Mere weeks after Gwyneth Paltrow sneezed out the apocalypse, one of her former flames has caught the world-destroying bug: According to Deadline, Ben Affleck will head up the Warner Bros. adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, one of the novels that laid the groundwork for the modern generation’s paranoid conviction that we’re all gonna die. The project was first rumored in February, when it looked as though The Stand would be competing with Ron Howard’s The Dark Tower opus—an ambitious undertaking that now lies abandoned on the metaphorical highway, rotting and desiccated and serving as a warning to other studios about counting their Stephen King tentpole franchises before they’re budget-hatched.
Undaunted, Warner Bros. has forged ahead, even briefly considering Harry Potter director David Yates to transform The Stand into an epic trilogy—like the Lord Of The Rings with scenes of homeless guys getting anally raped. The report doesn’t indicate whether that’s still the plan, but it does say that Ben Affleck is writing his own script, after which those sorts of decisions will be made, presumably. To put into perspective the difficulty of condensing King’s sprawling novel—to which King just added 300 new pages while we were writing this sentence—ABC’s 1994, Molly Ringwald-addled miniseries was barely able to cram everything into six increasingly interminable hours. But perhaps Affleck can save some time by cutting the number of dream sequences in fake cornfields down to a more conservative 10 or 11.