In The Stand, author Stephen King tells the story of good and evil against the post-apocalyptic backdrop of a world ravaged by the terrifying excess known as Captain Trips, and when it comes to the evil side of that battle, led by the icy Randall Flagg. Nicknamed Man of Darkness, Man in Black or The Walking Dude by different characters, he tries to lure the survivors of New Vegas to his faction through dark dreams. It’s a character with seductive qualities that isn’t fundamentally evil. Flagg is played by Alexander Skarsgard in the current adaptation of the miniseries The Stand on CBS All Access, and according to his co-star Amber Heard, is the devil’s best.

Speaking to Mashable India, Hirsgaard – who plays the role of Nadine Cross in the film adaptation – explained how Skarsgard’s natural charm made it so easy for people to follow him while giving in to his own inner demon.

I am convinced that no one else could play this role, because this character must serve as a replacement for the devil within us, the one who acts on inferior impulses, the one who acts not out of pity but out of selfishness, with less empathy and more sweetness, right? And it has to be someone we can all identify with, or at least identify with on the inside, Heyerd said. The whole book is a battle between the worst and the best side of yourself. The latter wouldn’t have been able to build this role and fill this place if it wasn’t a little tempting. If he was a monster and it was obvious that he was a monster and it would end horribly if you followed him or succumbed to him, it wouldn’t be very interesting, it would be boring, nobody would look at it or care, because that’s not how life works. It can always be justified.

She goes on, and no one does it better than Alex, because he’s so incredibly charming and debonair in his charm that he doesn’t seem to be dressed right. He has a way of carrying himself, talking and interacting that makes it natural and easy, so easy that it is natural that we want to follow him and listen to him or love him. And that makes him the best of devils.

And viewers have already seen how cute the Skarsgard flag can be. Early on, Flagg recruits Lloyd Henride as his right-hand man, a character described by Nat Wolfe as a lost soul whose weakness cost Flagg his life.

I think it was the play of someone who was not only an evil henchman, but a lost soul whose weakness was gained by Randall Flagg, Wolfe said. And it reminded me of one of those people you see in a documentary about a cult leader following a cult leader, and they look like this perfectly normal person, or maybe an injured person, but not bad, and then they do these horrible things and you can’t believe it. He was my favorite character in the book. I was lucky to get to play.

The first four episodes of The Stand are now airing on CBS All Access. New episodes appear every Thursday.

amber heardstellan skarsgårdvalter skarsgårdgustaf skarsgård

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