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'The Strain' Heads To FX, Guillermo Del Toro To Direct Pilot, Will Run 3 To 5 Seasons At Most

by Kevin Jagernauth
September 20, 2012 5:44 PM
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...becuase he doesn't already have five thousand other things to do, Guillermo Del Toro is headed to the small screen, with a project that is very close to his heart, and one that will bring his specific brand of terror to living rooms across America.

FX has picked up an adaptation of Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's ("The Town") novel trilogy "The Strain," with a pilot order already on the table and Del Toro set to direct. Ironically, the story was orginally conceived for TV, but when Del Toro couldn't get a bite on his vampire idea, he teamed with Hogan and turned it into a book series. Of course, once it was on shelves, networks started to be interested, but the story goes that Del Toro held them off so he could finish what he started with Hogan and not be influenced by any TV plans. A unique take on the genre that some are already calling tired, the concept and approach could still potentially be a winner. Here's Deadline's breakdown of what it's all about:

In the opening book of the series, a Boeing 777 lands at JFK, with no communication or signs of life. Eph Goodweather, who investigates biological threats to the CDC, is called in and discovers all the passengers dead, and signs that a strange being had been aboard the vessel. Soon, he teams with ex-professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian, who assemble a ragtag group that represents mankind’s only hope when a swarm of vampires quickly turn civilization into their buffet. Fittingly for FX’s male focus, unlike the traditional, romanticized portrayals of vampires as tuxedo-clad studs, The Strain is vary male-oriented with bloodsuckers who have no seductive powers — they are parasites, husks of their former human form with stingers that drain blood for nourishment, while spreading capillary worms that convert victims into more vampires under the control of The Master.

So, with the show starting out on a plane, who better than "Lost" producer/writer Carlton Cuse to be showrunner? Yep, that's the plan, but lest you think he will once again take a fascinating idea, then milk it dry for frustrating season after frustrating season before capping it off with a limp-dicked series finale, you'd be wrong. Del Toro and FX are both on board with the idea that "The Strain" will have a limited lifespan. “Once the third book was published, we went back to every cable network that expressed interest, and we pitched the series,” del Toro explained. “FX made the most sense, based on the level of commitment, passion and understanding of the concept of the book. They got behind the idea of making this a close-ended series; we wanted to follow the books closely and so it couldn’t be open-ended, but rather three to five seasons max.” Right now, the plan is for the first two books to cover seasons one and two, with "The Night Eternal" set to split over two more. Though of course, space is being left for "plotlines that didn't make the book." 

But the question is, just when is Del Toro going to have time for any of this? He plans to team with Hogan at the end of the year to write a script, with the pilot set to shoot next September once "Pacific Rim" has finished stomping into theaters. So just throw this onto the Del Toro pile, but of all the stuff he has developing at the moment, this at least seems to have some strong legs carrying it already. 

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  • berk | September 20, 2012 9:52 PMReply

    "a Boeing 777 lands at JFK, with no communication or signs of life. Eph Goodweather, who investigates biological threats to the CDC, is called in and discovers all the passengers dead, and signs that a strange being had been aboard the vessel."

    That is the first episode of Fringe.

  • carl | September 20, 2012 6:39 PMReply

    I wonder if there is any kind of "development saturation point" where Del Toro has effectively diluted himself to the point where people won't want to make deals with him, simply because he has so many deals that fall apart or go nowhere.

  • Archer Slyce | September 21, 2012 3:21 AM

    Oh and wasn't Del Toro supposed to work on something called "Nutshell" for HBO by the way ?

  • TheMaster | September 20, 2012 6:16 PMReply

    I've read this whole series and while the first two are fun pulpy awesomeness, ultimately Del Toro & Hogan don't deliver and the finale ultimately comes down to a pretty lame battle instead of you know a EPICCC battle. That being said the first two books are the stuff that Walking Dead fans worship (vampires, plagues, gore, all that shit)

  • Archer Slyce | September 20, 2012 5:59 PMReply

    I guess Emma Watson was right to be worried about Beauty and the beast... Anyway, the review of the books were really not that great AFAIK. Ironically wikipedia tells me that The Strain was considered a bad book by some and that it was too obviously a TV and/or film project ... still, there's that Jean Rollin quote ...

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