Sometimes, I have to write totally selfish articles. This is one of those, and I won’t apologise for it- with much talk of the upcoming film series adaptation of The Stand, it’s only fair I give a few pointers to the filmakers so they have a clue what they’re doing. For those who adore the book, like me, please comment and let me know what you think: for those who don’t, I promise the Doctor Who review will be up tomorrow.
Larry Underwood- Matthew Mchonaughey
In the midst of the Mchonaissance (I only heard about that phrase a couple of weeks ago, and think it might be the cleverest thing I’ve ever come across), the Dallas Buyers Club star has apparently been in talks to play the main villain, Randy Flagg. Personally, I’ve had him picked out as Larry for years- a slightly haggard, boozy country music star with questionable morals and a way with the ladies. He’s got to be handsome in a very particular way, and Matthew might just be able to pull off that ultimately martyred charisma.
Harold Lauder- Caleb Landry Jones
Aside from the big bad, Harold might be the most complex and challenging character in the whole novel. At sixteen, he finds himself one of the sole survivors of a superflu, turning him (in his mind, at least) from a high school loser into an action hero. His tragic trajectory requires someone who can convincingly pull off a teenage saddo as well as they can delve into the dark moral ambiguity of the character. Landry Jones is by far one of my favourite young actors working at the moment, and everything I’ve seen him in so far indicates that he could pull off this role without turning it into a good-boy-turned-bad fable.
Nick Andros- Ben Wishaw
While I consider Nick one of the dullest characters in the novel (too much of a hero in a book peppered with ambiguities), the role would need a great actor to inhabit it, as Nick is both dumb and deaf. There’s a frailty and kindness to the role that the puckish Wishaw could pull off no problem. Plus this kid needs more work. So I can look at him. And his lovely face.
Stu Redman- David Morrissey
Stu is the de facto protagonist of The Stand, but also a pretty straight-down-the-line character- he’s a good guy with strong morals and the ability to bring people together under his leadership. I’ve always somewhat fancied the good Morissey for this role, as he’s old enough to bring the gravitas and charm without being too generic a “good cowboy” character.
Julie Lawry-Jennifer Lawrence
Something about the craziness and sexiness required for this role screams Jennifer Lawrence to me. She’s got to seem unstable and a little bit scary, but at the same time attractive and cool. Yup, Lawrence all the way.
Fran Goldsmith- Deborah Ann Woll
A no-brainer, really. One of the few significant female characters in the novel, Fran is too often seen as a slightly fluffy, overly feminine character, where she’s actually kind of an asskicker. Here, you’d need someone beautiful enough to play to high-school-hottie thing alongside a growing sense of cynicism and pragmatism. Woll has proved in her True Blood performance alone that she finds that roll stupidly easy. AND she needs a big-screen break.
Nadine Cross- Winona Ryder
When and why did we all forget Winona Ryder? I want a comeback, and specifically I want her playing Nadine Cross- doomed from the start, she’s got an ethereal and vaguely supernatural presence about her, as well as a penchant for manipulation. Ryder is just the right age for this now, and would bring some gravitas and smarts to the tricky role.
Lloyd and Poke- Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
For some reason, I always think of these two in the same breath, much like the characters I’ve cast them as here. Poke, a sociopathic criminal mastermind, has to be convincingly charming and cruel, and who woudn’t love to see Levitt playing a cut-and-dry bad guy? Lloyd Henreid as Randy Flagg’s right-hand man and mass murderer, has to convey the notion that he could have turned out as nothing more than a petty thief if he’d made different choices, and the slightly thuggish Hardy does a great line in morally tortured characters.
Mother Abigail-Viola Davis
Because obviously. An insanely great role for an equally talented actress.
Tom Cullen- Ryan Kwanten
I have no real justification for this other than Ryan Kwanten played a brilliantly loveable, almost Shakesperean fool in True Blood, and I think that utter likeability and clear and strong sense of right and wrong might come in handy in a role that could easily come off as patronising.
Trashcan Man-Andy Serkis
Who else but the supremely talented Serkis could play this, probably the singular most important character in the novel? A crazed, but not necesarily evil, arsonist who winds up bringing the book to it’s conclusion, Serkis has the acting chops and ability to totally get inside a character- see his performance as Ian Dury for proof. Chances are he’ll be acting through a lot of prosthetics towards his radiation-addled end too, which might suit the mo-cap hero quite well. Could you imagine anyone else dragging a nuclear weapon across the desert? Precisely.
The Kid- Elijah Wood
A diminutive sociopath who might be the most straight-up evil character in the book? Hello, Elijah Wood, what have you been doing since Sin City? Wood has those boyish good looks mixed with the ability to bring discomforting psycopathy to his roles. I would kill to see him inhabit The Kid.
Randall Flagg- Michael Rooker
A hot debate rages between every fan of the book over who should play the iconic villain, a leading character across a number of King’s works, and I’m calling Rooker on you all. At his heart, Flagg should be scary. He should look like he’s carrying decades of evil with every step, but still somehow be convincingly attractive to potential followers. We know Rooker can do crazed and scary-better than almost any actor working today, in fact- but I’m convinced he could bring the thespy, quiet, and clever stuff to life. That manic energy-and ability to pull off a knife hand-wouldn’t go amiss either. Basically, this is an actor whose got the ability to make even the most insane characters seem real- who better for the ultimate bad guy?