Katherine McNamara stars as Julie Lawry in the CBS All Access miniseries The Stand, which will premiere Dec. 17. The miniseries, based on Stephen King’s 1978 novel, takes place in a world destroyed by plague and immersed in a battle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail and a group of survivors. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Katherine about playing Julie Lawry and being a part of the Stephen King universe.
“There’s something to be said about having a group of people that are so inspired by source material and are so passionate about source material and are able to take it and bring it to life in such a rich way,” Katherine told HollywoodLife during an episode of TVTalk on Oct. 1 while promoting the See What Happens campaign and PRECISION1® lenses. “It’s really amazing. Stephen King even wrote an alternate ending for it. There are so many elements that are new, but there are so many elements that stay true to the original, which I think is the perfect way to bring things to life and to translate from book to screen. The cast is incredible. It was such a different experience for me, especially given that I’ve been playing heroes for so long and now I’m playing someone who’s possibly the worst person you could be in the apocalypse and making character choices that make me feel like a gross human being, but that’s part of being an actor. You do things that are similar to yourself and different from yourself, and you’re a chameleon and that’s what you do. But it was so much fun and everyone involved is just so incredible. I’m just so thankful and I can’t wait for people to see it.”
Julie is unlike any character Katherine has ever played, but she was more than up for the challenge. “I love Julie for how unimaginably herself she is, and how she has no inhibitions and no problem putting herself out there and going after what she wants,” Katherine continued. “That’s probably her only admirable quality. Maybe that she can pull off pink hair along with many other colors as well, but she is definitely not an example to follow pretty much in any other aspect. Playing a villain, you have to learn to love your character, but it’s definitely an experience when you’re making character choices that make you feel like a disgusting human being and just the worst possible human that you could [be], but that being said, it all serves a purpose for telling the story and showing the good, the bad, and the ugly of what these situations can bring out in humanity.”
Adapting novels for TV or the big screen can be tricky since fans are so protective over books. The Shadowhunters alum revealed that The Stand miniseries “stays pretty true to the book.” However, she added that “with the new ending, and as they’ve sort of expanded the story, Julie’s story is a bit different than it is in the book. But I think it only serves as a statement that the creators are trying to make with this miniseries and serve this story that we need in 2020 from this sort of material.”
In a weird twist, The Stand eerily mirrors some of what the world is experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “What’s great about The Stand is, yes, it’s about all of this, but beyond that, it’s more about the people and more about what happens to who’s left behind and more about what you go through as a human being and forcing to choose kind of what you stand for and who you are as a person. It’s really ultimately the choices that you make that create your destiny, and that’s kind of the core for all of the characters. Obviously, being Stephen King, every single character is so complex and rich and has so much going on that you just put them in this sort of situation and it’s brutal, and it’s very adult, and it’s absurd, and Stephen King at its finest, and I’m so excited for people to see.”
Katherine is always involved in a new campaign with Alcon that encourages people to See What Happens when they experience lens freedom with PRECISION1® contact lenses. “Contacts have been on my to-do list forever and then during quarantine, I finally got through my to-do list,” Katherine said. “I absolutely love these contact lenses because I feel like I superhero. I actually can go about my life and have a superpower of great vision.”