The "Boulder Free Zone" was originally to be filmed in Boulder, Colorado. However, soon before production was to begin, Colorado passed Amendment 2, an amendment to their state Constitution which nullified any existing laws protecting the rights of homosexuals. In protest, the production moved to Utah. (Stephen King's daughter Naomi is a lesbian.) This amendment was later overturned in the case of Romer v. Evans.
Mother Abigail's house and corn (maize) field were constructed to full scale on a sound stage. Corn stalks were flown in from Florida for the sound-stage corn field. By the time the maize got to the set in Utah, it was dead. Fake corn was constructed instead, costing nearly $80,000.
Randall Flagg says, "Pleased to meet you, Lloyd. Hope you guess my name," to which a confused and starving Lloyd responds, "Huh?" Randall Flagg responds with, "Just a little classical reference." This refers to the song "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones, and maybe the novel "The Master and Margarita" by Mikhail A. Bulgakov.
The book features many references to, and similarities with, J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings'. One less obvious reference may be the name Nick Andros. Middle-Earth features an island called Cair Andros. Stephen King said that he wanted to write an American version of 'Rings'. Other similarities include Flagg's roving eye, and the group of three ordinary people who defeat a monster. Dayna Jurgens's failed attempt to kill Flagg also parallels Eowyn's fight with the Witck-King of Angmar. Prior to this scene in the book, she sees the necklace Lloyd has, which Flagg gives to all his followers. Rather than being simply a brown stone as in the film, it is a black jewel with a red flaw in the center, resembling a great flaming eye, which actually reminds her of the Eye of Sauron.
Stephen King, an amateur musician along with friends Dave Barry and Matt Groening, included many musical references in the story. The title is based on lyrics from the Bruce Springsteen song "Jungleland". Springstein himself inspired the character Larry Underwood. "Don't Fear the Reaper," which plays over the opening credits, is also referenced at the beginning of the book. One reference in the film that does not appear in the novel is Randall Flagg's reference to "Sympathy for the Devil", one which apparently goes right over the head of Lloyd Henreid (Miguel Ferrer); ironic as Ferrer's mother was jazz singer Rosemary Clooney.
Miguel Ferrer originally wanted to play the role of Randall Flagg, but Stephen King wanted someone that the audience wasn't overly familiar with. After Ferrer heard that his friend Jamey Sheridan had been offered the part, but wasn't sure it was something he wanted to do, Ferrer convinced him to take it.
For years it was planned to make this story into a theatrical film, directed by George A. Romero. Stephen King did many drafts to make it of a suitable length for a feature film, and when he couldn't get it short enough they considered breaking it into two separate films before finally letting Rospo Pallenberg write a draft. But before they could make it, King was offered the chance to make this mini-series for television.
Some statistics: -1,141 book pages -460 script pages -6 states -100 shooting days -125+ speaking roles -95 scripted shooting locations in 19 scripted states -8 hours of screen time -Over 4 1/2 hours of music
Randall Flagg first appeared in the novel The Stand, and went on to appear in several other Stephen King books, most notably The Eyes of the Dragon and The Dark Tower. He goes by several aliases, often identified by the initials R.F.
Gary Sinise and Ray Walston previously appeared together in Of Mice and Men (1992), and their characters in each share some parallels. Stu Redman (Sinise) travels back home with the mentally retarded Tom Cullen. George Milton (Sinise again) also travels with the mentally retarded Lenny. Crooks (Walston) has a sentimental attachment to his dog, just as Glen has an attachment to the dog Kojak.
Due to the demands of filming out of sequence, and having less time to shoot than the story actually takes, it was not possible for the male actors to grow and shave off natural facial hair. In order to make their characters appear to grow beards, each of the actors grew their hair longer, and the tips were cut off and attached to their faces with static electricity so that the color would look natural.
In the movie I Am Legend (2007) and in "The Stand" a lonely survivor in a depopulated disease ravaged world set up department store mannequins to keep them company and to add people to the deserted landscape.
The radio station in Arnette mentions a song by Kathi Kamen Goldmark. The real Kathi is a literary escort and founder of the all-author rock band 'The Rock Bottom Remainders', which Stephen King is a member of. Goldmark is also the founder of 'Don't Quit Your Day Job' Records.
The poem referenced by General Stuckey that includes the lines "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" are from the poem "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In a 2004 interview, Lost (2004) co-creator Damon Lindelof said that the character of Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) was heavily inspired by the character of Larry Underwood in Stephen King's novel "The Stand". Both characters are "one hit wonder" rock stars; both are significant survivors of a catastrophic event that kills the majority of the others involved; both are drug addicts who kick their habits during the story; and finally, both die in the course of sacrificing themselves for their friends and the greater good.
For the crucifixion scene in Las Vegas production designer Nelson Coates was asked to tone down the Christian imagery by ABC (specifically, they had to "crucify" the victims on horseshoes instead of crosses, even though the word "crucifixion" itself comes from the Latin word that means "to fix to a cross.")