The Stand’s James Marsden, Amber Heard, and more on its eerie real-world parallels

In the event you tuned in to last week’s premiere of The Stand on CBS All Access and were not already aware of Stephen King’s novel (or ABC’s 1994 miniseries adaptation, for that matter), then the story of a deadly virus ravaging the world and upending society as we know it might’ve felt shockingly familiar thanks to the hell COVID-19 has put us all through this past year. Of course, production on this star-filled, nine-part event series was well underway when the full scope and impact of the coronavirus started to become clear, so the eerie parallels aren’t so much intentional as they are a testament to the mind of King. When he began writing the novel back in the ‘70s, his sights were set on creating an epic adventure set in contemporary America, with not-so-subtle commentary on how a government can fail its people, and how lines are drawn between good and evil when humans are left to fend for themselves. In other words, King’s best-selling fantasy feels more like a prescient observation of our reality with each passing year. Apocalyptic, end-of-society-as-we-know-it themes aside, there is some optimism at the core of The Stand, and The A.V. Club had the chance to ask the cast for their takes on the lessons that can be gleaned and applied to this current moment. Amber Heard, Jovan Adepo, James Marsden, Odessa Young, Greg Kinnear, Henry Zaga, Brad William Henke, Katherine McNamara, and Nat Wolff all weighed in on where hope can be found in Stephen King’s ambitious saga.

New episodes of The Stand premiere every Thursday, exclusively on CBS All Access.

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