A feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Stand has been in the works for quite some time, but as of yet no filmmaker has been able to crack the sprawling post-apocalyptic pic for Warner Bros. Harry Potter helmer David Yates initially flirted with the idea of directing the feature as his first post-Potter project, but he subsequently dropped out after admitting he couldn’t figure out how to turn the book into a satisfying film. Ben Affleck then came onboard to write and direct, and after he too admitted the adaptation was a tough nut to crack, he moved on in favor of focusing on Live by Night and playing Batman in Batman vs. Superman.
The project is now in the hands of Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper, and while promoting his second film Out of the Furnace, the filmmaker discussed his approach to the material with a fair amount of confidence and even addressed the notion of Christian Bale taking on a role in the eventual feature. Hit the jump to read on. [Update: That was fast. The Wrap now reports that Cooper has fallen off The Stand due to creative differences with the studio. Perhaps Warner Bros. wasn’t keen on Cooper’s no-soundstages approach?]
Cooper was first announced as the new writer and director of The Stand only a few months ago, so he is understandably still working out the screenplay. However, he did drop a few hints of what to expect when speaking with MTV:
“It’s a daunting challenge to take a very long and beloved novel and try to condense that to one standalone film. Some of the stuff I’ve written is harrowing and searingly realistic and very grounded. Mr. King has been very gracious, is a fan of Crazy Heart and was very happy that I am adapting it, and it’s a process.”
Though Warner Bros. had been mulling over the possibility of turning The Stand into a two-film adaptation, it sounds like Cooper is planning on condensing the material into one feature. Moreover, he intends to maintain his signature style of shooting exclusively on location:
“There’s a reason that film hasn’t been made, because it’s the themes and the scope and the size, and of course my approach—much like with Out of the Furnace—is searingly realistic, and that can be a very expensive endeavor but one that perhaps maybe doesn’t marry with how a movie like that should be shot, just because of the sheer expense.”
MTV also asked Cooper whether his Out of the Furnace star Christian Bale is a possibility to lead The Stand, and he didn’t entirely rule it out:
“Well Christian’s a part of everything that I’m writing, and I tend to share things with Christian in the infancy stage that I don’t share with other people. He’s become not only one of my closest friends but a great collaborator and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Christian and me teaming up on many things.”
It’s obviously still early in the development process, but I would absolutely love to see Cooper’s sensibilities on a grand scale in this adaptation. Here’s hoping he’s able to see it through to fruition. Watch the video interview below.