The ten-hour miniseries based on Stephen King’s epic 1978 plague novel, directed by Josh Boone, wrapped production in March, just a real-life global pandemic swept the globe, shutting down entire countries as hundreds of thousands died of the very real COVID-19 virus. Will viewers who may still be quarantined at home when this miniseries is released later this year (date to be determined) really want to watch a science fiction doomsday tale all things considered?
Benjamin Cavell and Taylor Elmore (‘Justified) served as co-showrunners. Cavell stated:
“It’s about the fundamental questions of what society owes the individual and what we owe to each other. Over the last however-many years, we have sort of taken for granted the structure of democracy. Now, so much of that is being ripped down to the studs. It’s interesting to see a story about people who are rebuilding it from the ground up.”
Cavell’s statement comes courtesy of Vanity Fair which has also released the first still photos from the miniseries, which boasts an all-star cast including Alexander Skarsgård as the sinister Randall Flagg a.k.a. the Dark Man, and Whoopi Goldberg, who portrays the 108-year-old Mother Abagail, who holds the fate of humanity on her aged shoulders.
Get your first looks at them and more of the cast in the photos below:
Skarsgård’s Randall Flagg, a recurring character in King’s works is described as “a charismatic rockabilly demon.” Or as Elmore states:
“He’s so charming and he’s so handsome, and so powerful—I mean genuinely powerful, able to perform these sort of miracles where he could levitate himself and he has these actual powers. And yet he needs this adulation and this kind of worship from these people whom he’s summoned to him. He needs to have them make a show all the time of how grateful they are to him.”
Flagg finds an acolyte in the form of Lloyd Henreid, played by Nat Wolff, “a petty criminal” who watches the spread of this mysterious plague from behind bars.
As Cavell said:
“It’s like, what would happen if you had to witness the apocalypse from inside a locked room? At a certain point there’s a riot going on in the prison around him but he’s restricted, essentially, to the view that he has just out of his cell because that’s all you can see.”
Sidenote: we have indeed been hearing stories about how prisons are… or are not… reacting to the coronavirus, so once again a fantasy scenario that King cooked up for his book has eerie parallels with modern reality.
Flagg’s opposite number is Mother Abigail, who Goldberg described saying:
“She is very, very righteous, and very good. But really flawed I feel. I’ve been fighting with not making her the Magic Negro because she’s complicated.”
You can check out photos of more of the cast below, including Jovan Adepo as former musician and addict, Larry Underwood; Heather Graham as Rita Blakemoor, a wealthy New Yorker, who is ill-prepared for the superflu outbreak; Owen Teague as Harold Lauder, who becomes obsessed with Frannie Goldsmith; Odessa Young as Frannie, a pregnant woman who realizes how evil Flagg really is.
CBS All Access has not yet revealed when ‘The Stand’ will be released, but it is expected later this year.