Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
When it comes to interviewing people for television and/or film, you won’t find a more pleasant and genuine soul than Kevin Durand. He always so eager to hear what people think of his work. Whether it’s good or bad, he deeply cares.
Fresh Fiction had nothing but great things to talk to him about when it came to his character, Vasiliy Fet, on FX’s THE STRAIN. The once-solitary rat exterminator of Ukrainian descent has joined the war against the vampires and is undoubtedly kicking ass– so much even that he is the scene-stealer of the show.
There are just four episodes left left of this season, and THE STRAIN is aiming to drop their teeth deeper into audiences as we reach the end. The truth is, however, Durand and Co. are doing a damn good job of that.
As you tune in for tonight’s episode (The Assassin), see what Durand had to say about the inventiveness of the show and how last week’s episode left us shocked.
I read an interview with Carlton Cuse, where he said that while Season 2 follows the second book in this series, it’s about 80% inventive. Is there anything that you personally contributed to your character this season?
Kevin Durand: “Well, when you go from the books to the show, my idea of Vasiliy – when I was cast really early in the process – was that you can’t really play the journal writing. He writes all those journals throughout the second and third book. I wanted to instill that he has this joie de vivre, right? He someone who really enjoys the moment. The fact that he is thriving within this type of environment, when most people are dying or are terrified, he’s just getting stronger, more composed and confident. I just really wanted to play that. That’s definitely in the writing of the series as well, but it’s something that I really wanted to emphasize: his flourishing in the ‘vampocalypse.'”
One of the core ideas of the show that I’ve always admired is this idea of going into something and it not turning out how you expected, whether it was confronting The Master last season or trying to find a cure and fight the epidemic. As an actor, often times you don’t know what the show or film is going to end up being. Which project turned out the most different from what you ultimately thought it was going to be?
Durand: “Oh, man. That’s pretty much everything. When you read a script, you know, it’s your imagination. You’re reading those words through your own filter. You see the world as you do. So when you see it all on film it’s so different from what you imagined.
But which one was most different? I did this movie for David Cronenberg called COSMOPOLIS with Robert Pattinson. So much of that movie was a 360 green screen. I had no idea what anything was going to look like. I mean, I had read the book and the script, but everything was going to be created by artists in a lab [Laughs], you know? So when I actually sat down and watched it, it was so seamless. In my head, I’m thinking ‘I don’t remember shooting that.’ Huge green walls everywhere is all I remember. So it’s astounding to get to see that. You create a world in your head with your own imagination and then you get to see what kind of world another mind has created. It’s pretty brilliant.”
We saw Fet go from being this tough guy that we saw in Season 1 to seeing a little more of his softer side here in Season 2. Do you think his feelings will get in the way of his mission in the coming episodes?
Durand: “Well, that’s an interesting question. As an outsider looking in and the guy who plays him [Laughs], I wonder if it will. I’m a fan of the show as well. I think he has such common sense; I don’t think he would allow this explosion of emotion that he’s been feeling interfere with his abilities to survive or not, but I guess we’ll have to tune in and see.”
OK, so that worm scene last episode.
You must know that scene nearly gave every fan a heart attack. Was that intentional on the writer’s part?
Durand: “Yeah, we were shooting it, and we were like, let’s shoot it and let’s see what the fans think [Laughs]. It’s a really close call. Did he get infected? Did he not get infected? I’m really new to this whole social media thing, but I’m having a ball on Twitter. So many fans were tweeting me, asking if I had been infected or not. Well, hopefully he didn’t. I honestly watch the show with the fans when I’m not shooting, and I was kind of feeling the same thing. Like ‘Whoa! That was really close.’
I think there’s at no point in time while playing Fet am I getting comfortable with the idea that he’s going to make it to the point in the books because I really don’t know. That’s honestly a lot more excited to me. Knowing that I really have to just be in the moment and enjoy it as long as I possibly can cause I’m having such a blast on the show. I don’t know when I’m going to go — none of us do.”
What can you tease about what’s to come?
Durand: “Gosh, what can I tease? Well, as you saw with that last episode, that last episode itself could have been a finale and when I read it, I was like ‘oh my gosh, this is bigger than any of the episodes we did in the first season, where are they going to go from here?’ So if you take that as gauge of where we’re heading, it just keeps getting bigger. The fireworks keep getting much more explosive. Our mission just continues to get more and more complicated. I don’t want to give away what happens [Laughs].
Watch out for the worms.
Durand: “Yeah, I know! How close was that, huh? Yeah, I mean, it just keeps building to a point where no one is going to get up to go to the bathroom, including me!”
THE STRAIN airs tonight at 10 p.m. E/P.