‘Harry Potter’ Duo Takes ‘The Stand’

Harry Potter” meets Stephen King? Perhaps not the likeliest combination, but it’s one we’re about to see all the same.

David Yates, director of the final four “Potter” films, and writer Steve Kloves, who adapted all but one of Jo Rowling’s magical novels for the big screen, are reportedly reteaming with Warner Bros. for a multi-movie version of “The Stand,” the epic post-apocalypse novel that many consider King’s finest work, HitFix reports.

“The Stand,” for those who haven’t read the book or seen the ’90s era miniseries, tells the story of a group of men and women who survive a superflu outbreak that claims the lives of 99.4% of the world’s human population. The reader follows an eclectic cast of characters that includes the mild-mannered Stuart Redman, mom-to-be Frannie Goldsmith, the ever resourceful mute Nick Andros, burned out rocker Larry Underwood, and the wicked Randall Flagg, also called The Walkin’ Dude.

It’s an epic story to be sure, and depending on your tastes, it has yet to be adapted to its fullest potential. Having said that, I’ve got questions: just exactly how many movies are we talking about here? I can’t see “The Stand” stretching for more than three, based on the story’s length, content and meandering pace, which is much better suited for a two-parter. And how about casting? Are we looking at unknowns? Rising stars? Complete A-listers? Some combination?

The biggest question of all: are Yates and Kloves right for the material? There’s no question that they pulled off some serious moviemaking wizardry with the “Potter” franchise, so when it comes to adapting difficult material, they’ve proved their weight and then some. But “The Stand” is a very different beast from “Potter.” Both tales have their moments of brutality, but King’s story is hard-R stuff. I’ll echo what Drew at HitFix wrote about the developing movie’s rating: “’The Stand,’ as originally written, was dark and powerful and disturbing, and if you’re not going to go further than television has allowed in the past, there seems little reason to revisit the material.”

In other words, “The Stand” has to go for the R. Any other rating would feel cheap.

Oh, and one last thing — and this is a bit of a spoiler for another King yarn — but with WB snatching up “The Stand” and “Dark Tower” currently on the market, does this bring Roland Deschain one step closer to Warner’s doorstep? Because if we can get the same guy playing Randall Flagg across the two franchises, that would be incredibly awesome.

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