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?