In The Stand, author Stephen King tells what is ultimately a story of good versus evil set against the post-apocalyptic backdrop of a world decimated by a horrifying super flu known as Captain Trips and when it comes to the "evil" side of that battle, that's led by the chilling Randall Flagg. Called the Dark Man or the Man in Black or even the Walkin' Dude by different characters, he tries to lure survivors to his faction in New Vegas through dark dreams. It's a character that has a seductive quality, one that isn't outright evil off the top. Flagg is played by Alexander Skarsgard in CBS All Access's current miniseries adaptation of The Stand and according to his co-star Amber Heard, he makes for the best devil ever.
Speaking with Mashable India, Heard -- who plays Nadine Cross in the adaptation -- spoke about how Skarsgard's natural charm made it very believable that people would so easily follow him, giving into their own inner devil in the process.
"I'm convinced no one else could play this role because -- what this character is meant to do is serve as a surrogate for the devil within us, the one that acts on lower impulses, the one that acts not out of charity but out of selfishness, with less empathy and more cut-throatedness, right? And that's supposed to be a character that we all can relate to or at least identify within ourselves," Heard said. "The whole book is a battle between the worst parts of ourselves and the best. Leaning into the latter, he wouldn't be able to build that role and take that place if it wasn't somehow enticing. If he was a monster and it was clear that he was a monster and it will all end terribly if you were to follow him or give in to him then it wouldn't really be interesting, it would be boring, no one will watch it or care because that's not how life works. It's always that thing that's maybe possible to justify."
She continued, "And no one does that better than Alex because he is so incredibly charming and easy-going about that charm, it doesn't feel put on. He has a way about carrying himself and speaking and interacting that makes it natural and easy, so easy that it's natural to us to want to follow him and want to listen to him or like him. And that's what makes him the best devil ever."
And viewers have already gotten to see a taste of just how alluring Skarsgard's Flagg can be. Early on, Flagg recruited Lloyd Henreid as his right hand man, a character that Nat Wolff described as being a lost soul whose weakness Flagg capitalized on.
"I think for me it was playing somebody who was not just an evil henchman, but he was a lost soul whose weakness was capitalized on by Randall Flagg," Wolff told ComicBook.com. "And he reminded me of one of those people you see in a documentary about a cult leader who follows the cult leader, who you see them and they seem like this totally normal person or maybe a damaged person but not evil and then they end up doing these atrocious things and you can't believe it. It was my favorite character in the book by far. I felt so lucky to get to play it."
The first four episodes of The Stand are now streaming on CBS All Access. New episodes arrive every Thursday.