If you want news that I couldn’t have predicted with a gun to my head, this one will do. As Deadline tells us, Ben Affleck will be adapting Stephen King‘s epic The Stand, about two and a half months after it was announced that David Yates and Steve Kloves — director and writer, respectively, of the final Harry Potter films — would be handling the considerable task.
Why was there this swap? I can’t imagine; the directing and writing duo made the studio an absurd amount of money over the past several years, and the proposed two-to-three film approach for one of Stephen King‘s most successful works would surely pull in plenty of coin. Maybe things just didn’t pan out in the negotiation stage. If so, let’s — only for one second, I promise — think about what Yates might do next. A couple of options are on the table, the most exciting of which is a multi-film Al Capone biopic, Cicero, with Tom Hardy set to play the notorious gangster. Although I’d prefer to see him direct The Stand over Ben Affleck, that’s not a bad trade in any regard. I’m still holding out hopes that Kloves will stay onboard; his achievement in shaping Harry Potter for the film medium is quite considerable, and there’s no reason to think that he couldn’t do it here.
I want to make it clear that Affleck isn’t a bad choice — just an unconventional one. His first two features, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, are decent-to-great crime dramas that simply aren’t large in scale. The Stand, though, spans so many characters and locations and ideas and what the fuck moments that you need someone capable of doing a lot of legwork. Reports indicate that Argo convinced Warner Bros. of him being able to pull it off. Few people want them to be right more than me.
How do you feel about Affleck taking the reigns of The Stand? Would you have preferred Yates?