Exclusive: Josh Boone talks his The Stand series & previous attempts
While chatting with the writer/director for the long-awaited final X-Men franchise film The New Mutants, ComingSoon.net got Josh Boone to open up about his work on the forthcoming miniseries of Stephen King’s The Stand, including his and other filmmakers’ previous attempts to adapt the iconic novel for a second time.
Boone, who directed the first and final episodes of the upcoming miniseries, has been developing the project for nearly seven years, originally planning a four-film adaptation of King’s 1978 novel before changing gears with CBS All Access for the nine-episode series instead.
“I brought a lot of the cast with me, but my focus primarily was on the first and the last and all the people I worked with, like Knate Lee, who co-wrote New Mutants with me,” Boone explained. “Our producing partner Jill and Owen King, they dealt with a lot of the rest of it, but that was a multi-year deal like this, where it took six or seven years to get it from one end to the other.”
This extended length of time developing the project brought the opportunity for Boone to get his hands on the scripts from previous attempts at adapting the novel, given that CBS had bought the rights to the novel from Warner Bros. and with them the scripts, including George A. Romero’s from the ’80s that would die in development hell, as well as Scott Cooper and Ben Affleck’s drafts, with both dropping out due to creative differences.
“Getting to read Scott Cooper’s draft was awesome, it’s very different from the book but it’s very cool and it’s very Scott Cooper,” Boone described. “There were some other drafts, like there was the Affleck drafts, I don’t think he was the writer of it but I know he was involved in the drafts. I read some stuff like that, I have always wanted to read the George A. Romero version, I’ve seen some storyboards of it, his Lincoln Tunnel storyboards. One of the best things we had is somebody who’s worked with Peter for years is our first AD, Nick Mastandrea, who worked on every George A. Romero movie, all the early Pittsburgh ones and through the ’80s. He was like horror royalty, so I had as many of those guys from when they made real movies with practical effects as I could.”
In looking at the tenth and final episode of the series, Boone revealed that King has provided the series with a coda not previously included in the novel and teased what viewers can expect in the expansion of the 823-page source material.
“King wrote us a lovely coda, which is sort of the story he’s wanted to tell for a long time that takes place immediately after The Stand that provides an additional resolution for Franny, who’s sort of not involved in the climax of the book, which I thought was really, really brilliant and a deeply moving script,” Boone excitedly revealed. “I was so moved to get to go make it.”
The nine-episode series adaptation of Stephen King’s novel from writers Boone and Ben Cavell (SEAL Team), reveals that this is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after, a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.
The Stand will feature a star-studded cast that includes James Marsden (Westworld) as Stu Redman, Amber Heard (Aquaman) as Nadine Cross, Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies) as Randall Flagg, Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets) as Glen Bateman, Whoopi Goldberg (Nobody’s Fool) as Mother Abigail, Odessa Young (Assassination Nation) as Frannie Goldsmith, Nat Wolff (Paper Towns) as Lloyd Henreid, Henry Zaga (The New Mutants) as Nick Andros, Jovan Adepo (Overlord) as Larry Underwood, Owen Teague (IT) as Harold Lauder, Brad William Henke (Orange Is the New Black) as Tom Cullen, Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) as Cobb, a new character, Katherine McNamara (Arrow) as Julie Lawry, Eion Bailey (Band of Brothers) as Teddy Weizak, Hamish Linklater (Legion) as Dr. Ellis and Heather Graham (The Hangover) as Rita Blakemoor.
King wrote the tenth and final episode of the series, which will reportedly include a new “coda” to the story that wasn’t part of the author’s novel. Boone will also direct the series for CBS Television Studios. Boone, Roy Lee, Jimmy Miller, Richard P. Rubinstein, and Cavell will executive produce. Will Weiske and Miri Yoon will co-executive produce with Owen King serving as producer.
(Photo Credit: Matthew Simmons/Getty Images for SBIFF)