TV Interview: Kevin Durand Turns His Buffy Up to 11 in ‘The Strain’

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Preston Barta // Critic

THE STRAIN "The Master" -- Episode 13 (Airs Sunday; October 5; 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Kevin Durand as Vasily Fet. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

THE STRAIN “The Master” — Episode 13 (Airs Sunday; October 5; 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Kevin Durand as Vasily Fet. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Kevin Durand, best known for his work in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009) and 3:10 TO YUMA (2007), plays Vasiliy Fet on FX’s THE STRAIN. Fet is a once-solitary rat exterminator of Ukrainian descent who joins the war against the vampires.

Steering into the season finale tonight, THE STRAIN aims to drop their teeth into audiences with their chilling conclusion. But before you tune in tonight, check out our interview that we did with Mr. Durand, who was kind enough to speak with us about his character and what audiences can expect tonight and as the show continues.

Hey, Kevin. How are you doing, man?

Kevin Durand: “I’m good. How you doing?”

I’m doing great, Joey. Thanks. [Both Laugh] But I really love the show, and I can’t wait for people to see the finale. It’s great.

Durand: “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

No problem. So, are you normally a horror fan, or a thriller fan of films or television?

Durand: “Oh, yes. Since I was a child, much to the chagrin of my father, my mother would keep me up and I would watch horror films with her since I was about four years old or five years old, so I’ve always been a fan. And they always say that you marry your mother, and my wife is the biggest horror fan ever, so I kind of experienced a rebirth in terms of my interest in the genre since I married Sandra four years ago. So when this opportunity came along we read the books. We were kind of like snickering and giggling like some little kids going, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be awesome.’”

[Laughs] What do you think the young, maybe 8-year-old Kevin would say about THE STRAIN? Do you think he would be inspired by it?

Durand: “I think that my 8-year-old self would be so inspired by it, so excited by it, and I really, truly think that he would love Vasiliy Fet. I think that I’d be like, well actually I still am to this day, I’m still like, ‘Man, when I grow up I hope I can be like Vasiliy Fet.’ Yes, I think that young Kevin would be really into it. Yes, indeed.”

Something that I noticed with your character, Fet, since he joined this group of characters is his limited interaction with some of the characters, other than Abraham Setrakian (great chemistry there) and Dutch Velders. Is there a particular character that with you as an actor or mayne think Fet as a character would want more time with?

Durand: “I love working with Corey Stoll. Whenever we got to do scenes together there was just a shorthand. I think we’re both kind of as journeyman actors we’ve both been around, both done a lot of work over the years, and I think there was just like a really nice understanding between us. So I look forward to getting to work with him a lot more. And also, I’m very, very impressed by Mía Maestro as well, and we haven’t had a whole lot of interactions yet, but I’m looking forward to more of those as well.”

Yes, I’m hoping to see more of all you guys in season two.

Durand: “Yes, yes. Hopefully I make it through Episode 13, and then I get to come back and we get to explore all this stuff.

THE STRAIN "The Master" -- Episode 13 (Airs Sunday; October 5; 10:00 pm e/p) -- Pictured: (L-R) Kevin Durand as Vasily Fet, Mia Maestro as Nora Martinez, David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian, Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders, Ben Hyland as Zack Goodweather, Corey Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

THE STRAIN “The Master” — Episode 13 (Airs Sunday; October 5; 10:00 pm e/p) — Pictured: (L-R) Kevin Durand as Vasily Fet, Mia Maestro as Nora Martinez, David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian, Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders, Ben Hyland as Zack Goodweather, Corey Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

In the first half of the season Fet is sort of unknown; he’s sort of stalking the streets as the solo hero. And then about halfway through, suddenly, you’re in this big group dynamic. What is it like going through that change as an actor?

Durand: “I really, really appreciated the opportunity to have the first half of the season to find Fet. I was really kind of exploring, trying to really feel him out, and by the time we got into the group dynamic I felt like I had a good hold on who he was. So when I started working with this group, who are all like such great actors and people that I genuinely fell in love with, became friends with, it was really rewarding to get to bounce ideas off of each other and move the narrative forward and find moments. Yes, it’s just really great to be a part of that group.”

And before I let you go, I got to ask about that scene in the tunnel in Episode 12. The one where you ha to crawl through that tiny hole or passage. That seemed like a hard scene to do. How were you able to do that?

Durand: “Well, you know what’s really funny about that is that they brought me in I think a week or two early and wanted to see if I could make it through that hole, because they knew that I was the biggest one in the group. So I came to work and I just shot through it really quickly, because I have way too much confidence in my athletic prowess. I was like, ‘Yes, look at that, big guy could do it really quick.’

I didn’t keep in mind, I didn’t do the math and realize that, ‘OK, well, Fet has this really thick, bulky jacket plus his knapsack.’ So I got to set and Mía just shot through that thing like a lightning bolt, and I was like, ‘Oh, I have to beat Mía’s time,’ in my head. I got in there and right from the start I could hardly move, and the panic on my face it was a real panic, like I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this. So it really happened, I really did almost get stuck. So it took a lot of me maneuvering muscles that I didn’t even know that I had just to move like half an inch forward. o, luckily I got out. I’m here right now still alive.

Yes. It scared the crap out of a lot of fans, though, I think.

Durand: “Well, how frickin’ scary was that vampire coming after me? [Laughs] I remember watching her go through that tunnel afterwards, and I mean I got chills, I got chills just watching the way that it was so subhuman; it was so like it was animal. It was really freaky. I’m glad that she didn’t bite me, thank goodness.”

I think all the fandom out there is very glad as well. [Laughs] Well, awesome, man. Thanks so much for talking with me today. I appreciate your time very much.

Durand: “Thanks, braugh. Thank you very much.”

The season one finale of THE STRAIN airs tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on FX.

About author

Preston Barta

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.