“I got asked a lot about this ad, and they said, ‘Do you find it morally disturbing?’ And I said, ‘Look, honestly, I find every other form of advertising more morally disturbing. Beer commercials, aftershave. This is just a fucking worm in the eye!’”
FX Networks CEO John Landgraf agreed. “We had to terrify some children in order to launch this show, but I think it was worth it. Just saying,” he added. “‘The Strain’ is a modern take on the vampire myth, one in which vampires are brutal parasites aiming to take over the world. Think of them as the new one percent.”
“I’ve been obsessed with vampires since I was a child. I was very, very lonely,” del Toro joked. “These are monstrous things that want to drain you. This was all done with a very, very perverse sense of fun. What you’re about to see is me having fun.”
John Solberg, FX’s exec vice president of media relations, opened the premiere with another bold statement. “Today was possibly the greatest day in the history of this network,” he announced to an applauding crowd, referring to the net’s 45 Primetime Emmy nominations, a basic-cable record.
“It’s no surprise to anyone that this network is coming into its own in terms of critical acknowledgement,” said Sean Astin. “Because they just keep doing more and more and better and better.”
Writer Chuck Hogan, who originally penned “The Strain” book trilogy with del Toro, said the network was always open to pushing the staff to do more. “We did something crazy, and they’re like, ‘That’s crazy, but we can make it crazier.’”
Actress Natalie Brown complimented FX on taking bigger, braver risks and giving the artists full trust and support, and she weighed in on Emmy favorites. “I’m excited about ‘Louie.’ I’m a big fan of Louis C.K., so I’m very happy for his nom,” she added. The nominations were “a little bit remiss: Matthew Rhys from ‘The Americans’ didn’t get nominated. I think he’s fantastic and I love the show.”
“I saw some of my friends back at ‘House of Cards’ got some nominations. And then all the nominations for ‘The Normal Heart’ I’m proud of. Those are my homies,” said Corey Stoll.
Noah Hawley, creator of “Fargo,” came by the premiere to even the odds with del Toro, who came to his own “Fargo” premiere. He said that FX’s label and support has given him the best experience of his career. Hawley listed his favorite FX shows as ‘The Americans,” “The League,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Louie.” “And a lot of them were snubbed, I know! It’s unfortunately what happens when you have too many good shows, that everybody can’t get recognized. But I would have liked to see them get a few, certainly.”
“I was at the premiere of ‘Fargo.’ I flipped out over that show. I absolutely love it,” said Astin. “The fact, for example, that FX got behind Guillermo del Toro with a passion project of his, his vampire trilogy, it just shows you where their heart is at.”
Many of the actors suggested that working with del Toro as director was a more cinematic experience than working on television usually is.
Showrunner Carlton Cuse said that the show could not have been possible with the development window of a traditional series. “The other day, Guillermo described ‘The Strain’ as three men and a baby. And I thought that was an incredibly great handle for it.”
“The Strain” premieres at 10 p.m. Sunday on FX.
(Pictured: Corey Stoll, FX’s John Landgraf, Mia Maestro and Guillermo del Toro at “The Strain” premiere)