The experience of working on FX’s “The Strain” was enough for Guillermo del Toro that he wants more. The series is based on a trilogy of novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan. In addition to directing the pilot, he was also intensely involved in creating the look of the show.
When Zap2it joined a select group of media outlets to tour the Toronto sets of “The Strain” in March, it was particularly evident in the creature shop just how big important del Toro was to production. With model corpses, vampires and stingers spread around a chilly warehouse, not to mention a horrifying bust of The Master, del Toro’s infamous attention to detail was clear to see.
Speaking to Zap2it at the Television Critics Association press tour, del Toro explains, “I normally bring a lot of detail to sets in my movies, and I wanted to bring that same attention of detail to ‘The Strain.'” He continues, “When the props got too expensive, I would pay 50% and keep a copy of the prop in exchange. I wanted Setrakian’s cane to be the most beautiful prop we could fabricate, but it was very expensive. I said I’d pay part of it and keep one.”
It wasn’t just the props and character designs del Toro immersed himself in, but also the sets themselves. “I tortured everyone in the way they aged the walls, the way they aged everything,” he explains. “If you went into the glass displays, you’d see that all of the merchandise in Setrakian’s shop makes sense.” Indeed, from the songs on the jukebox for sale to the old beat up TV behind the counter, Setrakian’s pawn shop feels authentic.
After investing in so much, it shouldn’t come as no surprise that del Toro is aching for more. Though FX hasn’t confirmed a second season order yet, the film director is already planning to be there if cameras start rolling. Initially, he said he hoped to direct the Season 2 premiere. Instead, del Toro now not wants to direct scenes involving the creatures.
That’s not all, though. “Rather than give 10-15 days on one episode, I’d rather be with every director as much as I can,” he says. “[I want to] stay available every day on the set.” He adds, “It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had and I’ve learned you need to be there.”
To that end, del Toro says, “I’ve cleared my schedule. I don’t shoot anything until 2015 because I need to be there if they give us a second season.” Now he just needs to get the call a out a renewal so he can start plotting his return to Toronto.
“The Strain” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.