News on FX's plans to adapt The Strain, the vampire pandemic novel novel authored by Chuck Hogan and monster maestro Guillermo del Toro, for television has been light of late. In fact, apart from del Toro's comments from a few months back regarding his stint directing the pilot and his overall involvement with the series (and some casting updates that start with Corey Stoll and end with Richard Sammel), there's been practically no recent word at all on the show's development.
But that's changed as of today: FX has put in for a full season order on The Strain, meaning thirteen total episodes of vampire epidemic madness, and they've nailed down an expected time frame for its premiere. According to the official press release, production on the project will begin later this November in Toronto, and the program's first installment is anticipated to air sometime in July 2014. That's a pretty huge leap forward, considering that when last anybody heard, FX had only green-lit the pilot despite expressing interest in a complete series.
If Eric Schrier and Nick Grad (respectively, the Presidents of Original Programming for FX Networks and FX Productions) are to be taken at their word, though, the change in priorities could stem entirely from del Toro's efforts on said pilot. Apparently, they really liked what he had to show them - take a gander at their comments below and see for yourselves:
We could not be more excited to be moving forward with Guillermo, Carlton and Chuck on 'The Strain.' This is an epic story with stunning visuals and remarkable acting. 'The Strain' totally reimagines and reinvents the genre.
Pretty effusive stuff, though that sounds very much in line with how del Toro operates as a storyteller: powerful, evocative visuals, strong characters, and a never-ending reserve of creativity and imagination. Of course, the Pacific Rim director won't be around to wow audiences from behind the camera for the whole season; by now he's most likely readying himself to begin work on his next feature, the haunted house flick Crimson Peak. (To say nothing of his flirtations with Justice League Dark.)
But it sounds as though he's laid out a strong groundwork for showrunner Carlton Cuse and the rest of the cast - which includes, apart from Stoll and Sammel, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Natalie Brown, Jonathan Hyde, Robert Maillet, Jack Kesy, Ben Hyland, and Miguel Gomez - to build off of, which should mean that viewers will be in for a nice ride as the story progresses. For those unfamiliar, The Strain revolves around a CDC team (led by Stoll's character, Ephraim Goodweather) as they struggle to contain a virus outbreak in New York that's vampiric in origins; the narrative spans from the city streets to Spanish Harlem, and provides fertile ground for del Toro's one of a kind vision to run wild.
Fans of his work know he's got a knack for putting new twists on old archetypes - just one look at the Reapers in Blade 2 confirms that quite handily - so it'll be exciting to see how he, Hogan, and Cuse manipulate the vampire legend even further and peel away the romanticism that's so much a part of its mythos. But we're a ways away from summer of 2014 yet, so we'll just have to wait for updates from behind the scenes as production moves ahead to fritter away the time - but for now, this is a fantastic development.
The Strain will air on FX in summer 2014.