FX Orders TV Series Adapting Guillermo del Torro And Chuck Hogan’s ‘The Strain’ Novels And Comics
If you've been following Guillermo del Torro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain series in novel form or its comic book adaptation from Dark Horse Comics by David Lapham, Mike Huddleston and Dan Jackson, the moment you've been waiting for has come: FX has officially ordered 13 episodes of a The Strain TV series in July of 2014. We say "waiting for" because fans are almost certainly excited, but also full of a degree of dread. After all, The Strain's vampires are among the most vile versions of the monsters ever imagined. Is cable sufficiently ready to watch monsters made sexy by Twilight, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood -- what's the word veterinarians use? -- violently eliminate an ammonia-scented spray while scarfing down humans?
The answer is yes, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which names Carlton Cuse (Lost) as showrunner. The Strain has had a writing staff and multiple scripts since work started on the pilot earlier this year, signaling that FX was serious about bringing the drama, which will presumably follow the relatively straightforward plot of the novels and comics, to TV.
Unlike traditional vampire lore where vampires are principally supernatural creatures, The Strain's version are parasites that infect humans via worms that mutate their hosts into monsters via a DNA-destroying virus. They're disgusting, consume blood by digging into humans with six-foot-long tongues, and can only be killed by the virus-counteracting effects of sunlight/ultraviolet light, decapitation and horrible wounds from silver weapons. There's no Van Helsing to be found either, so when these monsters flood into New York City, it's up to a doctor from the CDC, a pawnshop owner and some NYC firefighters to save mankind from becoming food.
So far the cast includes stars Corey Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather, Sean Astin as Jim Kent, and Mia Maestro as Nora Martinez. Actors John Hurt, Lauren Lee Smith, Miguel Gomez, Kevin Durand, Jonathan Hyde and Richard Sammel have also been cast for the show.
The Strain can currently be read in comic form digitally via Dark Horse Digital, and in a number of print collections. Dark Horse Comics Associate Editor Jim Gibbons breaks down the comic's past, present and potential future thusly, "Dark Horse is extremely committed to the The Strain series. Volumes 1 and 2, out now, collect the 11-issue first series. The second series, which covers the material of the second novel, wraps with an extra-long 32-page finale in issue #9 — two volumes to collect all that, plus the DHP story I mentioned before. And, after that, well... there's one more novel of material, so..."
CA also picked Gibbons' brain about how important the comics were to the overall series, including the novels. As the projects were developed somewhat concurrently, it turns out there was symbiosis.
"Back before The Strain #1 came out, Mike Huddleston was doing character sketches trying to sort out the anatomy of the vampires based on descriptions from the novels—only the first two, as the third, The Night Eternal, was still being written," Gibbons wrote to ComicsAlliance. "He had this idea that, due to the massive tongue-like stingers the vampires hold in their throats, their gullets might have gross amounts of excess skin like a turkey neck. Guillermo liked the idea so much that he and Chuck Hogan wrote it into the third novel [The Night Eternal]. So, while the novels were the impetus of the comics, the comic has influenced the book series in ways, and there are aspects of the comic that are— Guillermo-approved and/or suggested — deviations from the novel. It's all one big story that each medium has influenced and added to and I think the TV show is going to be this amazing culmination of a ton of talented people pouring a lot of thought and energy into this franchise. So, yeah, in short, I am pretty excited to see The Strain on the small screen. I'm really hoping that the Silver Angel tale that David Lapham and Guillermo came up with together for Dark Horse Presents ends up in the show in some capacity!"
For those curious as to how invested in the story its co-creators have been in multimedia so far, Gibbons related positive experiences with Del Torro and Hogan.
"Guillermo hand-picked David Lapham to write (as he loves Stray Bullets) and Mike Huddleston to draw the comic, and his involvement in the series hasn't wavered — which is kind of crazy considering how busy that dude is. Sometimes we (head Strain editor Sierra Hahn and I) send Guillermo a script or some inked pages and we have a response within a couple of minutes. Guillermo sends some very specific notes from time to time, but most of the time just raves about the scripts and pages. He assembled a personal dream team for the book, so I think, in ways, he's also its biggest fan."
As much as the comics have fed into the overall lore, however, those working on the TV series will have to make new decisions translating the tale to yet another medium. For his part, however, Gibbons is excited to see where FX takes The Strain.
"As I mentioned before, the comics do deviate from the novels, and this has usually been due to fun new ideas coming up as Lapham has to condense all the material of the novels into the comics. Space limitations have led to some really creative storytelling and I imagine, though this is wholly speculation, similar things will happen as they write the show and we'll see some amazing scenes from the novels and comics alongside tons of new, gruesome, and amazing parts!"