Back in 1994 America’s ABC network ran a four-episode limited series, on consecutive nights, based on the acclaimed Stephen King story, The Stand featuring the likes of Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald and and Rob Lowe in key roles. King’s story deals with an post-apocalyptic take between the possible personfications of good and evil in a world that has been hit by a weaponised flu-virus. The series casting was impressive for the time and The Stand is often cited as one of King’s most ambitious books, but long before the rise of cable and wider, independent productions, the tv budget and primetime limitations meant that the eventual result stripped away some of the wider story and reviews were decidedly mixed.
But television isn’t scared of multiple apocalypses (apocalypti?) and nearly twenty-five years later is taking another crack at the material. The CBS All Access platform, which is having success in bringing big budgets to high profile tv productions such as Star Trek: Discovery, has ordered a ten-episode limited series adaptation.
“I’m excited and so very pleased that The Stand is going to have a new life on this exciting new platform,” Stephen King said in a statement. “The people involved are men and women who know exactly what they’re doing; the scripts are dynamite. The result bids to be something memorable and thrilling. I believe it will take viewers away to a world they hope will never happen.”
Josh Boone (who directed and penned the now hugely-delayed The New Mutants movie) is set to co-write and direct the series after originally working to bring a cinematic adaptation to the screen. It’s possible that the bad reviews for another King property, The Dark Tower, which many felt would have made a better limited series than the eventual movie it was, factored into the decision for a serial format. SEAL Team creator and Justified writer Ben Cavell will be a co-writer on the project.
“I read The Stand under my bed when I was 12, and my Baptist parents burned it in our fireplace upon discovery,” Boone explains in a statement. “Incensed, I stole my Dad’s FedEx account number and mailed King a letter professing my love for his work. Several weeks later, I came home to find a box had arrived from Maine, and inside were several books, each inscribed with a beautiful note from god himself, who encouraged me in my writing and thanked me for being a fan. My parents, genuinely moved by King’s kindness and generosity, lifted the ban on his books that very day.”
There’s no news on casting or on when the new limited series would be broadcast – though late 2020 would be a reasonable guess given the scale of the production needed.