While most associate Guillermo del Toro’s name with feature films, he’s also dabbled in the small screen media in the past. Currently he’s got a deal with ABC to bring ‘The Hulk’ back to TV (although with Joss Whedon now working on ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ the network may make fans wait a little while longer to see the green gamma giant). Now it’s being reported that he has received a pilot order from the FX network to bring his trilogy book series, ‘The Strain,’ to life.
‘The Strain’ was originally a TV series pitch that del Toro tried to sell but without success. He was then convinced to turn the idea into a book and was introduced to writer Chuck Hogan (who authored the novel ‘Prince of Thieves’).Together they co-authored ‘The Strain.’ Once the book had been published in 2009, networks began showing interest.
“We started receiving offers for movies and TV rights after the publication of the first book,” del Toro told Deadline, “but we didn’t want do anything because we didn’t want that train of thought to influence the way we were writing the books.”
Hogan and del Toro continued to write together and published 2 more sequels to their first novel: ‘The Fall’ published in 2010 and ‘The Night Eternal’ in 2011.
Del Toro explained:
“Once the third book was published, we went back to every cable network that expressed interest, and we pitched the series. FX made the most sense, based on the level of commitment, passion and understanding of the concept of the book. They got behind the idea of making this a close-ended series; we wanted to follow the books closely and so it couldn’t be open-ended, but rather three to five seasons max.”
This is the first time FX has ordered a pilot based on a pitch. ‘The Strain’s’ pilot will be co-written, directed and executive produced by del Toro himself with Hogan co-writing the pilot script. Carlton Cuse (‘Lost,’ ‘Bates Motel’) will help develop the project and will also serve as an executive producer and showrunner.
The plan for ‘The Strain’ is to make it into a limited run series with the first and second season encompassing the first two novels of the trilogy and the third novel to perhaps be told through 2 seasons. Del Toro feels that there are enough subplots in the trilogy that had to be edited out of the books that could fill the seasons and allow writers to creatively shape the series without deviating from his books. As an added bonus, del Toro is hoping to direct as many episodes that he can depending on his scheduling commitments with his feature films.
‘The Strain’ is a vampire thriller that involves a mysterious viral outbreak that occurs in the U.S. which either kills those who are exposed to it or turns them into vampires. Those who are transformed become parasites who begin feeding on humans and extrude stingers that convert their victims into mor vampires that are under the control of The Master. It is up to CDC physician, Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather who is joined by Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian and a ragtag group of fighters to find a way to stop the contagion and save the city.
What makes this project interesting (besides the fact that del Toro is involved) is that this is quite different that the vampire stories of late. The blood suckers in his novels are dark and gritty unlike the romanticized ones popular now with the likes of ‘The Twilight Saga,’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries.’
Del Toro and Hogan will start writing the script by the end of the year and is aiming to shoot the pilot sometime in September next year. Just like ‘American Horror Story,’ FX has already ordered a number of scripts to be written besides the pilot in order for the series to quickly go into production after the pilot is made.
‘The Strain’ sounds like it will do for vampires what ‘The Walking Dead’ has for zombies. With del Toro having an intimate hand in the whole process, this will definitely be the show to watch next Fall season!