Southland alumna Regina King is set to recur on FX‘s new drama series The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan and Carlton Cuse. The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called on to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. King will play Ruby Wain, the smart and accomplished manager of philandering rock star Gabriel Bolivar (Jack Kesy). Also cast as a recurring on the series is Melanie Merkosky as Jim Kent’s (Sean Astin) wife Sylvia, who is suffering from cancer. She is repped by The Characters Talent Agency in Toronto. King, repped by ICM Partners, John Carrabino and Del Shaw, also is starring in Lifetime’s The Gabby Douglas Story.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: As we mark the 400th anniversary of Russia’s Romanov dynasty this year, FX has put in development an event series about the man closely associated with Romanovs’ final years. Rasputin, from Indian film director Shekhar Kapur, tells the story of the Russian peasant and mystic who became an adviser to the Russian Imperial family. Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring will write the script based on the upcoming book Rasputin: Dark Forces And The Fall of The Romanovs by Douglas Smith. Per FX, the event series centers on “one of the most controversial characters in history who is held responsible for bringing down the Russian Empire and changing the course of the world as we know it” and answers the question, “who was he really beyond the folklore, a true healer or the greatest charlatan the world has known?” Embraced by Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra as a healer for their only son, Tsarevich Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia, Rasputin’s influence with the ill-fated family placed them in the cross-hairs of the rising Bolshevik revolutionary movement, while cementing his own infamy with tales of heresy, black magic, sexual deviancy and immortality. It also earned Rasputin a lot of enemies, who tried to kill him in 1914, finally succeeding in 1916. The improbable story of Rasputin’s murder at the hands of several aristocrats is reminiscent of the repeated attempts on the life of Kevin Kline’s character in Lawrence Kasdan’s dark comedy I Love You To Death. During the course of one night, Rasputin was poisoned, shot three times and beaten with a dumbbell but somehow stayed alive. He was eventually dumped into the icy Neva River. Kapur will direct and executive produce with Scheuring. Smith serves as consultant.
Sacha Baron Cohen is dusting off his first famous alter ego, Ali G, in Ali G: Rezurection. The show, which will premiere on comedy-centric FXX early next year, includes every episode of HBO’s Da Ali G Show …
Kurt Sutter On Extending ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Past Seven Seasons, Playing Prison-Rape Victim And Being Influenced By ‘The Shield’
The outspoken creator and showrunner of FX‘s highest-rated program ever was his usual candid self at an ATAS event tonight. Kurt Sutter was asked during “An Evening With Sons Of Anarchy” if he plans to take the biker drama past its previously announced seventh season next year. During a long reply in which he basically said he wouldn’t, Sutter actually said he might — or at least could. “There’s so many factors that determine whether a show continues or not,” he began. “I came up with the initial awareness that if this show was being done in sort of the same production model that The Shield was in – and I knew that The Shield had about seven seasons. And I knew that at that point the show ultimately begins to eat itself and becomes more expensive to make. So I thought if we could get a full run I could tell the story I wanted to tell in seven seasons. And I knew by the end of this season I’d have a sense of whether or not I’d be able to do that, and I still think I can.
“But look,” Sutter continued, “I think if I got halfway through this season or at some point next season I felt like I couldn’t finish it, I’d probably be able to have a conversation with the network. … (But) I think after seven seasons I don’t know if we can maintain the rhythm and the pace that we’ve done, and I wouldn’t want to extend it and have it become something that it’s not. So my plan is still to finish it out in seven.”
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage:
Looking and sounding more relaxed than he has, well, maybe ever, Louis C.K. told a sold-out PaleyFest: Made in NY audience tonight at the Paley Center in New York that his look of renewed vigor is no illusion. “I’m feeling a huge amount more energy,” C.K. said, explaining that it’s the result of his having taken a year off from his Emmy-nominated FX comedy Louie. The reigning comic’s comic — widely considered to have the most creative freedom of perhaps any human in television history – made the commitment to take a 12-month sabbatical “for the good of the show. I didn’t want to start making the show with diminishing returns.” He stressed that as his show’s writer, producer, director, editor and star, he would be juggling so many balls that he’d turned in some episodes “that I knew weren’t good enough. It had been kind of a nightmare. We took a year off to kind of hit the reset button.”
So now for the fourth season of the critical smash Louie that he just began shooting, the pace of production will be far more leisurely. “We usually start shooting in February for that year’s show, and we’re four months ahead this time. So we have much, much more time.” The entire season now will be in the can when it returns to the air next spring. But at the same time, C.K. is – by his standards – taking his time. “We have 60 shooting days this year; we usually do 48,” he said. “I feel like we’re doing it a lot smarter, besides finally having the luxury of time.”