'The Stand' isn't about pandemic, it's a timeless story: James Marsden

Komal Panchamatia
·4-min read

Mumbai, Dec 20 (PTI) Hollywood actor James Marsden's latest series 'The Stand' may be set in an apocalyptic backdrop, but he believes the show is a timeless story that has much more to it than a deadly virus wreaking havoc on the world.

Written and created by 'The Fault in our Stars' director Josh Boone and 'Homeland' scribe Ben Cavell, the series is based on celebrated author Stephen King's 1978 novel of the same name.

It follows a story of a group of survivors whose lives intersect after a deadly virus, 'Captain Trips', damages the world's population. The destiny of humankind depends on the 108-year-old Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg) and few survivors, who gather in Boulder, US, to fight and establish new social systems.

Their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgard), the Dark Man.

Marsden, who features in the series as leader of the survivors Stu Redman, said even though it is difficult to ignore the similarities between the show's premise and the real-life ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the story is mainly about human instincts.

'It's a timeless story that will resonate no matter when you release it. I don't think it's a show about a pandemic. It's about the instincts of man, what we do in the face of a catastrophic crisis and everything gets reset. That's the story that's being told.

'I tend to avoid this sort of, describing this as a show about a virus that gets out of control, but it's in the same breath. It's difficult to ignore,' Marsden said in a group interview over Zoom.

The 'Westworld' star said Boone, Cavell and producer Taylor Elmore were working on the series for three years and nobody had a clue that the world will be fighting a pandemic when the show will come out. The team wrapped the production on the series in mid-March.

Marsden, 47, said they had approached the project as a 'good versus evil' story.

“We're are now going to be looking at this show through a different lens certainly. My hope is that the story that we are telling isn't about the pandemic, it's about good versus evil.' The actor said as a fan of King's writing his aim was to introduce the younger generation to 'The Stand' in the best way possible.

“It's cool to reintroduce ‘The Stand’ to a new generation of people who weren't really familiar with the book. It's kind of an honour to be playing this iconic character and getting to play in the Stephen King universe and especially with this project,” he said.

This is not the first project based on the novel. ABC aired a critically-acclaimed six-hour mini-series adaptation of the book in 1994, starring Gary Sinise as Stu Redman.

Marsden was all praise for Sinise’s work on the mini-series and believes the Golden Globe winner aced the part.

“I thought he was tremendous, he walked that line of good balance of being a decent good man, but having his demons as well. When you have a character that is flawed but still in the face of everything choose to try to go towards the light. Gary got all of that. There's a kindness and warmth to his portrayal.” Having grown up on the outskirts of Oklahoma city with humble beginnings, the actor said for him it was easy to understand Stu, a character from a small town background.

“He's (Stu) a man that I could be more like. He's not a righteous man, he is someone who doesn't speak much but always listens, he is intelligent and wants to do the right thing, but that's not without his brokenness. He certainly has his flaws as well. So all of that resonated with me.' A firm believer in the battle between good and evil theme that runs through the show, Marsden said what he found interesting was that the bad guys had their redeeming qualities and good characters too had flaws.

“That's what makes these characters human, we can see each one of us, we can see ourselves in these characters and that's the brilliance of this story.' “The Stand” also features Odessa Young, Jovan Adepo, Amber Heard and Greg Kinnear.

Cavell serves as executive producer on the show along with Taylor Elmore, Will Weiske, Jimmy Miller, Roy Lee and Richard P Rubinstein.

The series started streaming in India on Voot Select from December 17. PTI KKP SHD RDS RDS