The Strain: Mia Maestro interview

Mia Maestro plays Dr Nora Martinez, a driven biochemist and another member of the CDC Canary team.

The Strain

What's in store for Nora in Season 2?

After the death of her mother in Season 1, her whole perspective has changed so she's ready to tackle the virus in a very different way. She still keeps her humanity and feminist vision of keeping compassionate but at the same time she becomes much more of a fighter. She and Eph try to find a way to tackle the virus from the inside, being the doctors that they are.

Do you do a lot of the actual fighting?

Yes there's a lot of physicality and we don't have a lot of training. Many of the cast have done a lot of stunts before - I did a TV show called Alias for a long time and Corey has done a lot of training too. I also studied dance movement too, which comes in handy with the choreography. Most of the vampires are dancers so the aesthetic of how they move is quite unique. I think that's what Guillermo del Toro wanted.

What's it like working on a big budget TV show?

The budget is so much more than any independent movie I've done in Argentina! Motorcycle Diaries had a little bit of a budget but I've done some which didn't have much of a budget at all so The Strain feels like a very luxurious TV show. The set and locations are beautiful, which is really inspiring for us to be acting in as you get in to character really quickly.

How are things between Nora and Eph?

The relationship between them has not always been clear and when the vampire invasion happens they're figuring out how they feel about each. But then in Season 2, Eph goes back to drinking as he's a recovering alcoholic, so she has to decide if she can really trust him or prefer to separate herself from the whole situation. But they do have an enormous amount of admiration as co-workers and work really well together.

What's been your most surreal day at work?

Filming in minus 38-Celsius weather at night is pretty intense! It's been hard shooting outdoors with the cold. But there have been some great moments, especially the first episodes after the long hiatus and you're like, we're really doing this and it's awesome. Also the recognition that people love it - we have a really good group of fans, so you feel a responsibility to do your best.

How much is Guillermo del Toro on set?

He's very much involved with the scripts and post-production and the look of the creatures. From time to time he comes to the set and, because he lives here in Toronto, I've seen Guillermo more socially - we go for dinner after work. He gave us really specific notes on our characters, which really helped. It's so amazing to be working with one of the most incredible directors in the world.