Katherine McNamara and Nat Wolff in The Stand

Stephen King wrote nearly 700 pages in the uncut version of The Stand before finally providing readers a peek into life in Randall Flagg’s Las Vegas, and while the new CBS All Access miniseries has changed a good number of things from the source material, that approach has been maintained in the translation across mediums. In the first four episodes of the show characters have discussed what The Dark Man has been up to, but the action has been limited to the Boulder Free Zone and the various character journeys across America.

That changes in the fifth episode, titled “Suspicious Minds” in reference to the Elvis Presley song, and based on what stars Katherine McNamara and Nat Wolff have to say about it, audiences should strap in for a serious show.

I spoke with the two actors (who, respectively, play Julie Lawry and Lloyd Henreid) during a virtual roundtable as part of the press day for The Stand last month, and asked if they could both speak to the experience of shooting in “New Vegas.” For her part, McNamara expressed a lot of awe in regards to what had been built on set – particularly given what the production was initially working with:

Well, for me, it was one of my favorite sets. It was one of the few sets that I got to be on, but it was amazing to see how immersive they created the world. They took this old condemned hotel and completely took it over and transformed it. And we had extras and blood everywhere. And it was really, truly a fun world to exist in because we sort of felt as though we were there, and got to run amuck as it were.

A big part of what Randall Flagg uses to draw followers to New Vegas in The Stand is the opportunity for people to let their id rule the day. While the survivors in the Boulder Free Zone work hard to rebuild a peaceful society, The Walking Dude orchestrates his denizens into a kind of organized chaos that emphasizes power and violence – and it’s a world that both Julie and Lloyd (at least initially) revel in.

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Reflecting on his own time in New Vegas on the set of The Stand, Nat Wolff drew a comparison between it and his past big screening acting experiences, and noted that what was built out-scaled everything he has ever done – his filmography including films like The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Death Note. Said Wolff,

I think I've done a few independent movies that if you combine their budgets wouldn't amount to the amount that it cost to make the Las Vegas set. It was really, really incredible. It was huge and it sort of looked like my imagination of Vegas from reading the book – identical to what I had imagined.

Audiences will get to meet Katherine McNamara’s Julie Lawry in this week’s episode of The Stand, titled “The House Of The Dead” – which will be available for streaming on CBS All Access starting at midnight on Thursday, January 7. And for those of you counting down the days until the full reveal of New Vegas, “Suspicious Minds” will debut at the exact same time on the exact same service one week later on Thursday, January 14.

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