Guillermo del Toro’s vampire drama The Strain boasted big ratings numbers during it first season on FX, offering a unique spin on the vampire mythos backed by a stellar cast of interesting characters, not to mention del Toro’s own signature brand of horror.
The cast of The Strain returned to Comic-Con just in time for the Season 2 premiere, and we got to spend a little time with chatting with everyone about what to expect from the new season, and how the show will continue to elevate the stakes as we move forward. Check out the video above to get the scoop directly from the source, or keep reading for a few of the highlights.
Corey Stoll as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather
On channeling Eph’s dark side:
Well, it’s funny when you say “dark side.” I think one thing [showrunner] Carlton [Cuse] and I talked about right in the beginning of the season was trying to not be moralistic about [Eph’s] alcohol abuse, within the context of the world ending. This sort of self-medication that he’s doing with the alcohol, it’s clearly not the best thing for him to be doing – but he’s not Peter Russo from House of Cards, and we were very deliberate to make his reasons for using alcohol, and what alcohol does to him, different.
And one thing that’s great about it is that it gives Eph a license to sort of have a “fuck it” attitude about what’s happening, and not be quite so in control all the time.
Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer
On where Palmer finds himself in the new season:
The agenda is absolutely on [the same] track, and nothing is really disturbing the progress of the agenda. But there is a monumental act of hypocrisy that’s going to surface, where what looks like somebody lending a big helping hand is quite the opposite. Is that cautious enough? Is that vague enough?
Natalie Brown as Kelly Goodweather
On dealing with the violence and gore on the show:
I’m always a bit shocked, until you desensitize a little bit. Carlton first told me what was going to be happening in the second episode, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around how I could live with myself, doing this deed to these poor little children. And then the day came and they were so game, and it was all make believe and fun for them, and we had so much fun we didn’t want it to end – we actually wanted to do more. And when I saw one of the final cuts, some of [the violence] was actually edited out, and I found myself missing it.
So yeah, quickly desensitized – and also the fact that, for me, I’ve been assured by Guillermo that vampires don’t exist, so it’s purely entertaining fantasy for me. I’m much more terrified of real people doing bad things than I am by vampires.
On bringing one of Guillermo del Toro’s creations to life:
I feel very blessed to have that entrusted upon me. I thought, “how do you know if I can do this weird twitchy thing? That’s a big responsibility, it’s a lot to carry, I hope I can pull it off.” But I think audiences responded really well, and one of my goals was to try to keep this monster relateable. You still want to be able to sympathize with Kelly, and I think her storyline is tragic. To have her loved one ripped away from her and not be able to connect with the dearest person in her life in the only way she knows how is torturous. I really feel for Kelly. She’s not just some monster out there to hurt people – she’s hungry at times, yes – but she ultimately just wants to connect.
David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian
On Setrakian’s mindset in Season 2:
At the end of the first season, as we know, he fails to get rid of the Master – he gets it spectacularly wrong. He’s aware of that, and he’s aware that his credibility has taken a bit of a dive within the group. I won’t say they lose respect for him, but they start to question some of his methods… so he has a lot of credibility to claw back within that group.
But he picks himself up, and he’s riddled with self-doubt – which is very human. I love it when writing reveals another side to a character, and shows them to have weaknesses and self doubts, rather than knowing exactly what to do… And I think his relationship with Vasily Fet, which becomes a kind of grumpy sort of friendship – he never calls him by his first name, and Vasiliy never calls him Abraham – it’s like there’s a kind of distance between them, but at the same time there’s a father/son thing developing in Season 2.
Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet
On Vasiliy’s challenges in Season 2:
The challenge is, “how do I get my city back?” He really believes it’s his city, you know? He just uses his pragmatic way of thinking and devises a plan, and it’s challenging the whole way. And he’s still madly in love with his rebar – he has automatic weapons at his disposal and grenades and all this stuff, and he still likes to bash the bejesus out of them.
The Strain airs Sundays at 10pm, exclusively on FX.