In a culture where vampires are all the rage right now, especially the sexy ones that are more pet than predator, Carlton Cuse and Guillermo del Toro have decided to have nothing to do with any of that…and you’ll probably thank them for it. Their new vampire series, The Strain, premieres tonight on FX!
When asked about his reasoning behind getting involved in the project, Carlton made it clear the fact that these vampires are brutal as opposed to broody certainly played a part.
“I basically decided to get involved, for two reasons. One, because I had a lot of respect for Guillermo as a filmmaker and I thought, particularly in a monster show like this, that he’s one of the most imaginative guys out there in terms of creating creatures and worlds. And I also thought that embedded in the book was this fantastic opportunity to upend the vampire genre, as the vampire genre has sort of been overrun by romance, and that we had had our fill of vampires that we’re feeling sorry for because they had romantic problems. And it was time to go back to the conception of vampires as really scary, dangerous creatures, and in so doing that there was a way to kind of make a genre show that would be different than anything that was out there on the TV landscape. “
Carlton went further in-depth with how The Strain will differ from other shows fall under the vampire genre:
The Strain upends the current conception of the vampire genre. As I said before, I think we’ve had our fill of romantic, brooding, sparkling, depressed vampire characters, which those are really sort of like love stories sprinkled with a genre. The idea of sort of re-imagining the vampires, going back in a way that the roots of what vampires are, that they are scary, dangerous creatures, that was something that was incredibly compelling for me. That was something that really drew me to the project, and the idea that when you see these things it’s not good.
So, on one level, and I also love all the stuff that Guillermo said before about the biology and stuff, that it was also thought through, again, I think Guillermo’s just a master of creature creation, and so that the prospects of working with creatures that were unique and so complicated and so cleverly imagined was an enormous appeal, and that conception of them was really vastly different than what we see in other shows. And that completely appealed to me.
And then I would just add one other layer, which is that on a show like The Walking Dead they have zombies, and those zombies are capable of doing a few limited things. I think one of the things that’s really interesting about this story, that really inspired me as a show runner and storyteller, is the layers of mythology. And as the show goes on we not only learn about the functioning of these vampires, but we also come to understand that there’s a hierarchy of vampires, and then there’s a history to these vampires, and there’s a mythology behind the existence of these vampires. And as that unfolds and as we began to understand that these creatures are not only scary and dangerous but also sentient and smart, that adds just a whole other layer to the forces of antagonism, which just makes for great storytelling.
Guillermo added that they made it a point to “make it very clear from the first few hours of content that these creatures are not the romantic version of vampirism, or the glamorous version of how fun it could be to live forever, but a very painful, very biologically challenging species. And finally, as we go into it I think that we reveal to the audience that there’s more than just the way they look, the secret history of these creatures is revealed little by little.”
The Strain premieres tonight at 10pm on FX. Be sure to come back after the premiere and tell us what you thought!
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