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How A Couple Of Guitars Helped The Stand Cast Bond With Stephen King

There have been countless pandemic movies made over the years — some better than others. But they've all taken on new meaning now that the coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives. The newest adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Stand premieres today on CBS All Access, but while its story about a deadly pandemic and the ensuing clash between two groups of survivors feels awfully relevant right now, this actually isn't the first miniseries adaptation of The Stand.

In 1994, Hocus Pocus writer Mick Garris directed a four episode adaptation that was written by acclaimed horror writer Stephen King himself. It starred Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, and Jamey Sheridan as the Dark Man, Randall Flagg. Garris had previously directed Sleepwalkers, a different King adaptation, but The Stand, which boasted a 450 page script, was an altogether more ambitious undertaking. Luckily for him, the cast, and the crew, King was on set for around half of the 100 day shoot, which gave them time to bond.

King joined some of the cast and Garris in singing "Eve of Destruction"

In an interview with Syfy, Garris recounted memories from filming the four episode miniseries. King was an executive producer in addition to acting as scriptwriter, so he was on set for part of their shoot. Garris said it was a show of support to have him there, and added that "[King] had so much fun. Being on a film set for him was like playing with the best toy train on Christmas morning, seeing his words come to life, being there for me, for the cast to ask questions that only he could answer, but to be a cheerleader."

This helped grow a strong sense of camaraderie on set, which was important, given their nearly non-stop shooting schedule. However, the true bonding moment came when they were filming on a remote highway, and Adam Storke (who portrayed the young musician Larry Underwood) played the song "Eve of Destruction" on his guitar. Garris said he, King, and Sinise all joined in: "We all started singing 'Eve of Destruction' together and playing guitars, and it was just an amazing bit of camaraderie ... That kind of camaraderie really bonds you in a way that lasts forever, not just for that day."

In the case of the 2020 The Stand miniseries, King wrote the script for the final episode, which Deadline reports will have a new ending that continues beyond the book's story. It's sure to be an interesting watch with its familiar cast of faces, but we'll have to wait a few more months to see King's new ending, as the episodes are being released weekly.