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The Stand is a 1994 television miniseries based on the novel The Stand by Stephen King. King also wrote the teleplay. It was directed by Mick Garris and stars Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald and Jamey Sheridan.

Plot

The miniseries closely parallels the events of King's post apocalyptic novel by the same name. A superflu devastates the United Statesmarker, leaving only a few survivors. These survivors gravitate towards either the side of good or evil, driven mainly by very vivid dreams in the aftermath of the plague. The climax is a final showdown between good and evil in Las Vegasmarker, Nevadamarker.

Featured cast

Actor Role
Gary Sinise Stu Redman
Molly Ringwald Frannie Goldsmith
Jamey Sheridan Randall Flagg
Laura San Giacomo Nadine Cross
Ruby Dee Mother Abagail Freemantle
Ossie Davis Judge Richard Farris
Miguel Ferrer Lloyd Henreid
Corin Nemec Harold Lauder
Matt Frewer Trashcan Man
Adam Storke Larry Underwood
Ray Walston Glen Bateman
Rob Lowe Nick Andros
Bill Fagerbakke Tom Cullen
Peter van Norden Ralph Brentner
Rick Aviles Rat Man
Max Wright Dr. Herbert Denninger
Shawnee Smith Julie Lawry
Cynthia Garris Susan Stern
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Street Preacher
Warren Frost Dr. George Richardson
Joe Bob Briggs Deputy Joe-Bob
Troy Evans Sheriff Baker
Stephen King Teddy Weizak
John Landis Russ Dorr
Sam Raimi Bobby Terry
Kellie Overbey Dayna Jurgens
Ray McKinnon Charlie D. Campion
Bridgit Ryan Lucy Swann
David Kirk Chambers Brad Kitchner
Kathy Bates Rae Flowers (uncredited)
Ed Harris Gen. Starkey (uncredited)
Ken Jenkins Peter Goldsmith
Richard Lineback Poke


Casting and production notes

Moses Gunn had originally been cast as Judge Farris, but shortly after filming had commenced his health declined, and he died shortly after that. Ossie Davis was present at the filming because his wife, Ruby Dee, was playing Mother Abagail. Davis took over the role of Judge Farris.

Having both starred in previous film adaptations of King's works, Ed Harris and Kathy Bates both had small, uncredited roles in the early parts of the series. Bates's character, Rae Flowers, was originally a man (Ray Flowers), but when Bates became available the role was altered slightly. Harris plays the Army general in charge of the original bio-weapons project who kills himself after the failure of the disease containment means most of the human population will die.

Rob Lowe had been originally considered for the role of Larry Underwood, but Garris felt that having him in the more unusual role of the deaf-mute Nick Andros would better suit the production. Adam Storke ended up with the role of Underwood, where his musical skills were an asset.

Miguel Ferrer originally was interested in the role of Randall Flagg, but the sights were initially set on actors such as Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe and James Woods. Stephen King wanted someone that the audience "wasn't terribly familiar with." After Ferrer heard that Jamey Sheridan had been offered the part, but wasn't sure it was something he wanted to do, Ferrer convinced him to take the part.

Production Designer Nelson Coates, nominated for an Emmy for his design work, created all 225 sets for the miniseries. Faced with prices of $40 per stalk for New York-made fake cornstalks, Coates opted instead to grow 3,250 cornstalks as a cost-cutting measure; when a winter storm hit Utah, the reproduction of a Nebraska house with cornfield became complicated by the fact that the harsh weather did not allow the corn crop to grow taller than 4 feet.

Originally, parts of the miniseries were to be filmed on location in Boulder, Coloradomarker. After the passage of Colorado Amendment 2, which nullified local gay rights laws, the production was moved to Utah in protest.

Deviations from the novel

Character omissions and alterations

Some characters who appeared in the Complete and Uncut version of the novel were omitted from the TV miniseries. On the DVD commentary, it is stated that the screenplay is based on the original, shortened version of the novel. Early in the show, Fran Goldsmith's mother, Carla, is omitted. Her boyfriend, Jesse (father of her child), is also not seen in the film but is mentioned in passing by Fran, Harold Lauder, and Peter Goldsmith. The somewhat notable character of "The Kid," a young sociopath who has a key role in Trashcan Man's journey towards Las Vegas was only added to the extended cut of the novel. The old man, his counter part in the original version, was not included in the film version either.

Several minor characters in the novel were combined into one character, maintaining the plot elements but simplifying the story somewhat. Col. Dick Deitz and Dr. Elder are merged into the character of Dr. Deitz at the Stovington, Vermont Disease Center. Rita Blakemoor, Larry's original companion during his exit from New York, was combined with the character of Nadine Cross. Elements of the character of Perion McCarthy are expressed by Dayna Jurgens in the miniseries.

Plot differences

Early in the miniseries, key elements of the story are not expanded in the same way as the novel. Fran Goldsmith's mother's horrified reaction to Fran's out-of-wedlock pregnancy is not covered, as her mother's character was previously deceased. Also, Harold Lauder begins the novel as obese, but burns the weight off on the journey, while the actor playing Harold (Corin Nemec) is naturally slim from the beginning.

In the novel, it is Nadine Cross who initially takes care of "Joe" (Leo Rockway). In the mini-series, Nadine and "Joe" have no interaction. Nadine has left Larry Underwood by the time Larry teams up with "Joe" and Lucy Swann. Nadine also takes on the role of Rita Blakemoor; Larry meets her in New York, where they journey out of the city together. Nadine and Larry part ways not long after leaving the city. Unlike Rita's character, who fatally overdosed in the novel, Nadine simply leaves in the middle of the night because of the conflict between her desire to be with Larry and her destiny to be with Flagg. Nadine and Larry do not meet again until her arrival in Boulder.

In the novel, Julie Lawry and Nick have sex and she tries to get Nick to leave Tom behind. In the miniseries, almost all of the sexual nature is left out. Julie and Nick have a brief moment of intimate hugging in the drug store, and Julie is left behind after she says the medicine Nick tries to give Tom is poison. Julie is also described as a teenager in the novel compared to the appearance of someone in their early to mid twenties in the miniseries.

In the novel, victims of the superflu tend to briefly recover before relapsing strongly and dying. In the miniseries, those infected just get progressively sicker until they die.

Also Frannie's baby is a boy in the uncut version and is named Peter after her father, yet in the miniseries she has a girl which she names Abigail after Mother Abigail.

Several of the more graphic scenes in the novel were eliminated because of their violence and sexual nature in the TV adaptation. The entire plot line concerning the "female zoo" that Stu Redman's party encounters is omitted, with the relevant characters (Dayna Jurgens and Sue Stern) being folded into the storyline through other means. Director Mick Garris also felt that the crime spree and eventual capture of Lloyd Henreid and Poke Freeman was most compromised by the requirements of television.

There are other minor differences between the two versions; most of the alterations made for the miniseries were made to move along the progression of the storyline. The characters from Arnette are moved directly to Vermont, instead of going to Atlanta for initial treatment, for example. Nick's time in Shoyo is similarly compressed, with Ray Booth representing most of the action, which was originally split between several of the thugs who beat him up.

The miniseries does not specify what year the story takes place. It is evidently set a few years later than either version of the novel, because Larry Underwood makes a brief reference to the Rodney King police brutality incident.

Awards and nominations

1994 Casting Society of America (Artios)



1994 Emmy Awards

  • Won – Outstanding Makeup For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special:

    Steve Johnson, Bill Corso, David Dupuis, Joel Harlow, Camille Calvet
  • Won – Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Miniseries or a Movie:

    Grand Maxwell, Michael Ruschak, Richard Schexnayder, Don Summer
  • Nominated – Outstanding Art Direction For A Miniseries, Or Movie:

    Nelson Coates, Burton Rencher, Michael Perry, Susan Benjamin
  • Nominated – Outstanding Cinematography For A Miniseries Or Movie: Edward J. Pei
  • Nominated – Outstanding Miniseries: Richard P. Rubinstein, Stephen King, Mitchell Galin, Peter R. McIntosh
  • Nominated – Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Dramatic Underscore): W.G. Walden


1995 Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • Nominated – Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Gary Sinise


Releases

The Stand was released as two separate VHS tapes for Parts 1-2, 3-4 originally in New Zealand and Australia, and later as a two VHS set.

The Stand was released on DVD by Artisan Entertainment in a two-disc release and a single disc DVD. Both DVD versions have audio commentary and special features. Both the double disc and single disc releases of The Stand are out of print, but can still be purchased online.

In 2006, American DVD rights reverted to Paramount Pictures/CBS DVD. Paramount has not yet released a standalone version of The Stand, but has released it as part of a collection with The Langoliers and Golden Years. This release of The Stand lacks the audio commentary.

The underlying international rights to The Stand were once owned by Warner Bros. Television.

References

  1. Michael Booth. "5 Points a star: Hollywood action invades Denver neighborhood," The Denver Post, August 27, 1994, page A1.
  2. Dusty Saundes. "Amendment 2 Drives Film's Makers Away" Rocky Mountain News, May 8, 1994


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