In late January 2019, CBS All Access announced that the streaming servcie had given a 10-episode limited event series order for Stephen King‘s The Stand. The new adaptation stems from director Josh Boone (The Fault In Our Stars), SEAL Team creator/executive producer Ben Cavell, and CBS Televisions Studios. Boone and Cavell are writing the adaptation, with Boone set to direct. For awhile, things were quiet – and then last week there were reports of some major casting negotiations underway or near completion (see below).
Thanks to the fine folks at Production Weekly (Issue #1150), we now know the project is going into production under the working title “Radio Nowhere” – as listed on the main page of their website:
Fans of King and music icon Bruce Springsteen are already smiling at the reference. Those those who need some background, “Radio Nowhere” was the first single released from Springsteen’s 2007 studio album Magic – and a very fitting song thematically with King’s opus, and a nod to King’s long-standing love and appreciation for “The Boss'” music over the years.
In the prefeace to 1990’s expanded edition of the novel, King suggested that Springsteen would make “an interesting Larry Underwood.” King mentioned previously that there were early discussions in the mid-80’s for him to write or direct a music video for Springsteen’s song “Born in the U.S.A.,” but scheduling conflicts kept that collaboration from happening. In 1997, King would get a very surprising opportunity to work with Springsteen again when he joined King in the author-filled band the Rock Bottom Remainders on a cover of Them‘s “Gloria.”
A Look at CBS All Access’ “The Stand”
As mentioned earlier, Collider exclusively cited “multiple agency sources” that the following actors are in negotiations for the following roles (CBS All Access has not officially confirmed reports):
● James Marsden (Westworld) as Stu Redman, a former military man who is immune to the virus. He found patient zero in the original quarantine zone but never got sick so the government was precious with him in order to try to find a vaccine from his blood.
● Amber Heard (Aquaman) as Nadine Cross, private school teacher and virgin who believes her destiny is by Flagg’s side.
● Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost) as Mother Abigail, self-proclaimed (and immune) prophet of God who’s leading a group of survivors towards Boulder, Colorado.
● Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine) as Glen Bateman, an arthritis-afflicted professor who joins Stu on his journey to find Mother Abagail.
● Odessa Young (Assassination Nation) as Frannie Goldsmith, a pregnant travelling companiom for Harold Lauder who ends up falling in love with Stu – much to Harold’s chagrin.
● Henry Zaga (The New Mutants) ias Nick Andros, a young, deaf-mute grifter who wears an eye patch for most of King’s novel.
Speaking with filmmaker/author Mick Garris on Garris’ Post Mortem podcast (which you can listen to here) in honor of the 25th anniversary of ABC’s mini-series adaptation, King discussed the advantages they have in 2019 to ensure the adaptation remains as faithful to the novel as possible – from larger budgets to freedom of language and action:
“I like Josh Boone’s work. I actually worked with him on his first feature (2012’s Stuck in Love). I couldn’t act in it, which is what he wanted me to do, so I had to be an audio thing. And then he did The Fault in Our Stars, which I thought showed his grasp of the medium. I like him a lot. I like his reach, his ambition for it.
But, really, the thing I’m mostly excited about is, first of all, we’ve got two more hours to tell the story and, second, we’re free of all those things that held us back with The Stand — that is to say, not only is the budget bigger, even if you equalize the two eras, we’re [more free] in terms of language and in terms of violence in a way that we weren’t with the original Stand. CBS All Access would really like this to work, I think, and they put a lot of muscle behind it, so I’m hopeful, but it’s early days yet.”
One other note of interest: King gives the impression that there might be some casting that is finished, and that his son Owen King is writing some of the scripts – and King likes what he’s read so far: “The casting isn’t complete. My… son Owen has written some of the scripts and they’re terrific, so it’s good.”
“I read The Stand under my bed when I was 12, and my Baptist parents burned it in our fireplace upon discovery. 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. I wrote King a cameo as himself in my first film and have been working to bring The Stand to the screen for five years. I’ve found incredible partners in CBS All Access and Ben Cavell. Together with Stephen King, Owen King, my longtime producing partners Knate Lee and Jill Killington, we plan to bring you the ultimate version of King’s masterwork.”
– Josh Boone
A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.
The novel was previously adapted for television as a March 1994 four-part miniseries for ABC, with King writing the teleplay and making a guest appearance and Garris directing. The adaptation would go on to earn six Emmy nominations, winning two: sound mixing and makeup. ABC’s miniseries adaptation starred Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Jamey Sheridan, and the late Miguel Ferrer.
“I’m excited and so very pleased that The Stand is going to have a new life on this exciting new platform. 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.”
– Stephen King
Boone, Cavell, Roy Lee, Jimmy Miller, and Richard P. Rubinstein will serve as executive producers. Will Weiske and Miri Yoon will serve as co-executive producers, with Owen King producing and CBS TV Studios as the studio.