Not many authors have consistently written best-selling books that get regularly adapted into films and series. Among those who have done it successfully, the first name that comes to mind is that of the celebrated American author Stephen King. It all started for King with the 1976 film Carrie, directed by Brian de Palma, based on King’s very first novel of the same name. Subsequently, his books have given rise to movies like The Shining (1980), The Dead Zone (1983), Stand by Me (1986), Misery (1990), Needful Things (1993), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Green Mile (1999), Secret Window (2004), The Mist (2007), The Dark Tower (2016), and Doctor Sleep (2019), among others. Series based on his books include It, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, The Outsider, and The Stand—CBS All Access’ new series that’s being made available in India by Voot Select—based on the 1978 novel of the same name. The nine-episode series follows the survivors of a pandemic caused by a weaponised strain of influenza that kills almost the entire world population.
Now, The Stand is meant to be a pure escapist adventure which contains some of the best elements associated with Stephen King’s body of work. But while living in pandemic times even escapism comes with its share of caveats. One wonders if it’s really an escapist adventure to see people getting killed by a deadly strain of influenza. So take the plunge only if you can handle it! For those of you who are still with me, let me assure you that The Stand will take you through an entire gamut of emotions. In writing the book, King sought to create an epic in the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings that was set in contemporary America. And so naturally it wasn’t an easy book to write for him. While writing The Stand, King nearly stopped because of writer’s block. But, he toiled and lucubrated to finally produce what’s widely regarded as his greatest work.
When some of the simplest of King’s books aren’t a cinch to adapt, one can very well imagine how challenging it would have been for Josh Boone and Benjamin Cavell to adapt King’s seminal dark fantasy novel. To their credit, Boone and Cavell appear to have given their level best. But, is their best good enough? Well, the answer is yes and no. Let’s try and explore this in detail.
The series hooks us up from the word go. We learn that the “Captain Trips” flu epidemic has wiped out more than 99% of the human population. The remaining few immune to the disease, including Stu Redman (a widower from Texas essayed by James Mardsen), Frannie Goldsmith (a college student from Maine essayed by Odessa Young), and Harold Lauder (a young man obsessively in love with Frannie portrayed by Owen Teague), set out in search of other survivors with the hope of saving humanity from extinction. All this while, they experience visions of the nurturing Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg), and the menacing figure of Randall Flagg aka The Dark Man (Alexander Skarsgård). Soon a few more interesting characters get added to the mix: Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo), a musician on the cusp of his big break when the flu strikes New York, Nick Andros (essayed by Henry Zaga), a young deaf man, and Nadine Cross (portrayed by Amber Heard), a beautiful woman haunted by a childhood memory.
The CBS All Access series is marked by constant tonal shifts. To begin with, it presents some great moments of disgust when you can’t help but feel repulsed or freaked out. There are also loads of steamy moments on offer. Not to mention, the unrelenting mystery and suspense driving the narrative forward. The nonlinear approach helps in keeping one interested in the characters’ backstories. Take, for example, the case of Larry Underwood. Before landing up with other survivors he ends up all alone, wandering an empty city. His luck changes when he meets an alluring new acquaintance who is also desperate to escape. The two form a strong bond before things once again change for the worse. Similarly, Harold’s obsessive love for Frannie goes back to the days when she used to babysit for him. When the flu breaks out he suddenly starts perceiving himself as her protector.
What The Stand lacks is consistency and clarity in the narrative. While some of the character arcs are done really well, others leave a lot to be desired. Frannie, for example, is supposed to be a major female character but she doesn’t take the centre stage in the series the way she takes in the novel. In comparison, some of the male characters get a lot more focus, even when it’s not warranted. But, the performances are superb. Skarsgård, Heard, Teague, and Adepo deserve a special mention. The series also features a few memorable cameos including a delectable one by none other than J. K. Simmons. The Stand is not a great adaptation of King’s seminal dark fantasy novel but it’s certainly not an unworthy one either.
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PRITHVI CHANGES HIS NAME TO HONOUR HIS LATE TAUJI
Actor Prithvi Tanwar, has changed his name to honour his late uncle. Prithvi’s first name was Mahesh. Prithvi says, “I changed my name from Mahesh to Prithvi in 2019. The reason is, I was close to my paternal uncle who carried this name. After his death, I wanted to keep his name alive. This is my small effort towards that.” He added, “Modeling brought me down to Mumbai. I joined an acting school and started appearing for auditions. The negativity of failure hit me. I decided to go back home. But after I reached home, I started getting calls for shoots. When I discussed with my father, he said if I would have stayed in Mumbai a little longer, I would have got work. He asked me to go back to Mumbai and give another try. My family has been supportive.”
BOBBY DROPS HEARTWARMING PHOTOS WITH SON ARYAMAN
NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Bobby Deol on Wednesday wished his son Aryaman Deol on his twentieth birthday by sharing adorable pictures with him on social media. The ‘Race 3’ actor took to his Instagram handle and shared rare pictures with his son. In the pictures, Aryaman can be seen hugging his father, as the two pose for the camera. In the caption, Bobby wrote, “Happy birthday my angel,” followed by a heart emoji.
In the comments section of the post, Chunky Panday wrote, “Happy Happy birthday dear Aryaman.” Darshan Kumar wrote, “Happy Birthday Aryaman Wish you the World.” Deol’s Race 3 co-star Saqib Saleem also commented with kissing face emojis. On Tuesday, Bobby had celebrated three years of his film ‘Race 3’. Sharing an old video from the sets just before his shot, he wrote, “This is where it all began again! The journey has been incredible, especially 2020! Cannot wait to show you all everything coming up next.”
FARHAN AKHTAR’S ‘TOOFAAN’ GETS NEW OTT RELEASE DATE
Mumbai: Actor Farhan Akhtar’s most anticipated film, ‘Toofaan’, is scheduled to release on July 16. The upcoming sports drama is getting a digital release on Amazon Prime Video. Announcing the same, Farhan on Wednesday took to his official Instagram account and wrote: “With humility, love and in dedication to the fighting spirit of the beautiful people of our nation, our film ‘Toofaan’ will be releasing on July 16th. #ToofaanOnPrime.”
Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has helmed ‘Toofaan’, which is set against the backdrop of boxing and revolves around the character of Farhan who plays the role of a boxer in the film. Actors Paresh Rawal and Mrunal Thakur are also a part of the movie.
While announcing the release date of ‘Toofaan’, Farhan has also unveiled a new poster of his look from the movie. In the poster, Farhan can be seen standing in a boxing ring flaunting his chiseled body. ‘Toofan’ is backed by Ritesh Sidhwani, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Farhan.
KIARA ADVANI REVEALS SHE WOULD LOVE TO DO A BIOPIC ON MADHUBALA
Kiara Advani recently completed seven years in Bollywood. The star celebrated the special day with her fans. She engaged in a virtual interaction with her fans across the nation to celebrate the glorious seven years. Her fans asked their favourite actress various questions related to films, her journey and much more. The star even took to social media platforms to talk about her acting journey so far. A fan quizzed the actress about the role that she would love to play in future. To which she replied, “I would love to do a biopic on Madhubala. That is a dream for sure.”
Speaking about the celebration, Around 40 fan pages across India came together to celebrate Kiara’s 7 glorious years in Bollywood. Her admirers from Delhi, Lucknow, Banglore, amongst other cities ranging from different age groups united to shower their love on Kiara.
The actress has carved her niche in the industry with her amazing performances in ‘Fugly’, ‘MS Dhoni’, ‘Bharat Ane Nenu’, ‘Lust Stories’, ‘Kabir Singh’, ‘Good Newwz’, ‘Guilty’ and ‘Indoo Ki Jawani ‘amongst others.
She has some stellar performances in her kitty. From ‘Shershaah’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’, ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’ and Shashank Khaitan’s next amongst Kiara is one of the busiest stars in the industry today. The biographical action drama ‘Shershaah’ revolves around the life of the Kargil hero Vikram Batra. The film is slated to release on July 2, 2021.
The star was last seen in the comedy film ‘Indoo Ki Jawaani’ where she features alongside Aditya Seal and Mallika Dua.
KAREENA SHINES BRIGHT ON A BILLBOARD AT THE TIMES SQUARE
MUMBAI: Kareena Kapoor has successfully established herself as one of the biggest female superstar in the country over the years and continues to be the reigning star claiming the throne.
Continuing to win hearts, Kareena is now shining bright at the Times Square in New York City where her commercial for a popular jewelry brand is being displayed at a massive billboard. Sharing a video of the same on her IG, the actress wrote, “Shining bright like diamonds and gold on a billboard #TimesSquareNYC”.
Receiving major love from netizens, Kareena’s post already has got viral on social media with millions of her fans from all across the globe commenting on how much they love her on the NYC Times Square billboard.
On the professional front, Kareena Kapoor Khan will be next seen in the highly anticipated Advait Chandan directorial ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ opposite Aamir Khan. She also has Karan Johar’s period drama ‘Takht’ lined up.
SUNNY, AMEESHA EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO FANS AS ‘GADAR’ CLOCKS 20 YEARS
Sunny Deol’s ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’ clocked 20 years on Tuesday and the star thanked the audience for making his film ‘an event’.
The 2001 film, that also starred Ameesha Patel in the lead, became an instant hit. The Anil Sharma directorial did not just impress viewers but also registered huge numbers at the box office. The actor-politician took to Twitter to express gratitude to all his fans who made the film a ‘historic’ affair. Sunny tweeted a video song from Gadar, ‘Musafir Jaane Wale’, featuring him and Ameesha.
Sharing the video, he thanked viewers for showering the action love story with so much love. Sunny wrote, “We made a film, you made it an event! #20yearsofGadar, I express my gratitude to everyone who made our film historic.”
Taking to Instagram, Ameesha uploaded a series of posts recalling her acting stint on the project. In one of the posts, she shared a few unseen moments from the set and captioned: “Gadar…behind the scenes of the most iconic film that Bollywood has seen till date…thank you all for the love..20 years of Gadar.”
Released on 15 June, 2001, ‘Gadar’ was a romantic drama set against the background of India’s partition. The film also featured late Amrish Puri and Lillete Dubey.
On the occasion, Lillete too took to social media to remember her work in ‘Gadar’.
“15 June 2001…. 20 years since ‘Gadar’ opened on this day. And what a storm it created.Remembering the making of the film and especially my wonderful co-star who also came from theatre — the man with the deepest baritone Amrish Puri,” she wrote.
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