Before Corey Stoll was trading jabs – both physical and verbal – with Paul Rudd in this summer’s Ant-Man, he was trying to warn the citizens of New York about a life-threatening epidemic as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather in FX’s hit vampire drama The Strain.
Last week’s episode played host to a shocking moment which saw Eph take the life of another human, an event which will continue to haunt him throughout the rest of Season 2 – and perhaps even longer, as The Strain was recently renewed for a third season. Earlier this week in a conference call with journalists, we had an opportunity to ask Corey Stoll about the upcoming changes in Eph’s attitude. Check it out below.
Did Eph make a conscious decision to kill his former boss in the last episode?
No, he didn’t. Before [Eph] knew what was happening, he had killed him. Now, it was probably in his best interest to kill him, but this is still obviously a very big deal. It’s his first human kill. But no, he did not intend to kill him.
Now that Eph has crossed that line, do you think that will open the door to a darker side of his personality?
Yeah, I think you can say that. The first time he killed anybody intentionally he was being attacked, and that was sort of purely defensive. As the first season went on, he became more used to killing, to the point where he doesn’t really sort of flinch killing people who are completely turned.
Then he crossed the line again at the beginning of this season, experimenting on freshly turned people and then this is another one. We sort of keep pushing him past these lines that he never thought he would cross. But yeah, definitely from that point on to the rest of the season, he is in a different place, morally.
I think it’s really both. I think obviously it’s personal, now that Kelly has turned and is actively trying to turn Zach, but I think his personality is such that he’s won at pretty much everything in his life, until now. Now he’s in a situation where he’s lost more in the last week than he has in his entire life. He’s always been a very alpha guy and very type A. He’s been knocked down numerous pegs and is admitting such, but he still can’t let go on either front. So it’s personal, but it’s also professional.
The majority of the roles you’ve played have been more reality based, so how is the experience different when you’re working with Guillermo del Toro in this sort of world?
it’s an interesting challenge. Carlton [Cuse] and I, at the beginning of Season 2, felt the need to sort of adjust a little bit, because so much of the show is aboutthe tone and the look and the style and the feel of it, which is unique. There are other vampire shows and other vampire movies out there, but Guillermo brings something unique, and so trying to find that right balance to sort of be in the same show.
I think it’s a pretty good challenge with this show where the stakes are incredibly high but it’s not the same world that we live in, and there’s also a real, sort of a wicked sense of humor that runs throughout the whole thing. I think in this season there’s a lot of conversations between Carlton and myself about how to have me participate in that sense of humor because I think the danger is often to sort of fall into melodrama. It’s sort of about being in that same world where these stakes are incredibly high, but you have to sort of keep one part of your tongue in your cheek a little bit.
At Comic-Con, you said that this season would be more focused on the relationship between Eph and Zach. With the recasting of Zach, was it difficult for you to establish that relationship, since you didn’t have the first season’s material to draw from?
The material was so different from Season 1 to Season 2 in terms of the types of scenes that I had. It would almost be a whole new sort of relationship, even with the same actor. I think maybe that had something to do with the recasting, with a sense that this character was going in a very different direction from where he had been in the first season.
So, just the very nature of the scenes are so different. In the first season, Zach was really an object really in the fight between Kelly and Eph. Here in this season, he’s much more willful and self-governed.
After doing Ant-Man, do you find that you’re begin recognized in public more often?
You know, I have not noticed a big difference. I was pretty recognizable before and was stopped pretty often. The one thing that I was sort of bracing myself for was that children would be stopping me, and that would sort of be another level of intensity, but I think children don’t quite expect to see people from movies walking around.
I remember growing up, my elementary school was on the same block as Christopher Reeve’s apartment. I remember very vividly seeing him walking down the street and everybody is just going crazy that there was Superman. Then occasionally he would have like a disguise he would put on, he had glasses and I think he even put on a fake beard or something because you know, Superman living on the same block as an elementary school could be a real problem. So I was sort of expecting the worst, but that doesn’t seem to be my problem.
You also have a supporting role in Black Mass, which opens next month. Have you had a chance to see a finished cut?
Yeah, I’ve seen it and it’s great. It’s an incredibly complex story to tell, with a lot of characters and a complicated idea of what the power structures are within the Mob and within the FBI and Justice Department. It’s very elegantly told, I think, and the performances across the board are really fine. I’m really proud to have my small part in it.
The Strain airs Sunday nights at 10pm, exclusively on FX.