San Diego Comic-Con 2015
The Strain Press Room
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Attending San Diego Comic-Con isn’t for the faint of heart and neither is watching FX Networks’ drama series, The Strain. Slated for a five-season run, The Strain is based on a trilogy of graphic novels written by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro. The books are brought to extremely vivid life in the series; if you’re not careful, you may become grossed out by some of the special effects used to create the slithering worms that spread the vampiric infection. Bear in mind, while The Strain is based on the premise of the books, as well as the characters, the show itself is an entity unto its own. Being able to interview the cast was an added bonus at this year’s Comic-Con because I was able to interview several cast members I didn’t speak with at last year’s event.
During the roundtable, I spoke with (in order): Miguel Gomez, Ruta Gedmintas, Carlton Cuse, Corey Stoll, Natalie Brown, Richard Sammel, Mia Maestro, David Bradley, Chuck Hogan, Jonathan Hyde, and Kevin Durand. I won’t bore you with all the details of each conversation – you’ll see the full video for yourself – I wanted to call out a few that stood out.
- Miguel Gomez, who plays tough, street-wise Gus, was first at the round table, and I immediately jumped into not only complimenting him on his performance, but also asking about the challenges of playing this role. Gomez remarked Gus’ tough exterior is just his “battle armor.”
- I asked Richard Sammel about the obvious conflict between his character Eichorst and Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) and what we can expect to see this season. He stated there will be “an intensification and concentration of conflicts” between these two men. There is a moment during the interview in which Sammell demonstrates the reduction of humanity he instills in Eichorst by staring at me – it was a bit unnerving. I had to look away. He explained that by removing the human characteristics of nodding, blinking, and other subtle movements, it instills the sort of menacing danger that Eichorst embodies.
- Mia Maestro is another link to one of my favorite television shows, Alias. She was Nadia Santos, the half-sister of Jennifer Garner’s Sydney Bristow on the spy thriller. I met David Anders, who works on iZombie, and he, of course, was the deliciously duplicitous Julian Sark on Alias. Maestro now plays Dr. Nora Martinez on The Strain and this season, she told us her character will become a sort of surrogate mother to Eph’s son, Zack (Max Charles). She also said we will see more between her and Setrakian (David Bradley) as they have this sort of “father/daughter relationship.” And, we will see Nora be “sword and gun ready” when the time comes.
- David Bradley is quickly becoming one of my heroes. He’s 73 years young and plays Abraham Setrakian, the vampire hunter on The Strain. How awesome is that? Ok, the fangirl in me must mention Bradley is also Argus Filch from the Harry Potter films, and Walder Frey from Game of Thrones (hello, episode 309, “The Rains of Castamere” — the Red Wedding scene!). Bradley plays Setrakian with such a vivacious feistiness; it’s hard not to root for his character’s success. “Let’s hear it for the old guys!” Bradley commented about Setrakian’s search for the mysterious tome known as the Occido Lumen and the burgeoning “father/son” relationship developing between Setrakian and Vasilily Fet (Kevin Durand).
- Jonathan Hyde said playing the duplicitous Eldritch Palmer is “glorious…nothing is nicer than duplicity…” Palmer not only also has a love interest this season, but we learn some history about Palmer and Setrakian’s friendship (or as I say, “frenemy-ship”). Hyde does “hideously coy” with such grace, I could just sit there all day listening to him skirt the questions. Off camera, I was delighted to be able to meet Hyde and get a photo with him. While we chatted, I had to mention a similarity between The Mummy and The Strain – each of the characters he played in both shows are involved with some kind of mystical book. In the film The Mummy, Hyde played an Egyptologist who had knowledge about the Book of the Dead. In The Strain, his character solicits Setrakian to find the Occido Lumen. Hyde found my observation quite keen.
- Kevin Durand remarked Vasilily “has got a mentor; he’s got kind of a father figure” in Setrakian, to which I added, Setrakian “accepts” Vasiliy for who he is. I love Durand’s expansion on my comment by saying it “goes beyond acceptance” that Setrakian “celebrates…respects” He also said something that struck me – Vasiliy is a “younger version” of Setrakian in some ways. All the “nurturing” Vasiliy does in the second season is because he doesn’t want to lose Setrakian during the “vampacalypse.” The phrase of the day, “In Setrakian I trust.” My compliments may sound a bit odd, especially when I say Vasiliy is “adorable,” but in the respect that Vasiliy is trying to care for Setrakian – bringing him food, making sure he’s ok, and just looking out for the old man – it is adorable. Durand commented, “we’re all capable of everything” if we put our minds to it, adding he doesn’t want to play one or two-dimensional characters. He wants to play a “fleshed out human being.” I already loved Durand but I think I love him a little more now after this interview.
And now, for your viewing pleasure…
Tune in to The Strain, Sundays at 10PM, only on FX.
For more on the show, go to http://www.fxnetworks.com/thestrain.
Like The Strain on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheStrainFX.
Follow The Strain on Twitter – https://twitter.com/TheStrainFX.
The Strain on Google+ – https://plus.google.com/102709973293035079984/posts.
Video/Photo: ©2015 Your Entertainment Corner/Judy Manning
© 2015 – 2017, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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