The Stand Cast Discuss Randall Flagg: "He's Sort of Sexy Trump"

When CBS All Access' adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand gets unleashed across millions of streaming screens in ten days (Thursday, December 17), the forces of Mother Abagail's (Whoopi Goldberg) light and Randall Flagg's (Alexander Skarsgard) darkness will be forced to decide which side of the line they stand on, chaos or hope. In Boulder, Colorado, Mother Abigail's people consist of noble Texan Stu Redman (James Marsden), troubled music star Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo), sociologist Glen Bateman (Greg Kinnear), and more. But what about Flagg himself? Last month, we had a chance to look at Ezra Miller's (The Flash) take on Trashcan Man and hear from the actor about why the character is so important to both the novel and series' themes- but what about the "big bad" he works for?

The Stand (Screencap Image: CBS All Access)
A look at The Stand (Screencap Image: CBS All Access)

Skarsgard's Flagg isn't exactly the "quiet type," more into huge rallies, mortal combat between the survivors, and public executions for those who dare question his authority. Or as Fiona Dourif aka Rat Woman explains to EW, "He's sort of sexy Trump." For Katherina McNamara aka Julie Lawray, the rally scenes, in particular, were a tough go. "It's a bit terrifying when you're with hundreds of extras chanting insane profanities at Alexander Skarsgard lording over us as Randall Flagg." If that's not enough to convince you of the Flagg/Donald Trump connections, showrunner Ben Cavell and the producers added a bit of visual vanity to Flagg that folks should find very familiar. "We fell in love with the idea that Flagg would want to essentially block out any logos – and Vegas is obviously a place with a lot of logos – but that he would want to block out any branding that's not him with a Flagg symbol," Cavell explains.

For Skarsgård, going "big" with the role would've been easy considering just how powerful King's character is- so he went the opposite direction. "Flagg's such a formidable opponent, I decided to focus on his vulnerability," the actor explained. "He needs adulation and accolades from his sycophants, and that fuels his ego. That's interesting because he shouldn't care about tiny humans at all but still craves their devotion." It was a decision that surprised and impressed the producers. "He's able to be so still and quiet, which was a brilliant choice and not what any of us expected," Cavell shared.

The Stand
A look at The Stand (Screencap Image: CBS All Access)

Here's a Look at CBS All Access' "The Stand"

The limited series's ensemble cast includes Alexander Skarsgard, Whoopi Goldberg, James Marsden, Amber Heard, Heather Graham, Greg Kinnear, Odessa Young, Henry Zaga, Jovan Adepo, Owen Teague, Brad William Henke, Daniel Sunjata, Nat Wolff, Eion Bailey, Katherine McNamara, Hamish Linklater, and Fiona Dourif, with Ezra Miller guest-starring as Trashcan Man. Here's a look at our cast of characters, as well as another look at the official trailer:

Marsden's Stu Redman is an ordinary working-class factory man in an extraordinary situation with a damaged quality to him that belies his exterior. Heard's Nadine Cross is a deeply conflicted woman who feels the consequences of her actions but is still compelled by her allegiance to Randall Flagg, the Dark Man. Young's Frannie Goldsmith is a pregnant young woman navigating a strange new world, who also has the foresight to recognize that there is evil lurking beyond Flagg. Zaga's Nick Andros is a young deaf and mute man who finds himself in a position of authority when the unthinkable happens. He has a habit of risking his own well-being for the safety of others.

Pictured: Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail of the the CBS All Access series THE STAND. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Pictured: Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail of the the CBS All Access series THE STAND. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Goldberg's Mother Abagail is a prophet who receives visions from God and guides survivors of the superflu. Adepo's Larry Underwood is a young musician with a taste for fame, as well as illegal substances. When the plague hits, he is forced to confront his demons as he makes his way to the new world. Teague's Harold Lauder goes in search of others with fellow survivor Frannie Goldsmith. While his intentions are good, jealousy and his infatuation with Frannie threaten to lead him down a dark path. Henke's Tom Cullen is Nick Andros' traveling companion who is developmentally disabled due to a terrible fall as a child. A sweet soul, he will be instrumental in their fight for survival. Sunjata's Cobb is a member of the military tasked with supervising Stu Redman as the government searches for a cure during the outbreak of the superglue.

Skarsgard's Randall Flagg is the living, breathing personification of all things dark and evil. Wolff's Lloyd Henreid is a petty criminal who becomes fiercely loyal to Flagg. Bailey's Teddy Weizak is a superflu survivor and member of the body crew, alongside Harold, in Boulder, CO. McNamara's Julie Lawry is a small-town girl with a wild side who is one of Lloyd's conquests in Las Vegas. Linklater's Dr. Ellis is a military colonel and infectious-disease specialist who dreams of being the hero who stops the superglue. Graham's Rita Blakemoor is a wealthy woman who is ill-prepared for the end of the world and attempts to escape superflu-infested New York City. Kinnear's Glen Bateman is a widowed professor when the superflu hits – one accustomed to a solitary life. When he encounters other survivors, Glen's curiosity is piqued by Mother Abagail's visions. Dourif's "Rat Woman" is one of Randall Flagg's evil lackeys.

The Stand Cast Discuss Randall Flagg: "He's Sort of Sexy Trump"
Pictured (l-r): Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg and Nat Wolff as Lloyd Henreid of the the CBS All Access series THE STAND. Photo Cr: Robert Falconer/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Written by Josh Boone, Ben Cavell, and more, the 9-episode limited series also includes a King-penned final episode coda that provides a new aspect and perspective to the ending not found in the book. Boone is directing the first and last episodes, and executive producing alongside showrunner Taylor Elmore, Will Weiske, Jimmy Miller, Roy Lee, and Richard P. Rubinstein, with CBS Televisions Studios serving as studio. Jake Braver, Jill Killington, Owen King, Knate Lee, and Stephen Welke also produce.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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