In the CBS All Access adaptation of The Stand, there are quite a few changes from the pages of the beloved Stephen King novel. In addition to shifting the setting of the story into present-day -- the book was originally set in 1980 then updated to 1985 and then again to the 1990s in subsequent printings -- and making a few edits in order to fit the story into nine episodes, some of the story's characters have gotten a bit of a tweak as well. Some male characters in the book were made female for the series -- specifically with Ralph Brentner becoming Ray Brentner (Irene Bedard) and Rat Man becoming Rat Woman (Fiona Dourif) -- while others saw their stories expanded, such as Julie Lawry (Katherine McNamara). But according to series executive producer Benjamin Cavell, there's one character that saw some major shifts simply because of the actor giving them life -- Nat Wolff's Lloyd Henreid.
Speaking with Collider, Cavell said that all of the actors involved in The Stand were committed to their roles and to "do the work" of building their characters, but Wolff's Lloyd really stood out, allowing them to create a richer arc for the character than what was in the book.
"The one I gravitate toward is Nat Wolff as Lloyd. There are all of these characters that we felt needed a big update from the book, but in terms of an actor that really brought something new and showed us something new, we were able to craft an arc for Lloyd with Nat that really doesn't exist for him in the book," Cavell explained. "When we meet Lloyd in the book, he’s pretty okay with what he's involved in. When we meet him, he's killing people he doesn't know and doesn't seem to have a real problem with it. With Nat and Nat's innate sweetness and also his instincts about what makes a character arc, it was very important to me that, if we were gonna keep the thing from the book with Lloyd having trouble and, at a certain point, killing somebody in particular even though he's being ordered to, that doesn't exactly track for us with the Lloyd we know from the book. It feels oddly out of character. So, it felt important to us to craft a version of Lloyd for this show in which that might actually feel in character, or you'd at least see his struggle about whether to do this and the effect on him when he finally does end up having to kill somebody. He wouldn't have killed anybody until it comes time for him to do that in the story that we went into it with. But the level of sweetness and the sympathy and the idea that Lloyd could be a character who we would actually root for, to have a change of heart or something and not to be taken in by the Dark Man, Nat Wolff really brought a lot of that. He’s really a revelation in the show."
Wolff himself previously told ComicBook.com that he sees Lloyd as more than just an "evil henchman" himself, likening the character to someone who gets wrapped up with a cult leader rather than being evil himself.
"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 said. "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."
Audiences got a taste of how Wolff's Lloyd might be starting to get in over his head a bit in last week's episode "Fear and Loathing in New Vegas" and from the looks of photos from this week's upcoming "The Vigil," there may be more of that to come. There are a few photos that show Lloyd looking a bit concerned or perhaps questioning of whatever it is he's witnessing.
The first five episodes of The Stand are now streaming on CBS All Access. New episodes arrive every Thursday.