Natalie Brown in THE STRAIN - Sesaon 2 - "Identity" | ©2015 FX/Michael Gibson

Natalie Brown in THE STRAIN - Sesaon 2 - "Identity" | ©2015 FX/Michael Gibson

Carlton Cuse is one of those people who seems like he could use a clone. He’s not only executive producer and show runner on FX’s THE STRAIN, now in its second season and picked up for a third Sundays at 10 PM, but he’s also executive producer on USA’s upcoming science-fiction thriller COLONY and on Season 4 of A&E’s dark drama BATES MOTEL. We caught up with Cuse just after he had addressed the Television Critics Association press tour at a panel held by FX for THE STRAIN, the vampire apocalypse series developed by Cuse’s fellow executive producers Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan from their trilogy of novels.

ASSIGNMENT X: You’ve executive-produced multiple series at the same time before. Is the juggling act the same as it was when you were juggling different shows?

CARLTON CUSE: Yeah. I mean, I’m amazed by people like Shonda Rhimes, who are doing three network shows, which are twenty-two episodes each. I’m doing thirty-three total hours a year. It’s not unreasonable to do that. I had one year of network television where I did forty-six hours of television on CBS [NASH BRIDGES and MARTIAL LAW] – one was twenty-four hours and one was twenty-two hours. Right now, COLONY is shooting, STRAIN is really in the early stages of development for Season 3, we are doing writing on BATES MOTEL Season 4 – I work hard and I’ve got great partners and I love it.

AX: So far, THE STRAIN is staying pretty close to the novels. The third book has some metaphysical elements that are written as very literal. Is that going to be a challenge to create for television, or are you making those elements a little bit less literal?

CUSE: I think we have to make them a little bit less literal. Look, there’s a huge challenge in the last book, but I think if we pull it off, I’m hoping the last two seasons are really different than anything else on television, and that’s a fun challenge. I think what’s cool about the show is trying to do things that you’re just not seeing anywhere else, and I think this show is moving to a place that’s going to be vastly different than any show on television.

AX: There’s also a segment of the books set in space …

CUSE: The International Space Station?

AX: Yes. We haven’t seen that so far on the TV series. Is that still a part of the story?

CUSE: That is still a part of the ongoing plan. It won’t be introduced this season. But it will be in the show.

AX: How challenging is that going to be to accomplish, or with all of the digital technology now, is the International Space Station going to be a lot less difficult to make than a live vampire?

CUSE: I think that things are getting much easier to do, and again, that’s the challenge of making a show like this, is to try to press the boundaries. Let me amend that and say, we hope to do it, we are working on trying to figure out how to do it and I think that that’s what makes television exciting, is the ability to do things that you just never could have imagined being able to do. Even when I was doing LOST, I mean, there have been at least two generations of advancements in visual effects [since then] that allow people to do things on television that you never could have done as recently as five years ago.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about Season 2 of THE STRAIN?

CUSE: I think the narrative acceleration really picks up as the season goes along and I hope people will jump in. I think Season 2 is better, more full-bore, high-throttle, high-action, kickass and I think people will really enjoy it if they watch it.

Related: Exclusive interview with THE STRAIN star Mia Maestro

Related: Exclusive interview with THE STRAIN showrunner Carlton Cuse on Season 1

Related: Actor Corey Stoll on Season 1 of THE STRAIN

Related: THE STRAIN creator Guillermo del Toro on his new nasty vamp series

Related: TV Review: THE STRAIN – Season 1 – “Night Zero” – Series Premier

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Article: Exclusive interview with THE STRAIN executive producer Carlton Cuse on Season 2 and beyond

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