Guillermo del Toro bites into 'The Strain'

Corey Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather in FX's

Corey Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather in FX's "The Strain."

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:44 PM ET

Guillermo del Toro admits to be “biologically curious” about vampires.

Well, it's a good thing the acclaimed filmmaker is channeling that curiosity into his new TV series The Strain, which debuts July 13 on FX Canada. Del Toro was on hand at the Rogers Media upfront event at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Tuesday to talk about The Strain, which coincidentally shoots in Toronto.

“This is very close to my heart,” del Toro said. “I'd been making notes about vampirism since I was a kid, about how vampires really would work biologically. I wanted to go beyond the man in the cape with the fangs and the funny accent.

“And (FX) said, 'You should be sick and disturbing.' I like that.”

The Strain stars Corey Stoll as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his colleagues are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism.

Del Toro co-wrote the book series of the same name upon which The Strain is based. He said that when he pitched the show to TV networks, “It was the greatest pitch day of my life. Every network we went to wanted the show. That never happens when you're doing something creative.”

Asked about the glut of vampire TV shows, del Toro replied, “The only audience I can think of is me, and that's not an ego trip. I have a normal life. I'm a strange bastard, but I think about what I would like to see.

“Vampires have been romanticized. We've kind of de-fanged them. I wanted to do this not as a movement, but as an alternative. It is gory, but not gory for the sake of being gory. I would say it's biologically curious. But the way the vampires breed is truly brutal."

The Strain is the fifth production that Del Toro, a native of Mexico, has shot in Canada.

“I absolutely adore working here,” he said. “It has come to the point where I would love to call Canada home.”

Besides FX Canada and FXX, Rogers owns City. In addition to 17 returning series, City has added two new dramas (Scorpion and Backstrom), one new comedy (Black-ish) and one reality program (Utopia) to its 2014-15 lineup.

The big change, of course, is the addition of the NHL, which will take up both Saturday and Sunday nights on City, although Revenge still is scheduled to air in simulcast with ABC on Sundays, following a hockey game. Sunday is the only night of the week that City has anything other that reruns scheduled in the 10 p.m. hour.

Rogers confirmed its NHL play-by-play team will consist of Jim Hughson, Dave Randorf, Paul Romanuk and Bob Cole, which also could constitute the worst season of The Bachelorette ever.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv


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