THE STRAIN Season 2: Carlton Cuse Talks Deviating From the Book & Corey Stoll’s Wig

     May 20, 2015


The first season of the FX horror series The Strain, created by Guillermo del Toro, was a fun and action-packed take on the downfall of civilization at the hands of a virulent vampire plague. The series had knockout creature effects and put a unique spin on vampire mythology, taking a truly monstrous approach to the blood-sucking beasts. It also featured Corey Stoll in a wig. Steve recently caught up with showrunner Carlton Cuse at the junket for San Andreas and was able to speak with him briefly about the second season. While season one followed Stoll’s band of survivors as they came to terms with the reality of vampires, the second season will see them go on the offense, and from the sound of it, it may see the end of Stoll’s hair piece too.

Check out their conversation and some quotes below and be aware there major season one spoilersThe Strain also stars David Bradley, Mia MaestroKevin DurandJonathan HydeRuta Gedmintas, and Jack Kesey. It returns to FX this summer.


While speaking with Cuse, Steve asked about the progress of season two, and the showrunner filled him in on how the series will evolve with the coming season now that the characters know for sure that vampires are real and very deadly.

“We have finished shooting Season two and I’m just in the middle of editing the episodes right now. I’m very excited about it. I think that season two is a real evolution. Season one, in a lot of ways, was about people reacting to this epidemiological crisis and coming to realize that there were these vampiric creatures, that they existed, and having to accept the reality of them. Now everybody does accept the reality of them and the question is what can we do about it? Can we fight back? Do we have a chance? What kind of strategies to we employ to basically take these things out?


Image via FX

He also touched on one of the aspects I’m most excited to see in season two – the decline of civilization. As Cuse points out, The Strain has set itself apart from other popular apocalypse fiction by taking its time to depict how society falls apart. By the end of season one, the plague has swept NYC, but there’s still a huge amount of ground to explore in the coming seasons.

“The show in a lot of ways is about the slow, insidious demise of New York City as a result of this vampire apocalypse and it’s different I think in some ways than other shows in the genre. If you look at a show like The Walking Dead, they pick up after the zombies are already out there, or even World War Z, three scenes into the movie Brad Pitt is running from zombies. So I like the fact that we’re exploring the decline of civilization as part of our storytelling.”

Cuse says part of the evolution of season two is how the series diverts significantly from the books.

“There’s a lot of diversion from the books and a lot of addition to the books. We’re following the same general narrative, but I would say season two is maybe 80% invented. It has some of the same landmarks, but you can watch the show having read the books and you’ll get a totally new experience. I think right now we’re looking at the show being five seasons. The third season will sort of finish the story of the second book and then the last two season will be the third book.”


Image via FX

Of course, Steve had to ask about Corey Stoll’s now infamous wig. When the first season debuted last year, fans had a surprisingly intense reaction to the sight of Stoll in a wig, and the hair piece became an unexpected talking point for the series. So are they finally ditching the rug?

“I would say, without spoiling things, that you will probably be happy…It’s funny. There’s always those things that sort of out of proportion to everything else and the wig was one of them. It took on a life of its own, sort of unfairly. No one knew Corey Stoll when he did Midnight in Paris, nobody complained about his wig in a Woody Allen movie, but then they knew him as a guy without hair in House of Cards, so we kind of fell victim to that. But we always had an intention to move the character in a new direction and sort of changing his hair is part of that, so that will take place in season two.”

Cuse also teased some frightening new creatures that will debut in The Strain’s second season. Let me just say, I visited the set last month, I’ve seen them, and they are creepy as all hell.

“If you read the books, you’ll know, but Kelly, Corey Stoll’s wife who’s been turned into a vampire, let’s just say she has some helpers this year and they’re pretty scary.”

Check back soon for Steve’s full interview with Cuse, and click here to catch up with all our latest coverage on The Strain season 2.



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