The Strain

Sept. 25, 2014 | 2:21 p.m.

‘The Strain': Kevin Durand channels his inner Viking warrior for Fet

Kevin Durand stars in "The Strain." (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
There are few things that will bond a cast of actors more closely than two consecutive weeks of filming at night in close confines during a polar vortex event in Toronto, according to actor Kevin Durand, who plays the towering exterminator Vasiliy Fet in “The Strain,” FX’s hit series adapted from the novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. But the experience of shooting the eighth episode, “Creatures of the Night” — which sees the show’s ensemble of heroes fending off hordes of attacking vampires from inside a Brooklyn convenience store — didn’t just help him forge lasting connections among the actors, Durand said. It also allowed him to channel his inner action hero. “I love getting physical with characters,” Duran said in an interview earlier this year on the Toronto set of the show. “With this guy, there’s […]
Sept. 12, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.

‘The Strain': Richard Sammel relishes evil role as Thomas Eichhorst

Richard Sammel as Thomas Eichhorst in "The Strain." (Michael Gibson/FX)
It takes a certain mind-set to want to bring about the end of the world. For Richard Sammel, the German actor who plays emissary of evil Thomas Eichhorst in FX’s apocalyptic series “The Strain,” a relentlessly positive attitude and a misplaced sense of self-assurance are key. “Guillermo gave me a magic word,” Sammel said recently, referring to “Strain” co-creator Guillermo del Toro. “He said, ‘Richard, for every strong character, there is a cue word, and for Eichhorst, it’s, ‘Yes!’ I couldn’t do anything with it for quite a bit, but… at a certain point it just opened. Yes! He’s hubristic, egocentric, narcissistic. It’s the vampire version of Obama’s ‘Yes, we can!’ Yes, I can. Yes, I do the right thing.” Sammel’s wicked charisma and gleeful zeal have helped transform a character that easily could have tipped into sinister parody — […]
Aug. 19, 2014 | 12:42 p.m.

‘The Strain': Guillermo del Toro vampire series renewed for Season 2

The apocalyptic horror series “The Strain” will return for a second season, FX announced Tuesday. Based on a trilogy of novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, the show is the latest high-concept thriller to explore the end of modern civilization — here, the threat arrives on board a flight into JFK when an old-world monster steals away on the plane and infects the passengers with a virus that transforms them into blood-thirsty monsters. Corey Stoll’s CDC epidemiologist Eph Goodweather finds himself drawn into the unfolding chaos, and before long, he is forced to partner with an eccentric pawn shop owner, Abraham Setrakian (played by David Bradley), to face down the creatures. PHOTOS: Hollywood Backlot on the set of ‘The Strain’ “The thing I wanted to do in ‘The Strain,’ you can actually see this world collapse in a […]
Aug. 17, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘The Strain': Vampire hunter David Bradley revels in action hero role

English actor David Bradley in Beverly Hills.  (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
It’s in the vein of old-style vampire hunters that David Bradley operates on “The Strain,” FX’s hit series that sees the world on the precipice of apocalypse thanks to the bloodthirsty undead. But the English actor, well known to genre audiences from his work in the “Harry Potter” movie franchise and on the wildly popular “Game of Thrones,” says he doesn’t directly draw inspiration from any famous forerunners in the unusual science. “I didn’t try to look for references or comparisons with other characters, otherwise there’s always a danger of playing that rather than what Guillermo and Chuck have got written down,” Bradley said in an interview on the Toronto set of the show, when asked about any similarities between his determined Abraham Setrakian and Bram Stoker’s Abraham Van Helsing, the man who famously tracked Dracula and brought the powerful […]
July 28, 2014 | 1:35 p.m.

Comic-Con: Guillermo del Toro talks ‘Crimson Peak,’ ‘Pacific Rim 2′

If there was one creative force who appeared to be nearly omnipresent at San Diego’s Comic-Con International this year, it was Guillermo del Toro. The busy writer-director was on hand for the pop culture expo to discuss a slew of projects: his 2015 horror film, “Crimson Peak,” starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam; his FX TV series, “The Strain,” adapted from a trilogy of vampire novels he wrote with Chuck Hogan; the upcoming animated movie he’s producing, “Book of Life,” which arrives in theaters Oct. 17; and “Pacific Rim 2,” the sequel to last summer’s movie that paid glorious homage to the Japanese pop culture he adored as a child in Guadalajara. After debuting the first scenes from “Crimson Peak” at the Legendary Comic-Con panel in Hall H on Saturday, Del Toro sat down with Hero […]
July 13, 2014 | 2:07 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Guillermo del Toro, ‘Lego Batman 3,’ set for final day

Guillermo del Toro, a preview of “Lego Batman 3,” and Kevin Bacon and costars from “The Following” are highlights from the schedule for Comic-Con’s closing day, Sunday, July 27. Starting at the not-unreasonable time of 11:15 a.m. in Hall H, Bacon is to make his return to the San Diego pop-culture exposition to tout the third season of Fox’s “The Following,” which is scheduled to air in early 2015. He’ll be joined by cast mates Shawn Ashmore (“X-Men: The Last Stand”), Sam Underwood (“Dexter”), and Jessica Stroup (“90210″), with creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (“Scream”) and executive producer Marcos Siega (“The Vampire Diaries”), for an on-stage Q&A and video presentation. In anticipation of the fall release of  the latest in the massively popular “Lego Batman” video game series, the “Lego Batman 3″ panel will feature an exclusive game-play demonstration and boasts […]
July 11, 2014 | 12:14 p.m.

‘The Strain': Guillermo del Toro addresses billboard controversy at premiere

"Pacific Rim" director Guillermo del Toro is photographed at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif., on June 17, 2103. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Several drivers and pedestrians have complained for weeks about billboards around Los Angeles promoting FX’s new horror drama “The Strain,” which feature a nasty-looking worm crawling out of an eyeball. Guillermo del Toro, the key creative force behind the series,  wants to know what the big deal is. “It’s just a … worm coming out of an eyeball,”  he said with mischievous glee as he hosted the premiere of “The Strain” Thursday at the Directors Guild of America. The Oscar-nominated director (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), who directed the pilot,  was obviously in an upbeat mood as he introduced the episode, which he hoped would terrify viewers. The billboards certainly have unnerved many who have passed by, prompting FX to remove some of them. At the premiere, John Landgraf, head of FX Networks, pointed to the image on the screen during his opening […]
May 23, 2014 | 11:00 a.m.

‘The Strain': Del Toro and the new face of the apocalypse

On the set of the latest -- vampiriic -- drama of the apocalypse, "The Strain."
TORONTO — The forecast insisted that the latest in a series of punishing winter storms was due to descend on Toronto in a matter of hours, but the sky hovering over the cast and crew of FX’s new vampire series, “The Strain,” was nothing but a blanket of pristine blue. The sunlight might have cheered the locals who had endured more than one Polar Vortex event — yet it was dampening the spirits of the behind-the-scenes team attempting to film a vampire attack that was supposed to be taking place during an eclipse. On a clear and cold Friday, technicians attempted to create enough shade for the sequence by maneuvering a giant black tarpaulin at the entrance to a narrow alleyway, with mixed results. Miguel Gomez, the actor who plays the show’s streetwise Gus Elizalde, was gamely wrestling with an […]
March 25, 2014 | 11:53 a.m.

‘Ant-Man': Corey Stoll looks likely in cast, production begins in June

Corey Stoll photographed at the Los Angeles Times studio on June 12, 2013. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
It looks as if Corey Stoll could be the latest actor to join the cast of Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” The “House of Cards” actor is in negotiations to take on an unspecified role in the production, which will be helmed by Edgar Wright and is set to begin filming in June. The planned 2015 release will see Michael Douglas play the original Avengers member Hank Pym, a scientist who, in the comics, invents a shrinking serum that allows him to sneak around in miniature form and surprise foes. The film also will star Paul Rudd as reformed thief Scott Lang, the second superhero to take the name Ant-Man. Additionally, Patrick Wilson, who famously played Nite Owl in Zack Snyder’s 2009 adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ legendary graphic novel “Watchmen,” will have a featured role in the movie. It’s unclear […]
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