Affleck discusses The Stand script
It's been a while since we heard that Ben Affleck has been working on The Stand, over a year in fact, and he's recently mentioned the project in an interview revealing why it has been taking so long, a fact which we really shouldn't be surprised about considering the length of the novel he's adapting.
There is an interesting angle that he's coming out with for the film though and it shows that he's not concentrating on any of the surface plot threads you might pull out from the novel when you think of what The Stand is about.
The Stand (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) is the story of the end of the world and about groups of survivors from an apocalypse brought about by a virus that has escaped from a government facility, a virus that wipes out nearly everything on the planet. The survivors are rounded up by two very different forces and brought together across a pretty epic journey for a final reckoning that looks set to decide the future of humans. It features Stephen King's villain Randall Flagg as well as a host of other strong characters, all in all it's a great book from King and brings together a lot of his themes and styles into one epic story.
Therein lies the problem, it's an epic story that is huge in novel format never mind adaptation to film, something that any writer I think would find challenging, and that's exactly what Ben Affleck is saying. Speaking to GQ through ScreenCrush and /Film both the interviewer and the interviewee mention the scale of the task:
Affleck is also working on an adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand, struggling to condense its epic nature into a manageable form.
"Right now we're having a very hard time. But I like the idea-it's like The Lord of the Rings in America. And it's about how we would reinvent ourselves as a society. If we started all over again, what would we do?"
No wonder it's a hard time, there's a lot to adapt and a lot more to leave out and it's that fact that many fans of the novel are worried about.
It's the focus of the comment from Affleck that is the interesting part for me, where he's really trying to tell the story from and it isn't the epic good versus evil, the interpretation of the bible parables in modern day or anything like that, it's how society would start over again if it had the chance.
Now it's been a while since I read the book or seen the mini-series but I don't remember this being a huge core of the plot, certainly it's there but the recreation of society isn't what springs to mind when I think about the novel although it is something that you start thinking about when reading the book.
It makes me wonder then if this is going to be a straight adaptation or if he's going to push it forward a little, after all the real recreation of society comes after the big battle at the end of the book doesn't it? That's when all the work really begins. Up until then they've been a small group trying to get to a destination.
Maybe I can put this down to not having read the book in a long time but it does feel like Affleck's looking a little off the page for something interesting to come from The Stand, and that doesn't put me off in fact it makes me more interested.