Exclusive: Kevin Durand on His Satisfaction with the Finale of The Strain

Kevin DurandTonight FX airs the penultimate episode of The Strain, titled "The Traitor." In the episode, an unanticipated guest threatens to divide our heroes. After gaining some unconfirmed information, they proceed in their plans to attack the Master (Johnathan Hyde).

Recently Kevin Duran, who stars as rat exterminator turned vampire fighter, Vasiliy Fet, spoke with SciFi Vision about his role and the end of the series.

SCIFI VISION: Can you talk about filming the last scene with Setrakian (David Bradley); it was very emotional.

Kevin DurandKEVIN DURAND: Tell me about it. [laughs] I mean, it was what it looked like. We were all just kind of feeling the fact that it was all wrapping up. And saying goodbye to Setrakian, it wasn't very hard to summon up tears, I'll tell you that.

We had just such a tremendous time over the last four years getting to work with David. He's such a legend; he's the guy that shows up to set and his energy just kind of filled up whatever set we were on. He's always smiling and always ready to take on the task of the day in the most gracious way that he could. So we all just got in line and followed through.

So, to say goodbye to him was really sad, [laughs] but saying goodbye to David was harder than saying goodbye to Setrakian. They were probably right on par with each other, because not having him around on set, him going back to London and doing a million other projects that he's doing, it was a sad thing.

I definitely cried a good bit, so the scene was great. [laughs]

Good, good. We were trying to make you cry, so there you go.

There's a conversation in 4.09 about how people have changed because of what's happened, and they do things they otherwise never would have done. How much do you think the things Fet has done in the pursuit of killing the Master weighs on him, because he doesn't really share his emotions?

Well, he has a very strong compass to what is right and what is wrong, and, you know, some of the greatest villains in great stories - even villains in the world, I think that they're just setting out to do what they think is right. Fortunately for Fet, as we watch the story, I think that most of us are siding with what Fet and Setrakian and what our heroes are setting out to do.

But it always comes down to perspective. A lot of times people say to me, "Oh my God, your character in LOST, Martin Keamy, is the most evil guy I've ever seen," but in my head, I was playing something totally different. Carlton Cuse didn't even realize this, but in my head, if I didn't kill all those people in a certain amount of time, then my family was going to be killed. So, it all comes down to what side the story's being told from.

Kevin DurandSo, you're saying that he isn't really thinking about it that much. He knows what he is doing is right; it's not weighing on him heavily like it is some of the other characters?

No, because it's just like in Nazi Germany. If you're a Nazi sympathizer or collaborator, you're just as bad as a Nazi. So I don't think he really thinks twice about it. [laughs]

When I talked to you back in season one, you had talked about developing Fet from the books, but other than the books and the script, was there anything else you put into the character, like anybody who inspired you or anything like that?

Well, it was pretty much based off of the information that I had. He ended up being very different than Fet in the books, but that was because television is a totally different organism. Having the opportunity to read his journal, you can kind of see what he was like from the inside out, but because you're not going to show a giant Ukrainian Brooklyn night rat catcher journaling, [laughs] I wanted to, you know, show emotions; I wanted to show the fact that he was blossoming in the apocalypse. That was my big thing that I wanted to accomplish with the show, that he's not like all [the others], and he's actually kind of excited by who he's becoming, because his knowledge and his set of skills are elevating his level of importance in this society. And I think he feels really good about it.

So, I mostly built off of that. I really loved kind of finding his voice and the way he moved. All of that stuff was like hints that I got from the book and the scripts and conversations with Guillermo [del Toro] and Carlton.

Why? Are you seeing something different?

No, I was just curious. I haven't read the books, so I don't know exactly what he was like, so I just wondered.

Is there anything else that you can think of that you added to the character or ad-libbed, something that came from you that was changed? Any lines, or anything like that, off the top of your head?

Well, when it was just scenes between David Bradley and I, we would sometimes, depending on the director, just riff, and sometimes that stuff would make it in, but very little of it. But it was definitely the chemistry that we had. Every once in awhile we’d add in a little thing that might make it or not. Mostly it didn't make it. Most of our stuff made it on the blooper reel, so we’re proud about that. [laughs]

Kevin DurandBut I think the thing I might have added that’s different from the books and the scripts, is just that sense of excitement, that sense of him blossoming in a positive step. I really wanted to add that to the character, and I’m so glad that Guillermo and Carlton and everybody let me keep it, because it kind of provided - at times because the show is so dark in dealing with such dismal stuff, that to have someone’s going, "Hey, I’m feeling good about this! Are you guys okay?" [laughs] It was kind of nice to be able to play that.

You talked about how they veered off from the books and everything, so is there something you can think of in particular, that when you read the script you were really surprised by, like a certain direction or anything you can think of like that?

Well, the direction of the show, from the very beginning, just took on a totally new vibe. For instance with the characters’ lives. Like Eichorst, he died very early in the story in the books, but Richard Sammel was so awesome [laughs] that his character kept growing and kept creeping us out every week.

And Dutch didn’t exist in the books, and she came in and she was a wonderful surprise. Ruta [Gedmintas] came in and just killed it.

And even Fet, to a certain degree, took a lot more weight in the narrative than I had thought he would.

They surprised us week to week, because you have to stretch three books into forty-six episodes. They really got to extrapolate on elements of the story that they found interesting. So, we were always surprised by the scripts, and the changes and the additions, and where they decided to put emphasis. It was always such a pleasure to get those scripts.

Is there anything that you took from the set as a souvenir?

Yes. In episode eight, I'm handed the Master's cane that the professor (Bradley) has been using as his primary weapon. I got to take one of them home, which is a prized possession. That will be hanging over the mantle.

What will you miss the most?

I miss them; I miss all the cast. We had a wonderful time for four years. I especially miss hanging out with David Bradley, but I didn’t get to hang out with him much in the last season. I was always just kind of waiting for him to get into town. [laughs] We’d have a drink and shoot the shit, but, I mean, I loved everybody on the show.

Everybody just had such a great attitude. There was really no ego on set; it was just everybody showing up and doing the best job that they could, and everybody was grateful for the opportunity.

Kevin DurandI just miss everybody. It was a great little family that we had going on back there.

I received some fan questions, and somebody asked about you guys coping with the really cold weather in Toronto. How was that?

It was actually pretty mild this winter, but I’m from twenty hours north of Toronto, that’s where I was born and raised. It can get a hell of a lot colder in Thunder Bay than it is in Toronto, so I never had any issues with the cold.

The first few seasons it was record-breaking cold, and a lot of our actors were really suffering the wrath of Mother Nature, but I always kind of loved the cold. [laughs] I love playing in the cold.

I don't know if you can even tell me this, but maybe you can tease something. Are we going to see Charlotte (Rhona Mitra) at all before the end of the series. Is that a possibility?

You know, I don't think I should even comment on that.

Did you like her?

Yeah, although I liked Fet with Dutch originally too, but things have obviously changed between them. [laughs]

Okay cool. I mean, it's funny, because there was a moment there where for half a second, Fet was like, "Should I just go to that cabin and just forget all of this killing and murder?" but as we spoke about, his moral compass is so much stronger than his love compass. [laughs] So, he decided that he needed to do what needed to be done. Whether he ends up in that cabin at the end or ends up with Dutch, or he ends up just on his own, or he ends up dead before we get to the end, you'll all have to wait and see! [laughs]

[laughs] I hope he gets to the cabin eventually, that would be nice.

So you're hoping for him and the cabin with Charlotte?

Kevin DurandYeah, I think so. Like I said, I did like him with Dutch at the beginning, but I guess maybe partially because this is more recent, but also, he seemed to me to be able to see he had a possibility of being happy with Charlotte and that he could settle down, which with Dutch I don't think I saw that quite the same. [laughs]

Right. Yeah, cool. Thank you.


Is there anything that you’re allowed to tease about the finale?

The only thing I can say, is that literally, the way it wraps up - and I told Carlton and Chuck [Hogan] this - as someone who's on the show, I was always excited to get to read the scripts and see how it wrapped up, but as a fan of the show, I was really satisfied by the way it all wrapped up. We did veer off from the books, from the source material, quite a bit, but it still always kind of remains true to the tone of the books, and, I don’t know, I just felt really satisfied. I hope all the fans feel the same, and I have a sneaking suspicion that they will.

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