The Strain: Corey Stoll interview

Corey Stoll plays Dr Ephraim Goodweather, head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Project (CDC) - brilliant at his job but not so good with his personal life.

The Strain

How do things develop for Eph in Season 2? By the end of Season 1 his whole life has fallen apart...

His life is no more together that's for sure. He's definitely off the wagon and still an incredibly driven workaholic, but he's also let go of some of the more moralistic aspects of his personality due to alcohol and just desperation. Eph's accepted the more supernatural aspects of the invasion or epidemic, and it's no longer a secret what's happening - the world knows about it so it's more of an out and out battle. The fact that Kelly (Eph's estranged wife) has turned makes it personal for him but he also has a professional sense of responsibility, that he's been tasked with protecting New York and he's failed so he has to fix that.

Are there a lot of new vampires in Season 2?

Yes, I think that's one of the things that's really baked in to the whole metaphor of The Strain is this evolving virus. So we've seen the vampires that are basically zombies and then on the other end there is the master who's this supernatural creature. They keep on ramping it up and keeping the audience on their toes.

What attracted you to the role of Eph?

It was Guillermo del Toro's sense of creating a world and his unique way of telling a story, plus the combination of Carlton Cuse who has done such a great job of telling the stories serially. It's a great place to be where you have this world that nobody has ever really seen and is very informed by all of this history of horror. In the cover letter for the pilot script, Guillermo said in this role you'll find a more robust arc than you'll find in any medium, which was incredibly compelling. An exciting thing about TV now is the idea of what constitutes a character has changed. It used to be the person you meet in the pilot is the person you meet in the finale but in this new golden age of TV, characters are expected to grow and change.

How does it feel to be a lead in a TV season and carrying the show?

It doesn't feel like it's on my shoulders - this show is so big and complex and there are so many different characters, it's one scene at a time. It really is no different than being a supporting character because you don't really feel that sense of holding the story; you're working on doing your scene. I don't know if that's some sort of coping mechanism!

How did House of Cards change things for you?

It opened up a lot of things career wise but also Peter Russo was such an incredibly varied character, it gave me the confidence to be a lead of a season like this. Also after House of Cards suddenly a lot of people knew why they knew me. Before that it was, 'Did we go to High School together?' Although I still definitely get that a lot too!

Would you like The Strain to carry on for a third season?

Oh definitely. I think a lot of what appealed to me was having the books as these guideposts - so not creating a world and then just milking it and trying to keep it going somehow. We've got this story that has a beginning, middle and end so we're telling that.