For the first time in 20 years, Guillermo del Toro is returning to the small screen to shoot the pilot for The Strain, based on the novel by Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Leading the cast of this tale concerning a viral outbreak of vampirism is Corey Stoll, Kevin Durand, Mia Maestro, Richard Sammel, John Hurt, Lauren Lee Smith, Jonathan Hyde and Miguel Gomez.
According to Del Toro, who spoke to Shock in a one-on-one interview at the Pacific Rim press day, The Strain is “a very expensive pilot and proposal.”
“I haven’t done TV in 20 years. I started on TV with Alfonso (Cuaron) – we used to do half hour in two days with one camera. The schedule for [Strain] is the 20th of what I’m used to, so for a 48 year old running [laughs] that’s the only part I find daunting,” he said.
Del Toro said his experience with showrunner Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel) has been “great” and, even though FX has not announced that it is taking The Strain to series, “they gave us the go ahead to write all of the scripts, which is uncanny. Normally, with a TV series, you’re catching up with the screenplays and what we asked is, can we write the whole season? That way, we can plan it because there are expenses in the pilot that you’re going to need during the season. They’re really going all out with this.”
“I always write, you know this,” he added. “I write one project in the morning and one at night. Right now, in the mornings – Chuck and I wrote the pilot – but right now I’m re-writing the script for each episode in the morning and I’m caught up to episode 5 out of 11.”
With shows like Hannibal and The Walking Dead pushing the limits of gore on television, Del Toro says The Straing will bring some fun to the party but maintains it will introduce a deeper level of fear. “The horror of The Strain is the destruction of the families and the destruction of the characters, which is from inside. It’s character-driven and we’re writing for one of our best young actors, Corey, playing to his strengths. I’m having fun.”
The Strain tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. When Eph realizes that this isn’t some new bioterror weapon, but something much older, something outside the reach of science, he teams with Abraham to fight back. As a plague of hungry and intelligent predators overwhelms New York, Eph, Abraham and a motley crew of everyday New Yorkers form a ragtag resistance – fighting monsters in the streets and in their homes, waging a war for the fate of humanity itself.