Last week, CBS All Access announced a new adaptation of Stephen King's seminal novel The Stand, and fans are buzzing about who could be cast in the mini series.
The Stand is one of Stephen King's most beloved novels, and one of the stories his fans have most wanted to see adapted for the screen. First released in 1978, it tells the story of an apocalyptic plague that kills nearly all of the human race, and leaves the survivors caught in a battle between the forces of good and evil.
In 1994, The Stand was adapted for TV and broadcast on ABC. That version is not always remembered fondly among King aficionados, but its cast saw huge success in the years afterward. The series put stars like Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinise in starring roles.
This time around, there is no telling who might take on King's classic tale. The show is being produced as a CBS All Access original, meaning it will be made just for the streaming service. In addition, it will get 10 episodes to tell its story this time rather than four.
There have been a lot of Stephen King adaptations since the last attempt at The Stand, and the writer's work has a much bigger Hollywood appeal. With that in mind, here are some of the actors we at PopCulture.com would most like to see in the upcoming adaptation of The Stand.
Warning! Spoilers for The Stand lie ahead!
The Stand is more or less led by white-hat-cowboy archetype Stu Redman. The character is reserved and decisive, and plays a pivotal role in the story's battle between good and evil. Last time around, Redman was played by Gary Sinise.
This time, a good pick could be John Krasinski. Krasinksi has proven his ability to adapt to the role he is given, and audiences already love him as both a comedian and a dramatic actor. The role of Stu will involve a lot of posturing and stare-downs, and Krasinksi has the best dead-pan resume in all of Hollywood.
Elsewhere, on fan sites and blogs, many are floating names like Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Gosling for the role of Stu Redman. These choices make sense, as the actors have a history of completely transforming for their characters.
Frannie Goldsmith is going to be a complicated character to cast, especially in 2019. Last time around, she was played by Molly Ringwald, leaving no doubt that she was the leading lady of the story. Still, in King's book, Frannie is college age, while Stu — her eventual love interest — is portrayed as older, likely in his mid-30s.
This will pose a problem for audiences who are tired of seeing these massive age gaps perpetuated on screen. The problem will likely lead to the studio casting a young, largely unknown actress. However, many fans are hoping a recognizable actress like Elizabeth Olsen will take on the role.
Olsen could be a good choice to bring some independence to the role of Frannie. She would help portray the subtler parts of Frannie's thinking that are more difficult to translate to the screen.
Other popular choices among fans are Shailene Woodley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Alison Brie.
Larry Underwood is one of the characters that presents the most possibilities for casting The Stand. The disgruntled rock star was played by Adam Storke in the 1994 version, and while he is meant to be on the young side, he could be played by a wide range of ages, ethnicities and appearances.
With that in mind, why not consider an actor on everyone's mind for the role: Jussie Smollett. The Empire star has a proven track record playing a musician on-screen, and he has the voice to back it up. Smollett could play a contemplative version of Larry Underwood, capturing the confusion and alienation of the character in a new way.
Other popular picks for Larry are Charlie Cox, who played Daredevil in Marvel's Netflix series, and Bill Skarsgard. Skarsgard is an easy pick as well, and he has already proven successful in two recent Stephen King adaptations — It and Castle Rock.
Glen Bateman is one of those background characters that is integral to the story. He serves a vital purpose as a friend, mentor and springboard to the world's rising leaders in The Stand. In 1994 he was played by Ray Walston, but there are plenty of faces that could play the 57-year-old sociology professor.
Our first big proposal for Bateman is Jim Rash. The actor has the kind of limitless affability needed to play the chatty professor, and he has has collegiate mannerisms well practiced from his years on Community.
On the other hand, an interesting choice for Bateman could be comedian Dave Chappelle. Again, there are no restrictions on race or ethnicity for Bateman. In his most recent stand-up specials, Chappelle talked a lot about his life outside of Hollywood living in Ohio, and those experiences could translate nicely to Bateman's native New Hampshire. Chappelle also brings the conversational wisdom that Bateman is famous for to the table.
Whoever takes on the role of Nick Andros has big shoes to fill, a they will replace Rob Lowe, who played the character in 1994. Andros is a poor transient worker who is deaf and mute, yet clever enough to navigate most situations. His instincts come in handy after the apocalypse, and he becomes something of a heroic figure in the Boulder Free Zone.
Why not cast a young heroic type that is already popular with TV viewers and cast Cole Sprouse? Sprouse has the kind of ease and charm that Andros projects in the story, and he is just the right age for the character. It doesn't hurt that Sprouse also has a built-in audience of dedicated fans who have a proven love for unravelling mysteries, of which The Stand will present many.
Another strong contender here is Dane DeHaan. The actor is a few years older than Nick Andros, though he has the features and comportion to play a young drifter. DeHaan has delivered some stunningly emotional performances with few words, and he could likely do the same if he were cast as The Stand's silent hero.
Likely the trickiest character to cast will be Tom Cullen. Cullen is a mentally handicapped man with no support system, who joins up with Nick early on. He was played by Bill Fagerbakke in 1994, and may represent another of King's characters that simply does not age well.
Still, there is a way to bring fresh relevance to a character like Tom Cullen, and there are actors who could do it. One clear choice might be Adam Devine. The comedian has a kind of self-effacing earnesty that would serve the character well. There is no doubt that Cullen has to be energetic, and who is better at that than Devine?
Fans have had a hard time coming to a consensus on ideal actors for Cullen, not least of all because his age is not very clear. Popular options range from John C. Reilly to Andy Samberg, and everyone in between.
Another side character with a lot to contribute is Ralph Brentner. The easy-going army veteran picks up Nick Andros and Tom Cullen, carting them to Boulder in his old pick-up truck. He was played by Peter van Norden in 1994.
A lofty option for Brentner is John Goodman. The actor is perfect for the blue-collar archetype with sage wisdom and quick wit. While it may seem like a stretch to get an actor like Goodman, it is worth noting that he returned to network TV last year for Roseanne, and then again for The Conners.
Failing that, many fans envision a slightly younger, more battle-ready version of Brentner this time around. Names that have been suggested include Christopher Meloni and even Josh Brolin.
Producers will have to take care in casting Harold Lauder, who becomes a central figure as The Stand goes on. The age of the actor becomes an issue again here, as it is important to the story that Harold and Frannie went to high school together, and both graduated within the last few years. The actors playing both of them should be with a few years of each other in age. In 1994, Harold was played by Corin Nemec.
Alex Wolff is one interesting choice for Harold. The actor has a resume going all the way back to childhood with The Naked Brothers Band, though more recently he burst onto the scene in Hereditary. Wolff has the raw emotion needed for Harold Lauder, which might be especially important in an on-screen version without the character's point-of-view thoughts and narration.
If age were a bit more flexible, another good choice for Lauder could be Alfie Allen. The actor has a history of playing similar characters, portraying both Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones and Iosef Tarasov in John Wick.
Finally, the last two characters are King's virtual demi-gods in The Stand, including 108-year-old Mother Abigail. The elderly African-American matriarch is a bit outdated, matching the stereotypical "magical black mentor" character that persists in many of King's stories. In the 1994 version, she was played by Ruby Dee.
Accepting that 108-year-old actresses are few and far between, there are plenty of performers who could be artificially aged for the role. One frontrunner is Yvette Nicole Brown, who has the awareness and authenticity to navigate the character through all her tropes and issues to find the truth underneath.
Other popular picks among fans online include Alfre Woodard, Thandie Newton and Oprah Winfrey.
Finally, there is Randall Flagg — The Dark Man, The Hardcase, The Tall Man, The Walkin' Dude. Flagg is one of King's most iconic villains, appearing through seven different novels across different plains of reality. Flagg is more or less an archetype in The Stand, portrayed as a force of nature that does not even really understand what he is himself.
In 1994, Flagg was played by Jamey Sheridan. In 2017, Matthew McConaughey played another version of Flagg in The Dark Tower. Although that movie had plenty of problems, there are lots of fans who want to see McConaughey take another stab at the role. He was seen as a great fit for the chaotic trickster, and he would certainly be a welcome addition to this adaptation.
Of course, studios could be weary of McConoughey for his association to the Dark Tower flop, not to mention the price tag attached to the actor's name. He could also confuse fans, as the Dark Tower version of Flagg is far different from the one in The Stand, and fans of King don't always make the connection.0comments
Another popular choice for Flagg is Aaron Paul. The actor has the two things needed most to play Flagg: a charming smile and a menacing snarl. Paul could do justice to Flagg's disorganized yet single-minded mission, and fans would love to see him back on the screen.
Considering that Flagg is not necessarily human, age is no object here. Therefore, other great choices for the character include Willem Dafoe, Viggo Mortensen or Ian McShane.