The first time my older sister saw this, she had a kidney infection. The first time I read the book, I had heat prostration. Every time since that I've read the book, I've gotten sick--or started out sick. Power of suggestion only goes so far, I think.
And today, as I'm lying in bed trying to bring up the phlegm that sits and tickles the back of my throat for hours on end, the Sci-Fi Channel presents Stephen King's [i]The Stand[/i].
At any rate, this was the only possible solution to bringing this work to the screen. This book, considered by many to be King's masterpiece, in manuscript form weighed the same amount as Stephen King's favored bowling ball, he says. It works out to roughly 1000 pages, give or take a hundred. What's more, every subplot ties into the whole, so there are no characters that can be left out easily. (And [i]man[/i], there are a lot of characters!) The Kid, yes, and The Kid is left out of the book's initial release. But The Kid is only perhaps thirty pages; no big deal in the main scheme of things. You have to lose hundreds of pages to make a shooting script for theatrical release.
So. Mini-series. We are given eight hours. Time enough to really explore Stu and Franny and Nick, Larry and Nadine and Lloyd. The saved and the damned all together, as God and Stephen King intended.
IMDB lists three men offered the role of Flagg who turned it down--Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, and Christopher Walken. Leaving aside the obvious "One of these things is not like the others" factor, I'm not sure having anyone so well-known would have been good for the character. Flagg is supposed to be mysterious, and thinking, "He was great in [i]Mississippi Burning[/i]," for example, would hardly help that. I'm not sure I like the guy they did end up casting, but it helps that I don't really know him from anywhere else.
It's different for the others--I actively wish they'd gotten a relatively well-known singer to play Larry, for example. They're supposed to be sort of familiar. They're people you just kind of know from around, or at least, they ought to be. They're ordinary people. You know the educated, slightly dreamy Fran, and so she's Molly Ringwald. You know the earthy, practical Stu, and he's Gary Sinise.
At least that's how I see it. There's also, I suppose, the obvious "They got who they could" aspect to things as well. And good ol' King himself as Teddy Weizak. Because, with that many characters, there's one for everyone. I only wonder that Tabby isn't in there somewhere.