The stakes are higher in FX’s second season of The Strain, so says Jonathan Hyde who plays Eldritch Palmer in the horror series based on the books by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro. Hyde’s character has been rejuvenated and is a major player in this new season airing on Sunday nights at 10pm ET/PT, and at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con he talked about season two.
“The crowds are massive now. Instead of a couple of vamps, you’ve got thousands. Instead of a few people desperately trying to battle them, you’ve got thousands fighting back so obviously the stakes are getting bigger as the virus spreads through the city and, indeed, probably through the world. I think the character developments are very curious as well. When you’re 86 and an angry trillionaire and you’re ill, there’s not a lot to do but just lie there and make more money,” explained Hyde. “Then to be restored to health where you’ve got strength and vigor, that changes everything.”
This second season is much more challenging for Hyde now that Eldritch is able to get out and about. “[He’s] more statesman-like, I think. A much more public face. I’ve always thought in the past that he was rather reluctant to be seen in public, reclusive almost,” said Hyde. “And now he’s got his confidence to do that, to talk to large groups of people – to help large groups of people.”
Richard Sammel, who plays Thomas Eichorst on The Strain, believes season two is even better than the show’s first. “The second season is kind of a very fresh freedom,” said Sammel during our roundtable interview at Comic Con. “I personally think that the second season is better than the first because it’s more solid. We have more faith in us. We know our characters. The writers far and away from just trusting that, they push the boundaries with their writing because they introduce completely new storylines that go sideways, meaning that they develop a lot of stories that are not in the books that keeps it sexy for those who’ve read the books. But they mingle very well with what’s written in the book so it’s not that what’s written in the books just stands where it is and we have a season that has nothing to do with the book. No. The book also is pushed but it’s mingled with those other conflicts. New characters, very important characters, are introduced – three, that I can think of now.”
Sammel’s surprised and impressed with each new script. “It’s like you climb up a tree and you see all the ways it could go. You have an overview of the potential of your character. But then every time [it] happens to me that it goes that way but it took the branch I’ve never seen and it goes elsewhere,” explained Sammel. “We are discovering the scripts and the destiny of our characters two weeks before we shoot the actual episode.”
As for discovering his character, is it possible Eichorst will be the new vessel for the Master? “Well, I’m a good vessel,” replied Sammel. He went on to explain how he views Eichorst’s position, saying, “I didn’t follow Hitler as a Nazi to become Hitler. I didn’t follow the Master in order to become the Master. I follow a strong father figure, a strong leader, because I believe in his dogma. So it makes me one of the best generals you can probably imagine, but then even if the Master decides, ‘I will be the Master. You, Eichorst, will be the Master.’ I would go with that. I would take it as a big distinction. I think I’m a very good vessel, a very appropriate vessel.”
Watch the full interviews with Jonathan Hyde and Richard Sammel on The Strain season two:
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