The Stand. Stephen King’s Magnum Opus. It’s one of my all-time favourite novels (the unabridged version, which is well over 1000 pages long) and I’ve read it at least a dozen times. A man-made virus is accidentally released and kills 98% of the population of the USA, spreading like wildfire. In the aftermath, the survivors find themselves split into two groups, each drawn by dreams towards a leader, one of whom receives messages from God, and another who may well be the Devil incarnate.
In 1994, there was a mini-series, which wasn’t at all bad, even though it was forced to cut out huge swathes of the epic story. A remake is currently “in development” with no details on cast, director, producer or whether it will be a film or another mini series, although there have been rumours of it being planned for around 3 hours length, and Ben Affleck being attached. As I said, nothing has been confirmed, but here’s how I would like to cast the roles. For ease, I’ve listed the characters in the order they appear in the IMDb listing for the mini series.
The Stand (1994)
Whenever I read the book, I picture Sinise as Redman, but in a recast, he’s just too old for the role, much to my regret. So I had to find someone who was in his mid-late-thirties, an everyman who wasn’t devastatingly good looking, but was still easy enough on the eye, and who could be quietly confident and reliable. McAvoy has proven his acting chops in diverse roles and I think he’d just about fit the bill.
For Frannie, we need a feisty 21-year-old (looking) lass who has a sensible head on her shoulders to carry the first post-apocalypse baby. I almost went with Jennifer Lawrence, but then I thought again and, lo-and-behold, there was Emma Watson. She’s the right kind of age, fresh-faced, and can play smart and sensible, as well as sassy. She’d also look great along-side McAvoy as Stu Redman.
The unholiest of unholies, The Walking Dude, The Dark Man, representative of all that is evil. Charismatic, charming, beguiling, utterly ruthless, that is Randall Flagg. I’m a HUGE fan of Hannibal and in the title role is Mikkelson, who personifies everything that Flagg should be. I reckon he’s perfect for the role.
The very old lady heading up the side of all that is good has to be something of a sage and iconic even in her frailty. Nichols is an icon who could age up very nicely and play her beautifully. She’d look utterly serene! Of course she’d have to be aged significantly, because this is one lady who looks great for her age!
For Flagg’s right-hand man, rescued from prison, we need someone who is on edge and always watching his step. To be in his position is to be paranoid, yet he has to remain loyal, and be faithful to the last. Rockwell is my man of choice for this armed robber in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Slightly younger than Frannie, Harold has admired her from afar for quite some time. A little bit nerdy and intense, he lets his feelings get the better of him, becoming rather creepy in his obsession which will become his downfall. Nemec was a little old for the role, but played the part brilliantly. I went for Lerman, who is a little more age-appropriate and could look both geeky and slick, and I’d love to see him get nasty.
Absolutely bonkers and devoted to Flagg, I wanted someone so off the wall that there’d be no dispute. If you want loopy, go for Glover. Frewer was excellent, but I think Glover could out-cuckoo even him. Yup, I want Marty McFly’s Dad to be Trashy!
Initially self-centred, then self-aware, this singer/songwriter needs to be attractive, yet soulful, and needs to be credible as a singer. Leto is a fine performer, both in music and as an actor, so he’d be perfect. I can’t help thinking he’d turn in an incredibly touching performance.
This retired (due to arthritis) University professor is a know-it-all, but his knowledgable and thoughtful persona is integral to the plot and his character holds a hell of a lot of gravitas. Quaid is an actor I’d like to see more of and I think he could really pull this off. Yes, he’s a lot younger, but arthritis isn’t ageist and I really would like to see how he’d tackle this role. In fact, being a little younger and having his life hampered by crippling arthritis might add another dimension to the character.
The deaf/mute drifter who dreams of Mother Abigail and becomes a driving force in the plot needs to be intuitive, expressive and sympathetic. Lowe was surprisingly sweet in the mini-series, and I reckon Gordon-Levitt could be just as good, if not better.
Strong, good-natured farm-hand, Brentner needs to be credible as a committee member – his words will affect countless lives in the new order. A man of the land and the salt of the earth, Bridges would be at his very best in this kind of role.
M-O-O-N – That spells moon! A simple, gentle giant of indeterminate age, Fagerbakke has played Segel’s father in How I Met Your Mother. It’s a straight swap-out, one for the other, that I think would work really well. Segel has a look of innocence that would be perfect for Tom Cullen, and at 6′ 4″, he’d certainly tower over the other cast members.
Nadine Cross is a school teacher who desperately wants to be good, but in the end, cannot help herself falling to the darker side. She’s the sacrificial virgin whose encounter with Flagg leaves a white streak in her hair. Perrette could portray the complexities of the character far better than Giacomo did in the mini series (it’s always been my opinion that she wasted the role), looking both innocent and dark.
In the book and the mini series, Judge Farris is retired, but I’d like to see a slightly more vital man in the part. Haysbert is an imposing figure who can look both kindly and formidable, which is just the right mix for this character.
A sneaky, sleazy, nasty piece of work, the Rat Man works for Flagg in Las Vegas. Guzmán has a similar look to Aviles and I’d love to see his take on this horrible character.
Whoever I cast in this role has to be credible as a love interest for the person I cast as Larry Underwood. Don’t you think Leto and Blunt would look great together? I’d love to see what chemistry they get going onscreen, and Swann is a quiet, gentle soul who calms Underwood’s inherent brashness, making him want to be a better man. I could see Blunt really working well here.
Beautiful, strong, and self-assured, Dayna Jurgens makes the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of good. It’s a small but crucial role and Jovovitch’s quirky beauty and temperament would suit her down to the ground. She’s a formidable actress that is just right for this formidable character.
Level-headed and a voice of reason on the committee, Susan Stern plays a vital role in recreating a viable society in Boulder. Proctor has a quiet confidence that would be perfect here.
Brash and bitchy, Julie Lawrie tries to tempt Nick (although she is so un-PC she calls him a “dummy”), but he’s put off by her mean-spiritedness when she makes fun of the gentle, simple Tom Cullen. Page is edgy enough that she could be really unlikeable, while still being able to evoke a little sympathy from the audience for this misguided young woman.
One of those crazy placard-carrying “The end is nigh!” guys, this bit-part would be a great cameo for Harrelson who is always awesome when he’s playing crazy.
The man in charge of the facility housing Project Blue, which goes wrong and starts the whole sorry mess. Harris was superb and difficult to replace (I almost recast him in the same role!), but if I have to replace him, Clancy Brown is the only other man I can imagine in the role.
Campion is, literally, the man who ended the world, by escaping the military facility when the emergency door-shut fails, carrying with him the deadly contagion that will kill 98% of the population, It’s a small role, but if I have Woody Harrelson in a cameo, I’d like to see McConaughey here, getting sicker and sicker as he drives his family further away from ground zero, with death as an extra passenger. Plus, after seeing them together in True Crime, I really wanted to put them together again, even just for bit-parts.
Character: Rita Blakemoor
Originally played by: Nobody (not included in mini series)
Recast: Famke Janssen
In the mini series, this role was merged with Nadine Cross. Rita is the lady with inappropriate shoes who escapes New York with Larry before overdosing while on the road with him. She needs to be older than Larry, yet still attractive in an upper-class kind of way, enough that he will be attracted to her and feel a need to protect her. She wasn’t included in the mini series, but I’d love to see Janssen play her.
Another character shamefully cut from the mini series, The Kid is a baby-faced sadistic Elvis fan who encounters Trashcan Man and makes his miserable life even more unbearable until Trashy can be rid of him. Affleck would be great as this character who really should be included in any remake!