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Why The Cast Of The Stand Looks So Familiar

Ever since his debut novel, Carrie, was released in 1973, Stephen King has made his name as a modern horror master, conquering the genre with his gripping, captivating novels. And naturally, his works have been adapted for both the big and small screens a number of times. From films like Stanley Kubrick's The Shining to television shows like Castle Rock, it's clear that King's work has seriously stood the test of time, and his incredible stories will be represented in both television and film for decades to come.

That's especially true when it comes to The Stand. One of King's most beloved works, The Stand was adapted as miniseries in 1994, running on ABC for four episodes. Thanks to stars like Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Miguel Ferrer, Gary Sinise, and even King regular Kathy Bates in a cameo role, the miniseries — which tells the story of a world recovering from an apocalyptic pandemic — received solid reviews, leaving it ripe for another adaptation down the line.

After all, King's massive novel is an epic tale of good versus evil — a type of story that will never go out of style. And now, a new adaptation of The Stand will hit CBS' streaming service, All Access, in 2020. This updated version features a new spin on a classic book and a modern cast full of familiar faces. But where have you seen all these actors before? Well, from Randall Flagg to Mother Abagail, here's why the cast of The Stand looks so familiar.

Amber Heard made her mark in the DCEU

Amber Heard is known for portraying a series of sultry yet strong characters. And with Nadine Cross, Heard is playing a different yet familiar character as a woman who knows her own strength but often can't find the right opportunity to exercise her power. When The Stand begins, Nadine is possessed with one overarching belief — specifically, that she must remain "pure" and a virgin, so that she can surrender herself to a man for a specific purpose. However, as she finds herself embroiled in risky situations with dangerous people, her purpose becomes corrupted, resulting in some serious trials for this devout and determined woman.

Heard kicked off her career with a small role in the television series Friday Night Lights, but her big breakthrough came in 2008's Pineapple Express, where she played Seth Rogen's much younger, put-upon girlfriend. Since then, she's appeared in films like Zombieland, Drive Angry, Magic Mike XXL, and alongside her then-husband Johnny Depp in 2011's The Rum Diary (their allegedly violent marriage ended in 2016). However, her most high-profile role is undoubtedly in the DCEU as Mera, Aquaman's powerful and formidable love interest, whom she's played in both Justice League and Aquaman.

James Marsden was one of the X-Men before joining The Stand

As the planet is ravaged by a strain of influenza that wipes out nearly the entire world's population, some citizens in The Stand realize they're actually immune to the disease, one of whom is Stu Redman, played by James Marsden. After enduring plenty of testing from the government thanks to his mysterious immunity, Stu escapes a research facility and finds other survivors, helping them run a "Free Zone."

Marsden is plenty recognizable, thanks to appearances in both television and film. The actor broke through with parts in Bryan Singer's X-Men films as Cyclops and a supporting role in legendary cryfest The Notebook alongside Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling before appearing in other rom-coms like 27 Dresses, Enchanted, and Bachelorette

But Marsden has also proven a valuable player in both dramatic films and more straight-up comedies. For example, Marsden showed off his comedy chops in a winning guest turn as Chris Cross in later seasons of Tina Fey's 30 Rock, as well as his scene-stealing role as Jack Lime in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. His high-profile dramatic work, on the other hand, includes his role as John F. Kennedy in The Butler and, of course, his supporting part as Teddy Flood in HBO's Westworld. The versatile actor can also blend the two genres, a skill he shows off in Netflix's extraordinarily dark comedy Dead to Me

Jovan Adepo is a rising star

As Larry Underwood, actor Jovan Adepo takes an enormous journey as a young, aspiring musician who finds himself in the middle of a situation he can hardly handle. With one hit song and a dying mother he must protect, Larry travels through an abandoned New York City before finding other survivors along the way, despite some seriously harrowing circumstances. In his travels across the country, he eventually discovers the "Free Zone," and he works with other survivors to try to make their way in this new, ruined world they all must somehow inhabit.

A young actor of Nigerian descent, Adepo has a relatively modest resume, but he's still racked up a few high-profile roles. At a young age, he met Viola Davis' sister, who eventually introduced him to the Emmy- and Academy Award-winning actress, which set him on a perfect path for an actor. He later starred alongside Davis in 2016's Fences, an August Wilson adaptation led by Davis and Denzel Washington that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. One year later, Adepo appeared in Darren Aronofsky's mother! against Jennifer Lawrence in a small, supporting role. Adepo went on to snag a role in Damon Lindelof's critically acclaimed HBO show The Leftovers, and he appeared in Ava DuVernay's Netflix series When They See Us in 2019 as Anton McCray, one of the Central Park Five.

Whoopi Goldberg is the most familiar face in The Stand

One of the most famous figures within the world of The Stand is Abagail Freemantle, a revered prophet who goes by the name Mother Abagail. As she leads a pious group of plague survivors, Abagail, at the staggering age of 108 years old, is another citizen immune to the virus. The child of freed slaves, she amasses plenty of followers as she receives what she believes are visions from God, and as she continues on her journey, she makes an important prophecy about the remaining survivors.

If you don't recognize the woman who plays Mother Abagail, you might have a bit of catching up to do. As one of only 15 EGOT winners in history (an acronym that denotes a performer who's won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), Whoopi Goldberg is one of the most familiar faces in Hollywood history. From Ghost and Sister Act to The Color Purple and Made in America, Goldberg has proven herself as one of the nation's funniest performers, and she's a beloved figure both on and off the screen. And since 2007, she's been one of the hosts on ABC's The View, offering her, well, point of view as she butts heads with other panelists every morning.

Alexander Skarsgard is playing an absolutely evil role

Randall Flagg might seem unassuming at first, but as it turns out, he's the main villain of The Stand's entire narrative. Also known as the Dark Man, the Tall Man, and the Walkin' Dude, Flagg is a purely evil being who seeks utter destruction throughout the human world. An ageless being who's apparently survived multiple eras, Flagg can assume any form he wants, and he uses that power to manipulate the survivors of the plague, spreading hate and discord everywhere that he goes. 

The difficult role of Randall Flagg is a huge undertaking for any actor, but Emmy winner Alexander Skarsgård is perfect casting, thanks to his versatility and strong presence. Skarsgård made his film debut in a small role in Zoolander, but he honed his dramatic chops in HBO shows like Generation Kill and True Blood, playing a regular role in the latter as brooding vampire Eric Northman. 

After appearances in films like Melancholia, Straw Dogs, the much-maligned Battleship, and The Legend of Tarzan, Skarsgård returned to HBO for the first season of Big Little Lies, a critically acclaimed series where he played the abusive husband of Nicole Kidman's character, Celeste Wright. Skarsgård ultimately won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries for Big Little Lies, perfectly priming him for huge, dramatic roles — including Randall Flagg.

Daniel Sunjata has a small but crucial part in The Stand

Cobb, a former military man, has one important job within the universe of The Stand, and that is to protect Stu Redman (James Marsden), an immune survivor of the plague who's slowly making his way across the country. While the government tries to find a cure, Cobb must stick to his one mission, and he does so with steadfast loyalty.

The role of Cobb might be a supporting part, but it's an incredibly important one, and in the end, Daniel Sunjata was chosen for this indispensable character. A veteran of the small screen, Sunjata has played supporting roles in television dramas like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (as CSI technician Burt Trevor) and Grey's Anatomy (as Nurse Eli, who carries on a long-term relationship with Chandra Wilson's Dr. Bailey), but his most high-profile television roles were in FX's firefighter drama Rescue Me as Franco Rivera and in USA's Graceland as Paul Briggs. His film roles include supporting turns in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises and The Devil Wears Prada, where he played a high-profile fashion designer.

Brad William Henke is most famous for a prison dramedy

Initially, The Stand's Tom Cullen seems like a simple man who struggles with basic speech and functions, possessing only a few key syllables and words that allow him to communicate with others. However, there's much more to Tom than meets the eye. As it turns out, he's capable of a self-induced hypnosis which can induce visions, which is an incredibly helpful skill in the aftermath of a worldwide plague.

In this iteration of The Stand, Brad William Henke plays Tom Cullen, and the actor has already built up quite a resume during his decades-long career. Henke has racked up plenty of credits on television, including appearances in Sports Night, Dexter, Lost, Justified, Bones, The Office, and Orange is the New Black, where he played Desi Piscatella for nearly 30 episodes. You've also likely spotted him in movies like Hollywoodland, Choke, Pacific Rim, Jobs, and Split. Clearly, this experienced actor is perfect for difficult roles like Cullen, since Henke has certainly paid his dues over the years.

Owen Teague has appeared in the Stephen King universe before

As one of the younger survivors of the plague that takes over the Earth, Harold Lauder starts The Stand as a teenage outcast, but once the disease hits, he ends up serving an invaluable role in the ensuing apocalypse. After leaving a note when departing his home, he unwittingly creates a route for other survivors, and throughout his journey, he forms bonds with several other people struggling to find a new life, including Frances Goldsmith (played by Odessa Young). It's a formidable role for a young actor to take on, but luckily, Owen Teague is the perfect actor for the job.

Teague is no stranger to Stephen King adaptations. In both It and It: Chapter Two, he played Patrick Hockstetter, marking his two biggest film appearances to date. On the small screen, Teague has appeared in shows like Black Mirror (where he played a crucial role in the 2017 episode "Arkangel") and Bloodline, alongside Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, and Linda Cardellini.

Greg Kinnear is an absolute pro

Every apocalypse needs a learned man willing to pass on his wisdom, and in The Stand, that role goes to Glen Bateman, a retired associate professor of sociology who must find his place in this dystopian nightmare. Even though Bateman is arthritic and out of shape, he can hand out advice to younger generations, and on top of that, his dreams serve as visions that show him what other survivors are doing.

The man behind Bateman, Greg Kinnear, is an instantly recognizable face from both the big and small screen, leaving the character in the hands of a true veteran actor. An Academy Award nominee for his supporting role in 1997's As Good As It Gets, Kinnear has appeared in an incredible slate of projects, including You've Got Mail, Nurse Betty, Stuck On You, Little Miss Sunshine, Baby Mama, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and much more. As for television, you've probably spotted Kinnear on Friends, Modern Family, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, House of Cards, and the Jordan Peele-led 2019 reboot of The Twilight Zone.

Nat Wolff is showing a new side in The Stand

Apocalyptic scenarios tend to inspire a few crime sprees, and in The Stand, Lloyd Henreid is just one criminal taking advantage of a dire situation. As a murderer imprisoned in Phoenix, Arizona, who's doing time for six different murders, Henreid eventually outlives every other person in his specific prison, and ultimately, Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgård) breaks Lloyd out and sets him loose on an unsuspecting populace that's already escaped a deadly plague. Remaining loyal to his liberator, Lloyd sets forth to do Flagg's bidding, no matter the consequences.

It might seem ironic that one of The Stand's darkest characters is played by a former Disney star, but despite his roots, Nat Wolff is the perfect choice for the role. Wolff got his start on the Disney Channel series The Naked Brothers Band, for which he composed the music with his brother, Alex Wolff (who's also racked up quite an acting career). As he made his way into adulthood, Wolff built up his resume with roles in films like Paper Towns, Palto Alto, The Fault in Our Stars, and Home Again, cementing himself as a serious, young star on the rise who can handle a wide variety of genres and projects.

What is Marilyn Manson's role in The Stand?

The Stand is, by nature, full of mysteries. Why and how did the government introduce a deadly plague into the general population, and what did they think would happen? What purpose will each character serve, and who can possibly help during the impending apocalypse? Beyond all of these questions, there's one more important query. What exactly is Marilyn Manson doing here?

The rock legend is officially confirmed for a role in The Stand, but Manson's part hasn't yet been announced, which makes sense when you consider how enigmatic this musician has remained throughout his career. Born as Brian Hugh Warner, the performer took his name from Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson, and he's made his mark as a shocking, eccentric artist who dabbles in the occult, acts in oddball projects by David Lynch (he appeared in Lost Highway), and even creates visual art, all alongside his successful musical career. There's no doubt that Marilyn Manson is a dynamic figure on all counts, and no matter who he ends up playing in The Stand, he's sure to inspire plenty of shock and awe.