The Stand VFX Supervisor Breaks Down Creating the Series' Empty, Post-Apocalyptic World

Stephen King's The Stand may be set in a world that has seen most of its human population wiped out due to the terrifying Captain Trips flu pandemic, but the new CBS All Access limited series adaptation was very much filmed in well-populated and bustling world. For VFX supervisor Jake Braver, taking the thriving real world and turning it into an empty apocalyptic wasteland presented a unique set of challenges, especially when it came to the transformation of New York City for Larry Underwood's (Jovan Adepo) story, but they ultimately set up the larger human scale of the story.

"It's really hard in the modern day to create a world that feels empty," Braver told Forbes. "In visual effects, that means removing cars, removing people on the streets, removing planes in the sky, removing contrails from planes. You're seeing exactly what the effects of the plague are on New Yorkers and the city and people. It takes this very human scale story that Josh [Boone] told in the first episode and makes it this massive story in the second episode."

Braver, who is a fan of King's book to begin with, also said that he kept a first edition of the novel on his desk and would frequently refer to it in order to flesh out small details.

"[It was] on my desk every single day; [it was] in my backpack on set every single day. We were so aware that we were taking this beloved book and adapting it. So much of that material is in the scripts, but there were always little details," he said. "I always went back and if I was unsure about something, the book's the place to go."

The Stand stars Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail and Alexander Skarsgard as Randall Flag, aka the Dark Man. The series also stars James Marsden as Stu Redman, Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith, Jovan Adepo as Larry Underwood, Amber Heard as Nadine Cross, Owen Teague as Harold Lauder, Henry Zaga as Nick Andros, Brad William Henke as Tom Cullen, Irene Bedard as Ray Brentner, Nat Wolff as Lloyd Henreid, Eion Bailey as Weizak, Heather Graham as Rita Blakemoor, Katherine McNamara as Julie Lawry, Fiona Dourif as Ratwoman, Natalie Martinez as Dayna Jurgens, Hamish Linklater as Dr. Jim Ellis, Daniel Sunjata as Cobb, and Greg Kinnear as Glen Bateman.


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