Shooting for Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ in the Midst of a Pandemic

Actors talk about shooting for Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic The Stand in the midst of a real pandemic.

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A still from <i>The Stand.</i>

It’s uncanny that The Stand, a series based on Stephen King’s 1978 novel which revolves around a deadly virus, started shoot last year and ran into a real pandemic during production and ended up airing now. The mini-series is a post-apocalyptic vision of King, in which the world is almost decimated by a plague and it all boils down to the struggle between good and evil.

Featuring stars such as James Marsden, Alexander Skarsgard, Whoopi Goldberg, Odessa Young, Amber Heard and Greg Kinnear, The Stand is currently streaming on Voot Select.

The Quint got the opportunity to chat with some of the actors about The Stand and their experience of working on a series based on Stephen King’s novel. When actor James Marsden was quizzed about how surreal it was that the team who was working on this series actually found themselves in the midst of a real pandemic, here’s what he had to say about the longevity of King’s work.

James Marsden in <i>The Stand.</i>
James Marsden in The Stand.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

“He wrote the book in 1978 and it seems like he had a crystal ball, he’s always been curious about the choices that humans make and what gets under their skin and the psychology of good versus evil and what scares us and I think he always saw that there was a potential for something like this to happen. I don’t think he would have anticipated we would be making the series right the in the middle of what we are going through. So, it’s unfortunate timing. We were in Vancouver shooting last September and we started hearing about COVID in December, January, February, and it wasn’t until the end of February that we saw masks popping up on set and hand sanitisers and everything, so, it was an eerie feeling. But, I have always felt that the real core of the story of The Stand is not a pandemic, the pandemic is a catalyst for the bigger story to be told, which is - what would we do when the reset button is hit, how do we restart when we have a blank page, how do we restore society? More than it being about the pandemic, it has to do with the instincts of man and what we do in the face of this sort of apocalyptical crisis and what it reveals about ourselves,” said Marsden.

Greg Kinnear in <i>The Stand.</i>
Greg Kinnear in The Stand.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Fans of King, who have read the original novel by the writer, still have something to look forward to in its adaptation as a mini-series. The series, The Stand, comes with a new ending rewritten by the Master of Horror himself. When actor Greg Kinnear was quizzed about how fans would react to the “changed” version of King’s novel, here’s what he had to say:

“I hope favourably, if we had changed it, I think people would rightly be upset, but it’s Stephen King who’s changed it. I think there’s something great about it, I think of all of his books, he’s spoken quite a bit about The Stand and I do find it amazing that it still has new legions of fans every year that discover this book. I read it so long ago and it really stuck with me. I hope that people will like this idea that he’s added something at the end that stuck with him for 40 years. I am not a novelist but if I were, I think with time you would look back at some of your work and say, you know, Picasso might say - I would like to make this eyebrow a little darker here, you know to re-envision it a little bit, given the time and the passage of time and where we find ourselves, it’s probably exciting for an artist like Stephen and is a benefit I think to the show.”
Greg Kinnear, Actor 
Amber Heard in <i>The Stand.</i>
Amber Heard in The Stand.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Amber Heard, who plays an important role in the series told us why she thinks King’s characters are compelling and relatable. The actor also spoke about why The Stand, like almost all of King’s works, has a story that’s believable, because he makes his characters reside in the grey area. “I think that’s the interesting and real part of what Stephen King has so brilliantly been able to do in creating this story and these characters that live within, it is that they don’t represent good or evil as blanket ideas or concepts, they are not just black or white. They are much more interesting in that they reflect a much more greyer area that us as human beings occupy. The nuances of our flaws and our strengths and how they fight with on another, for our attention and for our ultimate action is the whole point of what makes Stephen King’s characters so dynamic and brilliant. They look like us, they feel like us, none of them are all bad or all good. For me its a struggle between the impulse to do good and the impulse to do what’s best for yourself versus what’s best for other people in that context. What is the most empathetic and what’s the most selfish, which path are you going to go down, who’s going to win?” said Heard.

You can watch the trailer of The Stand here:

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