Before FX developed The Strain for its lineup, Guillermo del Toro says a broadcast network suggested developing it as a comedy. The Strain, based on the trilogy of novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) as the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team, leading the effort to discover the root of a viral outbreak that seems to have killed all the passengers and crew of a Berlin-originated airplane that turns out to be a strain of vampirism.
Back in 2006, del Toro told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014, the project was sent around for possible development as a TV project. At that time he said, the the only way anybody envisioned vampires was “as a romantic conception of vampires — that sort of GQ version of vampires,” he said. But he was pitching a show in which vampires would be “truly revolting, physically and spiritually.” At one network, he said, he got asked, ” ‘Could you turn it into a comedy?’ I said ‘no’.”
Series exec producer Carlton Cuse, meanwhile, says that while there are horror elements to the show, he thinks of it much more as an adventure show, along the lines of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, he worked on in its development. “It’s not that scary — it’s not just a horror show,” Cuse insists of The Strain. “The material lent itself to a big pulpy engaging type of storytelling.” Read More »
“It may have been too far out there for some people but I personally liked it,” said The Strain showrunner Carlton Cuse today about the graphic billboards FX pulled in some LA locations last week after getting grossed out complaints. The billboards of the upcoming series based on the trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan depicted a close up illustration of a worm coming out of a human eyeball. “I think that the ad was bold and imaginative and clearly not for everyone,” added the former Lost producer today on a conference call. “I feel the same way,” said del Toro. “I think FX has a great sense of who their audience is,” he added, “the worm with the eye is very powerful.”
“Much as I think that the show has many layers of appeal,” the Pacific Rim director noted the vampire drama might not be for a mass TV audience. “We do go to territories that are pretty extreme and graphic,” del Toro said describing the show as “a thriller with horror elements.”
Despite the pulled billboards, both reiterate the strong support they’ve had from their first meeting with FX. “John Landgraf read all three books and he made the decision that The Strain fit into the portfolio of shows on FX,’ Cuse said. “They give you time to find your footing,” added del Toro as he spoke of the long pre-production time he requested for … Read More »
Amazon Studios is saddling up for Point Of Honor, a Civil War drama from former Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse and Secretariat director Randall Wallace. I hear the streaming service is finalizing a pilot order deal for the project, to be co-produced by ABC Studios’ boutique division ABC Signature and Amazon Studios.
Point of Honor is a historical drama about a fictional family from Lynchburg, VA who find their lives and family fractured by the commencement of the Civil War. It has been a passion project for Cuse and was the first show he developed after his six-season run on the Emmy-winning ABC drama Lost. He and Wallace, who separately were both interested in doing Civil War projects, were put together by their mutual agent, WME’s Ari Greeenburg. Their ideas melded together well, and the two created the show together. The teaming gave the project two different perspectives on the war as Wallace is from the south and went to Duke and Cuse grew up in Boston and went to Harvard.
Like Lost, Point Of Honor was set up at ABC though ABC Studios during the 2010-11 season but did not go to production. Barry Jossen, then head of ABC Studios, was a big champion of the project. He is now an executive producer alongside Cuse as he was instrumental in setting the show up at Amazon. Key on the Amazon side was Amazon Studios head of drama Morgan Wandell, who also knew of the project from his days at ABC Studios. Point Of Honor had been envisioned as a major event series, a genre whose popularity has been on the rise the past couple of years. Cuse and Wallace co-wrote the script, with Wallace set to direct. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Lost alum Mark Pellegrino, who played Jacob on the hit ABC series, is reuniting with Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse. Pellegrino has been tapped as a lead in Cuse’s 10-episode straight-to-series A&E drama The Returned. Cuse wrote the first episode, and he and Raelle Tucker will write and executive produce the supernatural/suspense drama, an adaptation of the acclaimed French series. The Returned, from A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America, focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people, who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and detrimental consequences. Pellegrino will play the rugged Jack, father of 20-year-old twin girls Lena, and Camille, who died in a school bus crash four years ago at age 16 and are now coming back. Pellegrino, repped by Domain and Framework, co-starred on the CW’s The Tomorrow People this past season, and his series credits also include Supernatural, Revolution, Being Human, The Closer and Dexter.
A U.S. version of the acclaimed and popular French drama The Returned (Les Revenants) is a go. A&E has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to the project, also titled The Returned, which had been on fast-track development since the network acquired the rights to the French series last fall. Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel) wrote the first episode, and he and Raelle Tucker (True Blood) will write and executive produce the supernatural/suspense series, a co-production between A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America, with three scripts already completed. Casting will begin immediately.
Based on the International Emmy-winning French suspense series by Fabrice Gobert, which in turn was inspired by the French feature film of the same name directed by Robin Campillo, The Returned focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people, who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, bringing with them both positive and detrimental consequences. As families are reunited, the lives of those who were left behind are challenged on a physical and emotional level as strange phenomena begin to occur. I hear A&E’s version is faithful to the original. “The Returned has the potential to be one of the most compelling drama series on cable, thanks to phenomenal scripts written by Carlton and Raelle,” said A&E general manager David McKillop. This marks the second straight-to-series order for Cuse at A&E, where he also has Psycho prequel series Bates Motel, recently renewed for a third season. With the pickup of The Returned, Cuse ties Julie Plec as the writing drama producer with the most series on the air, 3: Bates Motel, and The Returned at A&E and the upcoming horror series The Strain at FX — not too shabby for the former Lost co-showrunner who had been eyeing a slower pace following his intense stint on the complex ABC series.
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FX’s new vampire series The Strain is a “really original re-imagining of vampire lore” that “says something about the precariousness of our modern world” and also about the intersection of “empiricism and religion,” exec producer Carlton Cuse told TV critics this afternoon.
Then he showed critics a clip from the pilot episode.
“I got a massage just watching that,” Cuse tittered when the gore-tastic clip wrapped. Critics, who looked like the clip had had the same effect on them, were disappointed to learn from Cuse that the vampires of The Strain won’t engage in actual sex. That’s because the particular strain of vampire in Chuck Hogan’s novel trilogy on which the series is based sloughs off genitalia – no use for them. Read More »
While Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse‘s drama The Strain, based on del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire novel trilogy, formally had a pilot order at FX, its series pickup was considered a pure formality. It just came in today. From the onset, when FX landed the project in a bidding war, it hired a full writing staff, with the network committing some $500,000 to creature creation. The Strain now is heading into production on its first season, with the bulk of the scripts already completed and one major casting change. The role of Professor Abraham Setrakian, played in the pilot by John Hurt, is being recast. Filming is slated to begin this month in Toronto for a July premiere. As FX CEO John Landgraf indicated in August, the plan for the series is to run for 39-65 episodes.
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EXCLUSIVE: Hit French series The Returned (Les Revenants) is getting an American remake. A&E Network has nabbed rights to the supernatural/suspense drama, which will be developed as a co-production between A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America. There is no writer in place but I hear the network is in discussions with Carlton Cuse, executive producer/co-showrunner of A&E’s breakout hit Bates Motel to take on the adaptation.
Created by Fabrice Gobert, Les Revenants was inspired by the 2004 feature film by the same name directed by Robin Campillo (English-language title They Came Back). It focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, having not aged and unaware of their own fatality. As they attempt to resume their lives, strange phenomena and gruesome murders begin to occur. “The Returned takes an incredibly unique approach, filled with suspense and twists and turns, to the subject of the living dead,” said A&E’s EVP and general manager David McKillop. Added FMNA CEO Thom Beers, “Having seen Fabrice Gobert’s original version and the success the series has had in France, we’re thrilled to be partnering with the team at A+E to bring this enigmatic thriller to U.S. audiences.” Read More »
Showrunner Carlton Cuse tonight tweeted casting of Lord Of The Rings veteran Sean Astin in the FX pilot directed by Guillermo del Toro. Astin will play CDC administrator Jim Kent in the dram starring Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro and John Hurt. The Strain, which Pacific Rim helmer del Toro co-wrote with Chuck Hogan based on their vampire novel trilogy, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team, of which Astin’s Kent is a member, are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism.
Related: John Hurt To Co-Star In FX Pilot ‘The Strain’
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated actor John Hurt has been tapped as the co-lead opposite Corey Stoll and Mia Maestro in FX‘s high-profile drama pilot The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse, which is being eyed for a 13-episode pickup. The high-concept thriller, directed by del Toro from a script he co-wrote with Chuck Hogan based on their vampire novel trilogy, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. Hurt, who first worked with del Toro in his 2004 feature Hellboy, will portray Professor Abraham Setrakian, a holocaust survivor who immigrated to the U.S. after World War II and now runs a pawn shop in Spanish Harlem. As the outbreak spreads, he may be the only one with answers — if anyone will listen. Read More »
Diane Haithman is a Deadline contributor.
During a Bates Motel panel discussion Friday, Carlton Cuse was blunt about borrowing from a classic. No, not Hitchcock’s Psycho; TV’s Twin Peaks. “We pretty much ripped off Twin Peaks,” joked Cuse, executive producer of the A&E series with Kerry Ehrin, in response to a question about the similarities from panel moderator Shawn Ryan. “If you wanted to get that confession, the answer is yes,” he continued, tongue in cheek. “I loved that show. They only did 30 episodes. Kerry and I thought we’d do the 70 that are missing.” Cuse appeared on the Paley Center panel “Inside Bates Motel: Reimagining A Cinema Icon” with Ehrin, Vera Farmiga (who portrays Norma Bates), Freddie Highmore (Norman), Max Thieriot (Norman’s half-brother Dylan), Nicola Peltz (popular teen Bradley Martin) and Nestor Carbonell (Sheriff Alex Romero). English actress Olivia Cooke, who plays Norman’s friend Emma Decody, who battles cystic fibrosis, was a no-show because of “visa snafus,” Ryan said. Once it was acknowledged that both TV shows are plenty creepy and set in the foggy Northwest, Cuse, Ehrin and the cast spent more time during the freewheeling discussion citing the similarities and differences of Bates Motel from Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film.
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EXCLUSIVE: House Of Cards‘ Corey Stoll has been tapped as the lead of FX‘s high-profile drama project The Strain, from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and veteran showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel). The Strain, an adaptation of del Toro’s vampire novel trilogy, formally has a pilot order, but FX president John Landgraf has indicated it is being eyed for a series order. The project already has a full writing staff in place churning out scripts, and I hear FX has committed $500,000 to creature creation.
Del Toro will direct the pilot from a script he co-wrote with Chuck Hogan, who also co-authored the books with del Toro. Cuse, who helped develop the adaptation, executive produces alongside del Toro and will serve as showrunner, overseeing the potential series with del Toro. Hogan and del Toro’s longtime manager/producing partner Gary Ungar also serve as exec producers of the project, produced by FX Prods.
The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his … Read More »
NBC has put in development Sixth Gun, a drama based on the Oni Press graphic novel, which is being executive produced by former Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse. Sixth Gun, produced by Universal TV, is the story of six mythical guns in the Old West. When the Sixth Gun, the most powerful and dangerous of the group, resurfaces in the hands of an innocent girl named Becky Montcrief, dark forces reawaken. Vile men thought long dead set their sights on retrieving the gun and killing Becky. Only Drake Sinclair, a self-serving gunfighter, stands in evil’s way. Feature writer Ryan Condal will write the script and will executive produce with Cuse as well as Eric Gitter and Andy Bourne of Oni Press’s sister company, film/TV producer Closed on Mondays Entertainment. I hear Uni TV EVP Bela Bajaria had been eying the property for awhile and brought it to Cuse’s attention. Condal has several feature projects in the works, including Hercules: The Thracian Wars, also a comic book adaptation, which has Dwayne Johnson attached to star and Brett Ratner to direct.
Guillermo del Toro is bringing his vampire novel trilogy The Strain to television as a drama series, which will be run by former Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse. In a very competitive situation with multiple cable networks offering major commitments, FX has landed the project, ordering a pilot that will be co-written, directed and executive produced by del Toro. Co-writing the pilot script is Chuck Hogan (Prince Of Thieves), who also co-authored the books with del Toro. Lost alum Cuse will help develop the series and serve as executive producer/showrunner. Like Lost, The Strain is envisioned as having a limited run. Del Toro tells Deadline he believes the books have enough juice to fill three to five seasons of series, and that he would like to helm as many episodes as his feature schedule allows. Del Toro, Cuse and Hogan exec produce with del Toro’s long-time manager/producing partner Gary Ungar.
In the opening book of the series, the 2009 The Strain, a Boeing 777 lands at JFK with no communication or signs of life. Eph Goodweather, who investigates biological threats for the CDC, is called in and discovers all the passengers dead, and signs that a strange being had been aboard the vessel. Soon, he teams with ex-professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian and they assemble a ragtag group that represents mankind’s only hope when a swarm of vampires quickly turn civilization into a buffet spread. Fittingly for male-driven FX, unlike the traditional, romanticized portrayals of vampires as tuxedo-clad studs, The Strain‘s bloodsuckers have no seductive powers — they are parasites, husks of their former human form with stingers that drain blood for nourishment, while spreading capillary worms that convert victims into more vampires under the control of The Master. Read More »
A&E Network is checking into Bates Motel without even ordering a pilot, it was announced today. The network is putting in a 10-episode order of the Alfred Hitchcock Psycho-inspired series from Universal Television, with a 2013 premiere planned. Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin will serve as executive producers. Cuse wrote almost three dozen episodes of Lost and served as executive produce on the show. Ehrin was a writer and producer recently on Parenthood and Friday Night Lights. Roy Lee, John Middleton Jr, and producer Mark Wolper originally put Bates Motel together. As A&E announced earlier this year, the series goes into the story before Psycho. With a contemporary touch, Bates Motel looks at the twisted relationship between serial killer-to-be Norman Bates and his mother Norma.
Carlton Cuse has teamed with author/pastor Rob Bell for Stronger, a drama project with spiritual overtones, which has been sold to ABC via ABC Studios in a hefty script deal. Stronger, which the former Lost co-showrunner and the founder of Michigan’s Mars Hill Bible Church are co-writing and executive producing, revolves around Tom Stronger, a musician and teacher, and his spiritual journey as he becomes a benefactor and guide to others. Music is expected to be a big part of the show, which features autobiographical elements as Bell is a former musician and played with rock/gospel bands in the 1990s.
Cuse and Bell met at the 2011 Time 100 gala — Bell was a 2011 honoree and Cuse had been on the magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010. The two immediately hit it off and soon concocted the idea for Stronger. While spiritual, Stronger won’t be supernatural. It will touch on the spiritual side of people’s lives much like the final season of Lost did and like Bell has done in his career as a pastor speaking to congregations of more than 10,000. Bell last week announced that he will be leaving the Mars Hill Bible Church in December to move with his family to Los Angeles. The series with Cuse is one of many things Bell plans to pursue, Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Hugh Jackman is director Shawn Levy’s first choice to star in 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Voyage, the James Cameron-produced 3D tent pole film. It’s early days, but this would give Jackman a big movie to do while he and Fox sort things out with The Wolverine. The film was on a fast track to start production this year, until Darren Aronofsky dropped out as director. They’ve considered such helmers as Source Code‘s Duncan Jones and David Slade, but haven’t yet hired a helmer. There has also been complications because the Christopher McQuarrie script is set almost entirely in Japan, a country still dealing with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Pushing the picture back wouldn’t hurt Fox that much, because expectations are high for this summer’s X-Men: First Class, which would keep the franchise vibrant. It would also keep Jackman and Levy in the Fox fold at a time when their recent collaboration, Real Steel, looks like it could be a big hit for DreamWorks in the fall.
Deadline revealed in February that Levy had come aboard Fantastic Voyage, the re-imagining of the 1966 original about a team of scientists shrunk into a ship in an attempt to save a colleague’s life. Fox and Cameron are planning an ambitious 3D film with a script by Shane Salerno and Laeta Kalogridis, and the new … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has acquired an untitled action adventure pitch that will be scripted by Lost‘s Carlton Cuse for Hugh Jackman to star in and Shawn Levy to direct. Levy’s 21 Laps Entertainment banner will produce.
While Cuse has done uncredited writing on two Lethal Weapon sequels and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this is the first feature script he’ll write since Lost ended its run. Cuse was the drama’s longtime show runner and executive producer.
Levy and Jackman just teamed for DreamWorks in Real Steel, which Disney will release on October 7. Both have deep ties to Fox. Levy’s 21 Laps is based there, and Jackman’s Seed Productions had a Fox deal until he and partner John Palermo decided to split so Jackman could focus on acting. Jackman is currently prepping to star in The Wolverine, the sequel to the X-Men spinoff that is being directed by Oscar-nominated Black Swan helmer Darren Aronofsky. Levy directed Night at the Museum and Date Night at Fox. Fox prexy Emma Watts and Steven Puri are steering the potential tent pole for Fox with 21 Laps’ Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen. Jackman , Levy and Cuse are repped by WME.