Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Guillermo del Toro and Natalie Brown Talk FX Vampire Series 'The Strain'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Guillermo del Toro and Natalie Brown Talk FX Vampire Series 'The Strain'

Article excerpt

Guillermo del Toro talks 'The Strain'


TORONTO - Guillermo del Toro's vampires are not gothic, romantic creatures; they don't brood, sparkle or swoon.

His vampires are parasitic monsters that infect their prey like a virus. And in "The Strain," premiering Sunday on FX Canada, they descend upon New York like a plague.

"It comes from the conviction and the horror of knowing that for a body to work, you have parasites," del Toro said in a recent interview. "You have bacteria in your stomach. If you're unlucky, you have bigger parasites -- and yet you live.

"So the series sort of tells the tale of one rogue vampire that is the master, that tries to upset the balance and disturb and destroy the quiet symbiosis between vampires and humans. They are revealed to be these savage, almost leech-like entities that feed on the blood and the soul of people."

The director of the Academy Award-winning "Pan's Labyrinth" and genre-bending "Blade II" said he originally conceived of "The Strain" as a television series about five years ago. But when networks rejected his pitches, he collaborated with author Chuck Hogan to create a book trilogy instead.

Readers were apparently hungry for a bold new take on the genre, with the first novel -- also called "The Strain" -- quickly climbing the New York Times' bestseller list in 2009. Once the trilogy was complete, del Toro partnered with FX and "Lost" showrunner Carlton Cuse to bring the tale to the small screen.

"It was a great long road," said del Toro. "I think that every step of the way helped. We were able to put the books out. We were able to put the comic books out. We interacted with an audience, or a readership and informed things that worked and didn't work."

The show stars Corey Stoll (Peter Russo in "House of Cards") as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, an epidemiologist who is called in to investigate when a plane lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport with its lights off and doors sealed. He discovers four survivors and 200 corpses -- that is, until bodies begin disappearing from the morgue.

Toronto doubles for New York in "The Strain. …

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