The Stand: Katherine McNamara Sees Her Julie Lawry Role as An Opportunity for Good

While viewers of CBS All Access' The Stand got a taste of how distasteful wild child Julie Lawry could be when the character debuted in the series' fourth episode, "The House of the Dead", it was this week's "Fear and Loathing in New Vegas" that really drove home how disturbing and awful the young woman is. Played by Arrow star Katherine McNamara, Julie is manipulative, crass, and even cruel, mocking those who are different or less fortunate than she is while also turning a blind eye to suffering. She's exactly the sort of person you'd expect to heed the call of the devilish Randall Flagg. But for McNamara, while Julie is a terrible example of humanity, she sees the good in playing her, hoping to use the opportunity to guide people to simply be better.

Speaking with Elle, McNamara explained that while playing a character so different from herself was fun, she also found trying to do something good with it part of the process.

"It was an exciting prospect because I get to be a chameleon and transform," McNamara said. "But the ways in which Julie is different to me make me uncomfortable—the language she uses, the stigmas she holds, are just not okay. But because it’s Stephen King there’s not much you can really change about it, so it was a process of turning it into something good."

She added, "This past year we've had the time to look back at society and the stigmas and habits we've fallen into and confront [them] and hold ourselves and others accountable for the ways we treat other people."

She further explained that she sees The Stand as "an opportunity to guide people towards the right resources" as the series continues.

Even with how uncomfortable the difference between herself and Julie made McNamara, she did enjoy her experience, especially as she was surrounded by other actors who themselves were fully committed to the world King's story built.

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"As an actor, it was creative soul food," McNamara previously told ComicBook.com "I mean, I've loved playing Clary, loved playing Mia, but as an actor, we crave this diversity, you know, and I've been dying to play with a different set of brushes and that's what I got to do on this. And especially, it was oddly unsettling being on set and having been making a heroic choice for so many years now going 'what character choice makes me feel like the grossest, worst possible human being' and have that be right for Julie. But it's, you know, especially when I'm surrounded by so many other brilliant actors who are just fully committing to this absurd world of Stephen King, it was an absolute ball. I mean I had just the best time."

The first five episodes of The Stand are now streaming on CBS All Access. New episodes arrive every Thursday.