Director Scott Cooper is in early talks to replace Ben Affleck at the helm of The Stand. The actor-filmmaker was attached to direct this adaptation of Stephen King's novel, but his commitment to starring in Gone Girl and yesterday's news that he is playing Batman in Man of Steel 2, has made the actor-director unavailable.

Warner Bros. and CBS Films had to move fast to find a replacement, since they have a limited window in which they can make the adaptation before losing the rights. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth after a synthetic plague wiped out most of humanity, following a group of survivors fighting the nefarious Randall Flagg. The novel was originally released in 1978, but the author re-released it in 1990, revising and adding portions to the story. David Kajganich (The Invasion) is writing the screenplay adaptation.

No cast members are attached. The filmmaker is known for bringing in top talent. Scott Cooper made his feature debut with 2009's Crazy Heart, directing Jeff Bridges to an Oscar win for Best Actor. His follow-up, Out of the Furnace, arrives in theaters December 6 and stars Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker and Casey Affleck.