When celebrated author Stephen King wrote The Stand, a horror story about a pandemic that kills 99.4% of the population in 1978, he couldn't have dreamt about it getting a cinematic adaptation 42 years later in the middle of a real-life pandemic. However, the team of the CBS mini-series found it quite "eerie" when three months into filming, the Covid-19 crisis wreaked havoc in the world.
James Marsden stars as Stu Redman, the first survivor and leader of Boulder Free Zone, the 'good camp' of the pandemic survivors. In a rountable conference, the actor talked about the show being "too-timely."
"Surreal is the word to describe it. [The Stand] is a 42 year old book he (King) wrote in 1978, and it is like he had a crystal ball. He has always been curious about the choices that humans make, what gets under their skin and the psychology of good versus evil. I think he always saw the potential of what could have happened. I don't think he anticipated we would be making the series right in the middle of what we're going through. It's unfortunate timing, however you look at it. We were in Vancouver, last September, shooting for it and we started hearing about Covid-19 by December and January. By the end of February, we saw masks and hand sanitisers popping up on set. It was an eerie feeling,” said Marsden.
Marsden also talked about playing a vanilla hero at the age of anti-heroes. "We are in the middle of this movement where we love our anti-heroes, don't we? Batman Begins began the whole thing. All of a sudden Superman is not that interesting and Batman is the hero, but not without a dark side. I love characters like Stu. I know being a good person or being virtuous is not always the sexiest or flashiest thing and sometimes it can be boring to watch," he explained.
The Stand also had another adaptation in 1994 starring Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinise playing Frannie Goldsmith and Stu Redman respectively. When asked if he was nervous about essaying a character that people had already seen another actor play, James said, "I'm always nervous when I approach a role. I'm always like, 'okay don't fail, how do you do this character justice?' And that is multiplied when it is an iconic character in a great fiction. People don't want to see me doing a Gary Sinease impression. You have to go there and make it your own."
The Stand also stars Alexander Skarsgård, Amber Heard, Whoopi Goldberg, Greg Kinnear, Jovan Adepo and Odessa Young among others. Directed by Josh Boone, the show will air weekly on Voot Select from December 17, 2020.