Guillermo del Toro is the executive producer, director, writer, comic book creator and everything else on FX’s new horror series The Strain. Is there anything he doesn’t do, he was asked Tuesday at Rogers’ press preview in Toronto.
“Exercise,” was del Toro’s quick reply. for a horror maven, he’s one funny fellow.
Del Toro was part of an FX Canada panel Tuesday at the Rogers Centre. Sitting next to him was Eric Schrier, president of original programming at FX networks and FX productions. With del Toro’s help on shot-in-Toronto The Strain, Schrier has spent $100M in Canada in the past 12 months producing Fargo (Calgary), Wayward Pines (Vancouver) and other fare.
They also shot a pilot in Toronto starring Jay Baruschel called “Man Seeking Woman.” The comedy, with SNL’s Simon Rich as show runner, has not been picked up yet.
The Strain premieres July 13. It’s about creepy, parasitical vampires. Critics who screened the pilot in advance were still a scared.
Del Toro jokingly described it as “beautiful and horrible at the same time–just like my life.” The director of such theatrical hits as “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” says The Strain is his 5th production in Toronto and he basically wants to move here on a permanent basis. He has great respect for Toronto crews, saying they are “unrivalled with the rest of the world.”
The series is shot in Toronto but set in New York. Del Toro thinks Toronto is “as vampirable as anything,” but had New York in mind when he conceived the series. He laughed off my suggestion that he write a screenplay where Toronto mayor Rob Ford was attacked by vampires, saying it seemed as if they’d already gotten to him.
Del Toro also had praise for FX president John Landgraf, saying the executive urged him to be as “sick and disturbing” as possible. The Strain was a project coveted at several networks, he said, but FX won the pitch because Landgraf demonstrated “full knowledge of the books” del Toro wrote before the series.
Asked if audience might be tired of all the vampires already on TV, del Toro said audiences have not seen anything like his blood suckers. Vampires, he suggests, have been romanticized, turned cuddly and portable. His vampires are true parasites. Then he looked around and said, “everybody in this room has parasites.”
And with that it was off to lunch.