In Stephen King’s The Stand, a superflu (the Captain Trips virus) kills off 99% of the world’s population. Given that CBS access is currently filming a reboot of the story (following a serviceable four-part miniseries starring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald in the mid 1990s), one might expect that the global coronavirus outbreak is on everyone’s minds while shooting. As it turns out, King’s book, which is widely considered to be one of the best post-apocalyptic works of fiction, really does stand the test of time, and in a spookier way than imagined.
James Marsden, whose Westworld character still might have some “life” in him (we’ll see how that goes on HBO soon), is leading The Stand. He’s portraying Stu Redman, a Texan who’s miraculously immune to the Captain Trips virus (and becomes a Free Zone community leader). He recently admitted to Variety that filming this project has grown emotionally grueling for all involved. Yes, this sounds like an eerie experience:
“There are scenes in the beginning of ‘The Stand’ where as soon as you see someone who looks normal sneeze or cough into their arm, everyone’s eyes in the room darts towards them. I see that in public now, and everyone kind of takes a few steps away from the person. It’s crazy. We’re in full panic mode right now.”
King reportedly wrote a new ending for this limited series, but one can expect this project to stay thematically consistent and highlight the battle between good and evil among the surviving characters. Fortunately, the coronavirus isn’t even close to being as lethal as Captain Trips, but as Marsden indicates, the panic is indeed a serious factor that will likely continue for several months.
The Stand also stars Alexander Skarsgard as the big bad, Randall Flagg, along with Amber Heard as Nadine Cross, Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail, and Marilyn freaking Manson in an undisclosed role. Production so far hasn’t been physically affected, and the show’s still due to arrive in late 2020.