [King] absolutely loved it. It’s, I think, the first script ever approved by him. [It’ll be] a single version movie of The Stand. Three hours. It hews very closely to the novel. It was such an amazing process. I’m so familiar with [King’s] work and I’ve read so many of his books so many times over the years that it was just a really comfortable thing to be able to work with his material. He gives you so much great material to work with. There’s an abundance of it. So it’s not a book where you have to generate new material and make it work for a movie. He writes so cinematically and his characters are so sharply drawn. You don’t have to change much. [You use] a lot of structural things to condense a thousand pages into a three-hour movie but it’s still at heart his material. I just made it work within the confines of what a single film can be.
That’s what I was going to ask — when you’re adapting something so gargantuan, how do you decide what to excise?
BOONE: I just focused on the things that I felt strongly about, that I have strong memories about, that are evocative to me even when I read it now. You just have an internal interest meter. The Stand is about so many things — you could make ten to fifteen different movies and focus on a different aspect of it. I just focussed on the things that were more important to me and felt essential to me and were based in the characters.
Do you have any idea yet when you’re going to start shooting?
BOONE: It takes a long time to prep a film like that. Six to eight months. I don’t imagine we would shoot the movie until next Spring at the earliest. And we’re still early in the process. I’m still meeting actors and having budget meetings and all that.
It strikes me that while The Fault in Our Stars seems to be set in a very nihilist & existential universe, The Stand is steeped in religion and spirituality. How do you reconcile those contrasting themes within your work?
BOONE: I grew up in a very religious household. When I was about ten or eleven my parents became… I had always gone to church growing up but it was never the center of our lives; but when I was ten or eleven my parents became very hardcore Born Again Christians who believed in The Rapture and demons and the devil. That became so oppressive that I turned against it. I’m now probably an agnostic on a good day and an atheist on a bad day. But I still remember all that stuff when I was a child and I still think there’s powerful things you can learn from any religion or any great teacher like Jesus or whoever. It all applies so well to stories. I appreciate anything that can be utilized to help tell a story more effectively.
BOONE: But I would argue that [Lestat’s] a romance film. If you look at Interview with a Vampire, it’s about two people who are sort of in a toxic marriage for a century. You know what I mean? [Lestat] really is still a character-driven story about a relationship.
What is the status on Lestat?
BOONE: I’m still in the process… Really I haven’t even officially been hired yet. I’m still in the process of trying to get hired. I’m always surprised when those things leak online. But I love it and I want to do it. I’m just in the developmental stage where I’m still kicking the project around.
*A full interview with Boone will run later in the week, in which he delves into the process and making of The Fault in Our Stars.