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Merlin's John Hurt Lands Role In FX's The Strain Pilot

The TV realm is already pretty well populated with vampires, but FX decided a few months back that the network has room for the deadly, parasitic kind, especially if famed producer and director Guillermo del Toro is involved. The cable channel signed on for del Toro’s pilot The Strain all the way back in September, getting casting underway earlier this spring. Now, Academy Award nominee and Merlin actor John Hurt has been added to The Strain’s cast.

The Strain is based on a set of books written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The story tells the tale of a vampiric disease that rapidly spreads across the country and the humans that are attempting to stop it. Instead of the coiffed and beautiful Anne Rice vampires that populate most of the world of television, it looks like FX’s pilot will be full of monsters, although Hurt doesn’t seem to be playing one of them.

Hurt’s been at the acting game for a long time. The man’s Academy Award nominations came all the way back in the late 1970s for The Elephant Man and Midnight Express. In the time since, the British actor has signed on for both television and film roles, most memorably playing Ollivander in the Harry Potter series and The Dragon in Merlin. Like his role as Ollivander, in The Strain pilot Hurt will play a shop owner and man with plenty of answers. According to an FX press release, Hurt will play Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor who runs a pawn shop in Spanish Harlem. As humanity begins fighting the plague, Abraham may be the one man who understands the mystery. Hurt is the ideal actor for the role, since del Toro has admitted it was written with the actor in mind.

"I am incredibly happy to be reunited with John, who is one of the greatest actors in the world and one of my favorite people ever. Chuck and I always visualized him while writing The Strain novels and he is absolutely perfect for the part!"

Hurt’s casting follows that House of Cards actor Corey Stoll, who is signed on to play series lead Dr. Goodweather, and Alias’ Mia Maestro, who is signed on to play Dr. Goodweather’s love interest. Additional cast members joining the series include Kevin Durand, Richard Sammel, Lauren Lee Smith, Jonathan Hyde and Miguel Gomez.

Del Toro and Hogan are writing the pilot, and the former is also attached to direct. Since FX hasn’t even seen a pilot, yet, it could be quite a while before we learn whether or not The Strain will be moving forward to series. However, with the horror element and del Toro attached, I’m sure I’m not the only one keeping my fingers crossed. We’ll keep you posted as The Strain moves forward in the pilot process.


Jessica Rawden
Jessica Rawden

Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.