Fan Fest EXCLUSIVE: Chuck Hogan-Co Creator of ‘The Strain’ Says The Show Doesn’t Wait For Big Things to Happen
Season 3 of The Strain has been off to a fast-paced start. Episode three of the third season aired last night, and the thrills do not seem to be slowing down at all. We got to chat with Chuck Hogan, co-creator of the story and series who says that The Strain fans can expect big things, and we can expect them sooner than later.
Hogan created the world of the strigoi with Guillermo del Toro, who brought the idea to him about ten years ago, and the two have effortlessly brought their story from book to television.
Shannon: Can you tell me a little bit more about your partnership with Guillermo?
Chuck: Guillermo had this idea for many years, he tells me, and he originally approached some people about doing it in longform narrative style, like a TV show, but they didnt really get it-this was back in the early 2000s. He figured he would do it as a book, and tell the sotry he wanted to tell. When he sent it to me, I literally got a page in a half in and said “This is great.” So we met and I wasn’t sure what he was looking for-I havent collaborated with anyone els-and he really wanted a co-writer. And he had what I thought was a terrific idea and so and we just started working on it on a handshake, 10 years ago now.
Shannon: Why vampires? And how did you guys think to make them have those crazy tongues that come out?
Chuck: Both of those are basically Guillermo-I can honestly say that if i would have thought to do a horror story I wouldn’t have done vampires because it was sort of played out. But his brilliant take which I immediately got was, this isn’t the romantic vampire of the Post-Dracula Era way back in the beginning of the origins of the folklore. It’s literally parasitic creatures, it was a very exciting idea to me. They (vampires) have been around in mythic terms as long as angels have. The stingers were there right at the beginning, that was Guillermo’s vision early on. He had a very cler vision of their morphology.
Shannon: You co-wrote the original story and also do script writing on the show, how are those mediums different, even though the story is basically the same?
Chuck: The two mediums are wonderfully different. I can’t imagine anything more boring than to the write the same story twice and its been great to go back to this world we created-the world of novels-and take it into a different realm and different dirctions narratively. We have lovely characters in the books who are no longer with us on the show. Guillermo and I both were totally open to that. It’s one of the signs that a show or story is working when it starts to take a life of its own.
Shannon: Did you always have a love of the horror genere? what inspired that?
Chuck: I did completely, I mean I had never published a horror story before this. I primarily wrote crime novels. I’m very much into scary movies and the creature-double-feature on television, zombie films and everything. In many ways it’s a young person’s game. I have two teenagers now. It’s something I think about as coming of age and trying to deal with fears in a fun manageble way. So I jumped at the chance to do somehting in that genre.
Shannon: A fan wants to know about the timeline of the show, the book takes place in about 60 days and the show takes place in less days right?
Chuck: So far it has. We started season three and we are about 23 or 24 days from the initial night zero-which is the landing of the plane in New York City. It’s more interesting to us narratively to explore the downfall of the city and civilization and how that can happen and as we worked through it we realized it may not take very long at all. Any real nation is only nine meals away from anarchy. Basically 3 days, it’s a little longer because there’s a lot of mystery and a lot of struggle. But 23 days yes. WHat’s great about where we are now is that the threat has really been established. No longer are people coming to grips with what might be happening, but season three is focused on trying to fight back before it’s too late.
Shannon: You wrote on the premiere of season three: New York Strong, where we saw Ephraim and Kelly-Kelly can sort of still feel emotion but is also sort of dead? Can you tell us a little about what we can expect to see happen with their relationship this season?
Chuck: Yes, I co wrote the episode, and yes it’s true there are a few creatures that are the Master’s, like Kelly, they have something that he thinks he can sort of exploit and so she has a bit of emotion but it’s more like memories of emotion. All the strogoi-any person who has been turned by this plague is drawn to their loved ones. That’s part of the insidious nature of it they’re drawn to those your connected to by blood or by emotion, so she’s still strongly connected to Eph. It’s been going on throughout the series, and The Strain is a custody battle between husband and wife and their son but it’s also a custody battle of humanity wrestling control of the future of the world.
Shannon: Season 3 is now going strong, what can you reveal that we can expect to see this season?
Chuck: It’s a little diffcult to talk about because there’s so much. We’ve gone from 13 epiodes to each season having ten and you feel it very plainly becuse every show is packed with turns and things you don’t expect that i’m most excited for. Most of the time the shows wait until the last few episodes and that’s when big things happem-not to say we don’t have big things happening at the end of the season-we do-but we don’t wait for that and those really dynamic turns of story to come so i’m excited for peoples’ reactions as we go forward.
Shannon: Along with The Strain, what is next for you?
Chuck: I have a few other projects i’m working on, I wrote a film that came out in Janary called 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, and Micheal Bay directed it and I have a few more feature projects in various stages-nothing imminent-but I will be occupied as we start breaking down season 3 of The Strain.
You can catch The Strain every Sunday at 10 PM ET on FX.