While Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse‘s drama The Strain, based on del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire novel trilogy, formally had a pilot order at FX, its series pickup was considered a pure formality. It just came in today. From the onset, when FX landed the project in a bidding war, it hired a full writing staff, with the network committing some $500,000 to creature creation. The Strain now is heading into production on its first season, with the bulk of the scripts already completed and one major casting change. The role of Professor Abraham Setrakian, played in the pilot by John Hurt, is being recast. Filming is slated to begin this month in Toronto for a July premiere. As FX CEO John Landgraf indicated in August, the plan for the series is to run for 39-65 episodes.
The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called on to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers wage war for the fate of humanity. Co-starring on the series are Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Natalie Brown, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Robert Maillet, Jack Kesy, Ben Hyland, and Miguel Gomez. “This is an epic story with stunning visuals and remarkable acting,” FX’s Eric Schrier and Nick Grad said. “The Strain totally re-imagines and re-invents the genre.” Exec producers del Toro and Hogan co-wrote the pilot script for The Strain, which was directed by del Toro. Cuse will serve as executive producer/showrunner and writer. Gary Ungar will also serve as exec producer for FX Prods. “The Strain books are near and dear to my heart and now, Chuck and I have the blessing of a partnership with Carlton and FX that holds great promise,” said del Toro. Another FX pilot in a similar position is Tyrant, which also is eying a 13-episode order.