When Stephen King’s novel The Stand hit shelves in 1978, it did so with a resounding thud. Though King’s highly anticipated book had garnered high praise from his many fans, The Stand proved to be a financial flop upon release. Millions of readers sat perplexed by its over-the-top apocalypse and found it difficult to keep track of the various characters within its expansive cast. In fact, these readers would take nearly 30 years before any attempt was made to adapt The Stand into film or television. Now that an adaptation has finally been greenlit, many are wondering whether adapting The Stand is the right move or not. Fortunately, fans of King’s oeuvre can relax knowing that this adaptation isn’t just any other fantasy novel translated onto celluloid.
Stephen King’s masterwork The Stand centers on a pandemic called “The Plague” that wipes out most of humanity in the United States (and much of the rest of the world). It is also one of his most accessible novels as well as one of his funniest books (thanks to a scene involving a giant toy dog). Adapting Stephen King’s epic tale for the big screen may seem like an impossible task, but luckily for movie buffs, this new adaptation manages to succeed where others have failed before it – albeit with admittedly mixed results.
What is The Stand?
The Stand is Stephen King’s mammoth, sprawling novel that follows a pandemic called “The Plague” that wipes out most of humanity in the United States (and much of the rest of the world). The novel is divided into three parts, each of which explores one aspect of the story. The first part tells the tale of Stu Redman and his family as they try to survive through a decimated America. The second part takes place years later, when Stu and his family are forced to fight off a group of cannibals who have stolen their house. The third part, which takes place years after that, sees Stu and his new-found friends fighting off an army led by Randall Flagg, who has been systematically killing off humanity for decades.
Why Is One of Stephen King’s Epics Being Adapted?
The Stand has been adapted for film and television many times over the course of 30 years, but why is it so important to bring this novel to life?
Before The Stand was adapted into a film, it had already been adapted into a series of comic books. King’s novel was originally published in 1978, but it wasn’t until 1990 that Marvel Comics released an adaptation. Though the comics are now out-of-print, they were so popular that they actually sold more than 100 million copies worldwide!
Although the adaptations done in comics are not part of this new film adaptation, adapting The Stand may be worth the effort when considering how the novel itself still enjoys strong sales. In addition to its massive readership, Stephen King himself rewrote parts of The Stand for his short story collection Everything’s Eventual (in which he also wrote introductions for each story). This makes adapting The Stand for TV or film a good move as fans will likely enjoy seeing their favorite characters and events from their favorite book brought to life on-screen.
The Stand’s Adaptation History
In 1978, author Stephen King published his highly anticipated novel The Stand. Unfortunately, the book was not met with overwhelming success. Though it garnered high praise from his many fans, The Stand proved to be a financial flop upon release. Millions of readers sat perplexed by its over-the-top apocalypse and found it difficult to keep track of the various characters within its expansive cast. In fact, these readers would take nearly 30 years before any attempt was made to adapt The Stand into film or television. Now that an adaptation has finally been greenlit, many are wondering whether adapting The Stand is the right move or not. Fortunately, fans of King’s oeuvre can relax knowing that this adaptation isn’t just any other fantasy novel translated onto celluloid.
The Stand (also known as “The Dark Tower” in some editions) is Stephen King’s masterwork and one of his most accessible novels as well as one of his funniest books (thanks to a scene involving a giant toy dog). Adapting Stephen King’s epic tale for the big screen may seem like an impossible task, but luckily for movie buffs, this new adaptation manages to succeed where others have failed before it – albeit with admittedly mixed results.
Ben Blacker as the Stand’s Writer and Director
The Stand, published in 1978, is a story of an apocalypse that lasts nearly 30 years. The novel’s more than 800-page length makes it difficult to translate onto the screen. Thankfully, writer and director Ben Blacker () has taken on the task and managed to condense this sprawling narrative into a two-hour film.
Blacker’s handiwork is evident in the decision to focus on one group of characters – the survivors of the plague – for most of its run time. This also helps with pacing by giving viewers a chance to watch these characters struggle with their new reality as they try to find their way home and figure out what happened to everyone else. In fact, some of these characters are even given backstories that help flesh them out further within the context of Blacker’s adaptation. Like the book, Blacker’s adaptation at times struggles with its human element. But ultimately, The Stand manages to live up to King’s legacy and make readers feel satisfied upon completion (even if it doesn’t quite achieve the same cinematic heights as other King adaptations like It).
2 Words: R.J. Wright
R.J. Wright was the director of this new adaptation, which is a smart move considering Wright’s previous success with Stephen King adaptations – including both It and The Dark Tower series.
This movie is the first adaptation of The Stand in over thirty years and it is exciting to see that Stephen King fans are finally getting their chance to watch this masterpiece on screen.
The novel opens with a bang as an apocalyptic event wipes out most of humanity in America, followed by three more such events around the world. This kind of story requires a lot of exposition for its audience to keep up with all of its characters and plot twists, but luckily the film does a pretty good job at conveying what’s going on without feeling too confusing. This new adaptation manages to stay true to Stephen King’s original book while also adding some creative liberties and refreshingly modern elements that make it feel like an entirely new story for those who may have previously read or seen the book. Though overall it manages to stay true to the spirit of Stephen King’s work, there are some changes here and there that stop this from reaching perfection and leave certain parts feeling jarring or awkward. For example, while they do manage to tell the same story, they strip away some of the dark humor present in the novel (often due to censorship reasons) which leaves some scenes feeling heavy-handed or earnest instead of tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic; this ultimately prevents any true sense of levity or relief when necessary
3 Words: Rachel Talalay as the Stand’s Director
MGM’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand is directed by Rachel Talalay, the Emmy Award-winning director behind hit TV shows including Stargate SG-1 and Doctor Who. With her unique style and affinity for crafting horror, Talalay has brought a new perspective to this classic story that was sorely needed.
The Stand’s casting is also intriguing – Johnny Depp stars as the enigmatic Randall Flagg, while Rob Morgan (who co-created the acclaimed drama Orphan Black) plays Stu Redman. It’s not hard to see why these two actors have been tapped to play these iconic roles as both are well-known for their work in genre films.
4 Words: Luke Meyer as the Stand’s Editor and Producer
The Stand is a Stephen King classic and in the hands of Luke Meyer, it becomes a character-driven story that doesn’t sacrifice either its dark tone or its campy humor. Like most other adaptations of King’s novels, The Stand is not without its flaws. Its lack of faithfulness to the source material and the abrupt conclusion are among some of its more glaring weaknesses, but these minor faults do not take away from the overall quality of this new adaptation. Luke Meyer’s direction is something to be admired as he manages to bring out both the comic and dramatic aspects of this sprawling novel while also focusing on its inherent humor.
5 Words: Final Thoughts
on “The Stand”
– It’s an epic tale of survival.
– The film is a mixed bag.
– See, and then decide for yourself!
– As one of Stephen King’s most accessible novels, it’s a good choice for adapting for the big screen.