Though there were many questions for “The Strain” Season 2 premiere to answer after Eph (Corey Stoll), Setrakian (David Bradley) and the group’s encounter with the Master last year, there actually was one very blatant mystery that stood out.
What happened to Eph’s son, Zach?
His haircut was the same, but everything else was different — his voice, his looks, his demeanor. The answer is a casting change that went largely under the radar. After production of Season 1 ended, producers decided to go in another direction with Zach, swapping out actor Ben Hyland with Max Charles, who is most recognizable as young Peter Parker from the “Amazing Spider-Man” franchise.
Speaking to Zap2it in a group interview, executive producer Carlton Cuse says the trajectory of Zach’s story is what led to the recasting. “The character moves in a much darker direction as we go downstream in the books and it just felt like Max, as an actor, had the range, the heart and the pathos to portray that. Ben Hyland is a terrific actor but just has a different quality,” he explains. “We wanted a Zach that could get to a dark place, where is where we kind of go with the story.”
If the Season 2 premiere is any indication, that dark place revolves around Zach’s resentment towards Eph over not trying to save his mother (Natalie Brown) from her current vampire form. Perhaps Hyland just couldn’t pull off angry tween quite as well as Charles.
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