After Stephen King said not to count on The Stand being only one film, writer-director Josh Boone confirms that it won't. It's going to be four.
Boone let a lot details loose in his appearance on Kevin Smith's Hollywood Babble-On podcast. Boone said he wasn't a fan of the scripts he was given, so he started his own, ending up with the three-hour version:
I really wanted to do an A-list actor, really grounded, credible version of the movie. I sold them on that and they hired me…I sold them on a single, three hour movie. I went and got [Stephen] King sold on it, everybody's really excited…I told the story non-linear and that was the way I was able to compress that book and get everything into that script. You open with Mother Abigail dying and sending the guys off, and then you jump back in time… So what happened is the script gets finished, I write it in like five months, everybody loves it, King loves it, $87 million is what it was budgeted at, really expensive for a horror drama that doesn't have set pieces.
But it turns out that what Warner Bros. wanted was a horror drama with set pieces that makes it easier to market and look good in trailers. And, of course, nothing is just one film anymore. So they came back to Boone with a new offer. Said Boone:
They came back and said "would you do it as multiple films?" and I said "fuck yes!" I loved my script, and I was willing to drop it in an instant because you're able to do an even truer version that way. So I think we are going to do like four movies. I can't tell you anything about how we're going to do them, or what's going to be in which movie. I'll just say we are going to do four movies, and we're going to do THE STAND at the highest level you can do it at, with a cast that's going to blow people's minds. We've already been talking to lots of people, and have people on board in certain roles that people don't know about. We're looking to go into production next year, maybe in the spring.
Boone's clearly a huge fan of Stephen King and determined to make an adaptation that is faithful to the source. Which means doing it with all the best actors he can get — we'll take speculation on which parts you think are already cast in the comments — and he's already said it'll be R-rated, which also bodes well. And if that adaptation is four movies long, well, that's actually more likely to happen if they're good and people actually flock to see them.
The podcast is below, with the quotes about The Stand starting at 1:21:30. Boone also talks about his Stephen King fandom earlier in the episode.