In what's likely a worrisome trend to Warner Bros., "The Stand" has lost yet another director and writer. 

Scott Cooper, who Warner Bros. signed back in August to replace Ben Affleck as director and scribe, has left the ambitious project. While exact reasons aren't known, The Hollywood Reporter is quoting sources who said the fallout was due to creative differences - as well as disagreement over an appropriate rating for the post-apocalyptic franchise. Cooper apparently wanted an R rating - while Warners was set on either a PG-13 or a seemingly implausible/why-bother-even-making-it PG. 

The news has some interesting timing as MTV yesterday posted an interview with Cooper in which the director spoke openly about the film's challenges. 

"It's a daunting challenge to take a long novel, a beloved novel, and condense that into a standalone film," Cooper said. "It's a process. There's a reason that film hasn't been made. It's the themes, and the scope, and the size."

None of this is surprising to either anyone who has read the book or followed this project's bumpy road. Even Affleck last year was quick to lament the sheer scope of adaptation. 

"Right now we're having a very hard time," he told GQ of him and writer David Kajganich's efforts to condense the 1163-page novel. "But I like the idea—it's like The Lord of the Rings in America. And it's about how we would reinvent ourselves as a society. If we started all over again, what would we do?"

According to THR, the studio will next approach directors such as Paul Greengrass ("Bourne Ultimatum"), Daniel Espinosa ("Safe House") and Denis Villeneuve ("Prisoners"). Whether any of them is crazy enough to tackle this project is anyone's guess. 

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