Carlton Cuse: FX's The Strain Retains the Novels' Biologically 'Compelling,' Non-Sparkly Vampires

The Strain on FXConsider yourself forewarned: FX’s upcoming adaptation of the The Strain will hew very closely to the biologically specific vampires dreamed up by trilogy authors Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

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Appearing at the Television Critics Association winter press tour to share a short sizzle reel (not yet available for dissemination) and preview the series (premiering in July), showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost) noted that for del Toro and Hogan, in writing the trilogy, “It wasn’t just, ‘Let’s invent our version of vampires.'”

Instead, the duo developed a very precise creature, right down to its fang-free way of “turning” others, the physical transformation a human goes through once infected and, yes, their entire digestive process.

“There have been some modifications” to the creatures, Cuse allowed. “but I’m really pleased with how they’ve come out.”

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Cuse said he champed at the bit to collaborate with del Toro, a producer on the series, because “he is a real visionary when it comes to creating monsters and fantasy worlds. These creatures [in The Strain] are compelling and different from what you’ve seen before. Not unlike [del Toro’s 2006 horror/fantasy film] Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo has brought real vision to the way these creatures were realized.”

In other words: brooding, model-handsome Edward Cullen types needn’t apply. Nor should one expect The Strain‘s vamps to be any kind of sexy. “There is sex in the show but the vampires themselves are not having sex,” Cuse made clear. “They are not romantic creatures — believe me.”

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The Strain‘s saga — which Cuse expects to cover in three to five seasons, in success —  starts with the arrival of an airplane at JFK airport, and everyone on board appears to be dead (thanks to a bit of mysterious cargo). Corey Stoll (House of Cards) plays Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the leader of a team from the CDC trying to stop this disease, and he picks up other colorful characters along the way, including professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian (Harry Potter‘s David Bradley). The cast also includes Southland‘s Regina King, Alias‘ Mia Maestro, 24‘s Leslie Hope and Lord of the Rings‘ Sean Astin.

Eph’s odyssey feeds into a “wonderfully complicated mosaic of life in New York, upended by this virulent disease,” Cuse said.

In adapting but three books into several 13-hour seasons of TV, Cuse said, “We’ve gotten deeper into our characters and we’ve invented new situations.” So for readers familiar with the source material, “The books are well represented, but the series is a deeper and richer experience.”

Are you looking forward to FX’s The Strain and all that it entrails?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Caitlin says:


  2. Jasie says:

    This is going to be fantastic. I can’t wait.

  3. Teag says:

    Glad the vampires aren’t sexy in any way.

  4. Maxime Archambault-Chapleau says:

    absolutely hated the book. Didn’t even know there were 3 !!

  5. James says:

    This is what you do when your show is based on a book… You expand the original material, not try to do different stories with the same characters (True Blood should’ve learnt that.

    • R.O.B. says:

      I would tend to agree, but in this case, they are working with a poorly written and executed book series. I hate to say that, but it was. If you read it, you will care not a bit for any of the characters. I think Cuse will fix that problem. And that’s just the characters. No spoilers, but there is such a high suspension of disbelief with the novels I also hope the series spins the mythology and plot a little more believably. The setup was thrilling, but the rest was a let down.

      • James says:

        I read the series and I agree the 2nd and 3rd one were pretty boring. But the first one is a good book and the mythology is not so bad either.

  6. Avinash says:

    Does anyone know if this is going to be animated or live action?

  7. HEllPASO says:

    Live action.

  8. shump says:

    kind of mad that they played a trailer at TCA but haven’t shared with the public.

  9. R.O.B. says:

    Glad he is going deeper into the characters because The Strain series was terrible. I read it because I like Guillermo Del Toro but I also like reading, and the characters in these novels were undeveloped and wooden, to put it mildly. If anyone can make us care about a character, it is a LOST showrunner. I will watch despite my disappointment with the books and see what kind of magic Cuse can make with this story. My only gripe now is the weird decision to give Corey Stoll a toupee. WTH?

  10. Maryann says:

    No.Just no.