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Producers behind FX’s vampire drama The Strain used their platform Monday at the Television Critics Association to defend why they opted to give leading man Corey Stoll‘s character a hairpiece.
Based on Guillermo del Toro‘s and Chuck Hogan‘s book trilogy first published in 2009, the story centers on a vampire virus that infects New York and the CDC doctor, Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather (House of Cards‘ Stoll), who investigates the case. Goodweather is the head of the CDC’s Canary Team in New York who is called upon to investigate a viral outbreak connected to an evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph leads a team of New Yorkers that wages a war and defends humanity.
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Stoll, who rose to stardom after his breakout role on the first season of Netflix’s House of Cards, admitted that initially he was “skeptical” when del Toro said he’d be fashioned with a wig for the FX series, thinking he was being made over to look more like a typical “Hollywood hero,” before he learned the truth.
“If you know the books or where it’s heading, we needed the character to change his look, to be able to mix into the normal population without being seen,” del Toro explained. “We needed him to have a look that could be altered…and unless he grows a beard or has an eye patch, we needed somewhere for him to go.”
Added showrunner Carleton Cuse: “Our vision of this character has to move from point A to point B and that was part of the conception of character.”
For his part, Stoll said the wig actually has helped inform how he embodies Eph.
“It helped increase the eccentricity of the character and bring him more into the world,” he noted. “It functions more as a mask.”
Meanwhile, producers also explained the lack of vampires in the first few episodes of the series and the pace with which they’re burning through the story. Addressing fan complaints of the former, Cuse noted that diehard fans of the franchise will be rewarded for their patience as the series will eventually reveal more of the creatures after setting up the story in the first few episodes.
Co-creator Hogan also noted that it was “scary” to chew up so much story in the premiere — which features the first appearance of the vampire creatures after so much of the first book goes without depicting them. “But at the same time, that got us off to a great start,” he said.
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