Every time I hear that Guillermo del Toro is working on a new film or TV show I’ve trained myself to think it’s not actually going to happen. It’s a preservation technique. He has so many awesome-sounding things on his to-do list that if I pin my hopes on any individual project I’ll probably end up disappointed when it never makes it past the planning stages.
But here’s one that actually has: FX has given vampire series The Strain a 13-episode order.
is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called on to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers wage war for the fate of humanity.
Among the co-stars are Mía Maestro, Sean Astin (both playing members of Canary Team with Goodweather), Lost‘s Kevin Durand, the US Being Human‘s Natalie Brown, Robert Maillet (playing a character named “The Master,” whom I’m going to go ahead and guess is a vampire), and Jonathan Hyde, who has a long and distinguished acting career but will always be the father/hunter from Jumanji to me. IMDB also lists Doug Jones (of course he’s going to be in a del Toro TV show), Francis Capra (Weevil from Veronica Mars) and Roger R. Cross (Arrow‘s Detective Hilton).
A bit of sad news is that John Hurt, who was set to play Professor Abraham Setrakian in the pilot, has been recast. As the “eccentric old man who knows something about the vampire epidemic, if only someone will listen to him!” Professor Setrakian sounds like a pretty major role, so maybe it was just a scheduling issue that’s making them go with someone else.
It looks like del Toro won’t be involved in the show on a week-to-week basis—he does have approximately 12 gazillion other projects that need his attention, after all. But he’s directing the pilot, which he and Hogan co-wrote. And del Toro developed the show with Lost and Bates Motel producer Carlton Cuse, who’s now taking over as showrunner. And, of course, The Strain will be based on a story that del Toro co-wrote. Mmmmm. All that del Toro-y goodness.
This sounds so good. And FX ain’t basic cable—they do shows like American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy, and Justified, which indicates that they’ll be willing to confront what I hope is some dark, scarylicious source material head-on. The Strain is set to start filming this month for a premiere in July. Just eight months to go until the del Toro vampires arrive. We can make it.
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