Ben Affleck is graduating to franchise territory, taking the helm one of the most ambitious sci-fi epics of the last 30 years.
Affleck is Warner Bros.' choice to direct an adaptation of Stephen King's post-apocalyptic nightmare, "The Stand," reported Deadline. Back in August it appeared that David Yates of "Harry Potter" fame was going to helm the project, which last we knew was being imagined as a three-picture franchise.
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One man escapes from a biological weapon facility after an accident, carrying with him the deadly virus known as Captain Tripps, a rapidly mutating flu that - in the ensuing weeks - wipes out most of the world's population. In the aftermath, survivors choose between following an elderly black woman to Boulder or the dark man, Randall Flagg, who has set up his command post in Las Vegas. The two factions prepare for a confrontation between the forces of good and evil.
Affleck's enjoyed an impressive directorial career, thus far, earning praise for both "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town." He's currently shooting the spy thriller "Argo," based on the true story of the CIA smuggling a number of U.S. citizens out of Tehran in 1979 by posing as a Canadian film company.
In other Stephen King news, producer Brian Grazer has suggested that the recently moribund "Dark Tower" cycle has been given new life by a re-written ending.
“We found a way to cut out $45 million out of the budget without changing the scope and actually giving it a good ending,” Grazer told The Playlist. “In the $140 million draft, the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying. Now, we’ve got $45 million, $50 million out of the way and a really satisfying ending. It’s gonna get made.”
While Javier Bardem is still locked in to star, it's unclear Ron Howard will still be available to direct, as he's moved on to "Rush," a biopic of Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda. Gee--it'd be a shame if Howard weren't able to do "Dark Tower."