Josh Boone Talks Elevating Horror with The Stand, The Vampire Chronicles, and Revival
Director Josh Boone burst onto the scene in 2014 with The Fault in Our Stars, and since then his name has been linked to numerous horror projects, including adaptations of Stephen King’s The Stand and Revival plus a reboot of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. He spoke in-depth with Nightmare Magazine about all of them (and more) for their March issue, and we have the highlights below.
With regard to Rice’s vamps, Boone told the mag, “…it’s hugely exciting. I’m working with the most incredible producers. Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins and Anna Culp at Imagine and Alex Kurtzman and Jeb Brody at Secret Hideout. Amazing people. We’re working on the first draft for Universal. We’re really focusing on The Vampire Lestat, but we’re using elements from some of the other books as well. These were hugely inspiring books when I was young. They really helped shape me the same way Steve [King]’s books did. Anne is a genius, fiercely intelligent. Obviously, I’m attached to direct that one as well, and I’m writing it with my other Mid-World cohort Jill Killington, who [my production partner] Knate [Lee] and I have known half our lives.”
As for the project’s timetable, he added, “With any of these projects that are so big and expensive like Vampire Chronicles or The Stand, it’ll probably take a couple of years for any of these things to come together and actually get made just because of how expensive it is to bring these properties to the screen and how complicated the adaptation process is. We have a vision for a trilogy of Vampire Chronicles films and I hope also a spinoff television series to explore all the side characters and their back stories. That’s the dream. We’ll see what happens.”
Now, as for The Stand, which has been in the works for quite some time, Boone explained, “We’re working on it. The reason The Stand hasn’t been made yet is because it’s expensive. It’s a problem of perception, I think. We really are attempting to revive the idea of the elevated horror film–movies like The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining–A-list films with A-list casts. The 1980s really killed this idea because studios realized you could make horror films for dirt cheap and make a killing. In theory, every studio wants to make The Stand. It’s a bona fide American classic. It should be an event movie. A big, serious-minded epic with an awe-inspiring cast that is as faithful as possible to King’s narrative and intentions. This should be The Godfather of post-apocalyptic epics. I adapted the book and have King’s blessing. We got that awe-inspiring cast. But [Warner Bros.] didn’t want to spend what it would actually cost to make the movie. To have a real conversation about making this film at a level that is appropriate for the book King wrote is an 85- to-100-million-dollar conversation, which from where I’m sitting sounds like a no-brainer considering the mind-numbing nonsense that studios spend $250 million on. Which brings me back to that perception problem. They look at The Stand and wonder why they can’t make this post-apocalyptic horror movie for $35 million. King and I were most excited and continue to be most excited about a single three-hour event movie: The Godfather of post-apocalyptic movies.”
Does he have any studios in mind? “My hope is that we’ll go make that movie with Lionsgate,” Boone said. “My adaptation is incredibly faithful to King’s book, but the way I was able to contain all of it in a single three-hour film is: I shattered King’s structure and told the story non-linear. That was really what broke everything open for me. The opening scene is Mother Abigail on her deathbed sending our heroes off to make their stand against the Dark Man in Vegas, and then we jump back in time and you basically have three spinning timelines going the whole movie–Captain Trips, Boulder, and The Stand, same as the book, but they are all happening simultaneously. Sequences that fall hundreds of pages apart in the book stand side-by-side in the film, echoing and resonating in new and strange ways. I remain incredibly excited about that script. I can’t wait to make it. The Stand is the movie of a lifetime so I’m completely content waiting until someone gives us exactly what we need to do it right rather than to compromise.”
In the meantime, Boone has another King-based project that’s being fast-tracked to the screen: Revival. He enthused, “[T]hat one is ready to go. My line producer, production designer, and VFX supervisor from Fault budgeted the film. Michael De Luca is producing, which is amazing. He produced The Social Network, Moneyball, and Captain Phillips; but he also wrote John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness, so he’s a secret horror nerd like us. Unlike these studio projects we’re working [on]–The Stand, Vampire Chronicles, New Mutants–where there are so many voices chiming in, we’ve been able to develop Revival in a very pleasant bubble. I wrote it on spec, and we are putting together the financing now. Very exciting. I think it’s one of King’s very best books.”
There’s more from Boone about his early introduction to King, his parents’ influence, and some other horror projects he has options on so be sure to swing by NightmareMagazine.com for the rest!