The cast of 'The Stand' on filming a TV show about a pandemic during an actual pandemic

Amber Heard, James Marsden, and the cast of The Stand talk to Yahoo Entertainment about what it was like filming a TV show about a pandemic during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Video Transcript


- (SINGING) Because every little thing is going to be all right.

- I'm scared.

- Me too.

- Where will we go?

ETHAN ALTER: It's an obvious question to start out with but a necessary one, I think. You're releasing a pandemic show during a pandemic. What's that experience like knowing that this is coming out at these times?

GREG KINNEAR: It is absolutely insane. It's bonkers. And, you know, you do a few of these, and then all of a sudden it's like, yeah, well, I guess that's what's happening. But periodically I'm kicked in the gut again by the sort of surreal quality that I am doing a thing called Zoom, which I didn't know existed a few months ago, with you during a dumpster fire of a year in a pandemic about a show written 40 years ago about a pandemic. It's not lost on me.

While we were making it, I think it was like January you started to hear little stories. If we were to have done a morning talk show in the trailer every day, I think the top couple of minutes of the show were always about, hey, have you guys been following this pandemic thing? It was amazing that it played out like it did.

I came back from Vancouver and two days later was at school picking up my children that had closed down on the same day that the NBA shut down. It was all fairly nuts.

At the end of the day, that's what I'll say about the pandemic. I read Stephen's book, you know, in the '70s, and it touched me, and I thought it was amazing. It is a different pandemic. It is the nuclear bomb of pandemics, of course.

And ultimately the strength of his storytelling is in characters, and I felt like the characters were dynamic, alive, and they didn't feel out of place in 2019 when we started this. They felt very contemporary, strangely.

JAMES MARSDEN: It's a very surreal feeling knowing that-- we-- you know, I mean, look, King wrote the book back in the '70s, and we started filming last September and went all the way to March. And we were just wrapping up in March when everything started to really get real.

It's difficult to not draw the comparisons but obviously two completely different things. It's a bit eerie to be working on a movie or a TV show that starts with a pandemic is what I always like to say. And I think the Captain Trips virus that wipes out 99.4% of the population within a week or two-- the show's not about that. The book never was really about that. It was about what happens afterwards. And that's the sort of match that lights the fuse for the bigger story to be told. But yes, tough to ignore the parallels to some degree for sure.

AMBER HEARD: It's surreal, you know. I mean, to have the show confront some of the early-on adjustments and adjusting to the COVID-19 demands as we are wrapping up a show about a global pandemic is a bit surreal.

I think, though, that there is a lot that is kind of perfect for this to come out that people will get from. For instance, you know, the show is about so much more than a disease or a plague wiping out, you know, most people. It is about those who survive, what they do with that survival, what they do with that life that they have fought hard to have.

Our characters are taking all sorts of paths in that, and it's interesting. I think it's a good message to see what people will do when forced into a situation where they have to ask themselves, what would I do? What do I really want?

ETHAN ALTER: What was it like seeing the sort of effects of Captain Trips versus now when we see pictures of COVID-19 patients?

AMBER HEARD: Speaking only about what I saw from our incredible set design and costume and hair and makeup design and to see what they were able to create is truly something. I remember getting images from tests, you know, for what these would look like after having been in talks to do this project and to collaborate on it as much as I could with the creators back, like, years ago. And to see it come to fruition in this way, I'm reminded of those early days when I would get the-- when I would get texts, pictures of what some of those tests look like, and it's disgusting. Frankly, I was horrified. I was like, what did I sign up for? What kind of movie is this? What kind of project is this? What are we doing?

But now, I mean, I'm over the moon. Captain Trips has nothing to do with our, you know, reality. The diseases are very different, but the manifestations of Captain Trips in particular are especially gross.

ODESSA YOUNG: Thankfully the visuals of coronavirus are not quite as horrifying as Captain Trips. I think, like, the description of the way that Captain Trips makes you look is so iconic in "The Stand." And, you know, we had some incredible makeup-effects people working on our show, and they did a really, really good job.

There's this scene in the first episode where I have to bury my father, you know. And I kind of prepare his body, and I try to drag him out of the house. And part of that scene is me-- I lean over him, and I'm looking at him like this. And I do remember, you know, looking at the makeup and the-- there was no-- was no line between the tube neck and his body or his face. It was so incredibly realistic that I had a little double take moment of going, oh, this is really weird. This is really disgusting. And so I guess I'm pretty thankful that in coronavirus we don't have to contend with that kind of body horror.

NAT WOLFF: I was shooting scenes towards the end of our shoot in March where I was burning toilet paper and throwing it through the jail cell, and then I was reading online that night that in Italy the prisoners were doing the exact same You know, it was like-- it was so strange.

I think for me, I finished filming on March 5, and I went into quarantine the week later. So it was-- it's been really, really strange. I do feel like it made it so I was-- I was much more nervous earlier on than a lot of people, at least a lot of people in my life.

I'm so happy that we've gotten Trump out of office, and now we're going to have a new president and a new leader who cares about people. You know, and I think that in this book, you do see that certain people in times of crisis do fall and certain people rise to the occasion. And so hopefully, you know, in America we have now leaders that can rise to the occasion because I have a lot of people that I know that had COVID, and what a crazy year.