With CBS All Access' upcoming 9-episode adaptation of Stephen King's 1978 novel The Stand ready to be unleashed starting Thursday, December 17 (with episodes airing weekly on Thursdays), to say that we were surprised to catch the first official teaser during Sunday night's MTV VMA Awards would be an understatement. So you can imagine how we were feeling when Bleeding Cool Editor-in-Chief Kaitlyn Booth did us a serious solid by asking actor Henry Zaga what his experience was like working on the project and playing Nick Andros during his interview to promote his film New Mutants (Roberto da Costa aka Sunspot). Zaga's Nick Andros is a young deaf and mute man who finds himself in a position of authority when the unthinkable happens and has a habit of risking his own well-being for the safety of others. As Zaga sees it, Nick's a character who will have a lasting impact on him well beyond his time on the project.
"The Stand was an honor, just to put it lightly because I didn't even know that I had it in me to draw so much from for Nick. Nick's become such a special character. I'll have him with me forever. He sees that goodness in every person. The most evil person you meet, he would try and see the good in him or her and try to draw from that. He's really fearless in that way," Zaga explained. "He says no to The Devil himself, you know, and becomes the godly woman's right-hand man. And her voice as a deaf man. I learned so much from playing this character, from ASL, which is one of the most beautiful languages I could ever dream to learn. It's so expressive and so personal, too."
Nick's nomadic aspects were also appealing to Zaga. "To really feeling like, you know, you have to rely on people's kindness to have a home. Nick is a drifter. He doesn't have a home. He goes from house to house, from farm to farm, offering labor in exchange for a meal. It was an honor, to say the least. I learned so much. And I got to work with Josh [Boone] again, which is always wonderful."
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. Here's a look at our cast of characters, as well as the new preview images that were released with the announcement.
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.
Goldberg's Mother Abagail is a prophet who receives visions from God and guides survivors of the superglue. 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.
Written by Josh Boone and Ben Cavell, the 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.