TV Heartbeat with The Strain at Comic Con! FX Screening & Cast Signing! Guillermo del Toro! Carlton Cuse! Corey Stoll! Mia Maestro! Sean Astin!

Even though FX’s newest series, The Strain, premiered to huge ratings, the network went all out to support the show with a screening, cast signing and panel at Comic Con in San Diego last week!

For the screening, FX brought out a boatload of props including The Master…

He is here!

He is here!

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… and his gorgeous, oversized coffin. Props to the prop department on the coffin which is beautifully macabre and hugely detailed up close in daylight.

The Master's Coffin

The Master’s Coffin



We also had Ephraim Goodweather’s (Corey Stoll) bio hazard suit…

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…Setrakian’s (David Bradley) lovely sword/cane…


… and his pet infected heart in a jar, which would periodically beat.


But the winner for the creepiest prop is the decapitated head with the inner snake tongue—that also moved! Sometimes it thrashed so violently that the staff had to come by and re-set it so it didn’t fall off the table. Lol!


Definitely one of the fascinating/creepy things that you can’t stop staring at…these little boys entranced by it! (Aren’t they a little young to be watching this?!?!?)


If that wasn’t enough fun, Mike Huddleston, the artist from The Strain graphic novel was on hand to sign comic and SKETCH!!!!


The invite for the screening had said props and guest appearances. Mike was a nice surprise since you never know who will come, but I assumed Guillermo del Toro would be here since he’s one of the most fan-friendly people on the planet…and wait? Yep, that’s Guillermo del Toro tucked into the back corner!!


A Comic Con mainstay, Guillermo’s enthusiasm is always infectious (ha ha ha!) and he is greeting everyone with his customary brilliant smile and good humor. At the end of every panel I’ve seen with him, I’ve always thought “someday, I want a hug from Guillermo.” He’s a cuddly, foul-mouth visionary teddy bear so, really, who wouldn’t? I get my moment with a quick picture and a signature on the lovely, moody city scape poster that they were handing out.


I asked Guillermo if there’s any word on season 2 yet since the show had such a strong start. He says there’s no word yet and since he’s “Mexican, so I assume everyone is out to fuck me over!” with a big laugh. Too funny!

I’m hanging with my sister and we head over to pick up our “survivor rations” (popcorn) when she spots showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) enter the lobby. He’s soon followed by a whole bunch of the cast members! They are all milling about, but not really headed anywhere so a handful of fans all head over to say hi to them. Yeah!

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Quickly I see Richard Sammel (Thomas Eichorst), Jonathan Hyde (Eldritch Palmer) and Jack Kesy without all the goth makeup (Gabriel Bolivar). Kevin Durand (Vasiliy Fet) also arrives and I chat with him a little bit about his part in Russell Crowe’s Indoor Garden Party concerts. (On stage, he’s pretty much the opposite of any of the scary bad guys he plays in the movies.)

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Robin Atkins Downes, the voice of The Master, (who just about the size of The Master) signs my poster, inscribed with one of the show’s taglines. So fun since he’s not a part of the official signing tomorrow. I’m always puzzled on why they don’t include everyone who’s a part of the show since they made the trip to San Diego…


Off to the side, Sean Astin (Jim Kent) is greeting folks and taking rather silly pictures.


The lovely Mia Maestro (Dr. Nora Martinez) is also chatting away and happy to greet folks.


We also get a quick moment with Natalie Brown who’s really friendly and so excited for her first Comic Con. Love it!


With that, the cast heads into the screening which features the next episode. It’s great that so much of the cast came out to watch the episode on the big screen with a bunch of fans. Not everyone made it as we’re notably missing David Bradley (Abraham Setrakian), Miguel Gomez (Gus Elizalde) and the star, Corey Stoll (Eph) who’s currently being featured in the biggest panel of the con – the Marvel movie panel since Corey will be staring in Ant-Man.


The next day, the Fox booth is holding a signing for The Strain with the full cast (well, without Robin), Guillermo, Carlton and author/Exec Producer Chuck Hogan. We get lined up right where the talent enter the booth and, well, I guess my sister and I were sort of memorable since Mia and Natalie recognize us as they pass by. Too funny!


They pass by and we note that Guillermo is not with the crowd. A few minutes go by and Guillermo walks up with a Mexican wrestling mask in hand! It turns out Guillermo wanted to walk the floor a bit and did so in disguise! Lol! Fanboy will out! I also have to laugh since his publicity team has the hardest job in the world – keep Guillermo on schedule! He always stops and chats with people so, yeah, he tends to run a few minutes late. Bless his heart!

With that, the signing begins! Everything moves smoothly and quickly. Corey is friendly and now a veteran of Comic Con since he braved Hall H the day before. Sean Astin is waving to the gawkers trying to get a photo of him.


Mia Maestro is laughing with David Bradley who is one of the jolliest guys you will ever meet — quite the opposite of Filtch or Walder Fray! Mia sees me and states “There you are! I wondered where you got off to!” and we chat about the screening. So sweet!


When I get to Miguel Gomez, I pass on Guillermo’s praise for him from an interview a few weeks ago and he’s delighted to hear it.


Young Ben Hyland was really excited to do the signing and panel, but also excited that he got to walk around the exhibit hall a bit. His concentration as he carefully signs the poster is adorable.

Before I get to Guillermo and Carlton, the two of them are filming some promos for the FX network and Guillermo gets a brain wave and starts to pull down his lower eyelid to imitate the controversial poster that the cast is currently signing. Carlton soon joins in and the two of them are posing for photos with their eyeballs exposed! (But no worms popped out) Lol! Too funny!


And that’s the signing! It’s sort of a tension relief that the cast is so fun and friendly since the show is anything but that. (I tend to watch the show with all the lights on and sometimes through my fingers.) The Strain continues to be creepy and scary, but also fascinating.


Catch The Strain on FX on Sundays!

Stay tuned!

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