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'The Strain' interview: You'll never guess what the Master binge-watches

On Saturday, we caught up with Robert Maillet (The Strain, 300, Pacific Rim, Sherlock Holmes) at Indianapolis’ HorrorHound Weekend, an annual convention that allows horror fans to get close and personal with some of their favorite genre actors. Maillet currently portrays the Master, an ancient vampire and the show’s Big Bad, on FX’s hit new series The Strain. He sat down to dish about his character’s big reveal, the brilliance of Guillermo del Toro (executive producer) and what he thinks the Master does to help him sleep at night.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY COMMUNITY: The Strain has been a colossal hit for FX. Have you been surprised by the show’s success?

ROBERT MAILLET: Yes and no. It’s new for me, being a part of a series. The books by Guillermo del Toro were amazing, so I knew it was going to transcend well into the series because they honored the books so well. They spent so much time to make the series unique and special.

You also worked with Guillermo Del Toro on Pacific Rim. He’s known for putting a dark and twisted spin on his projects. What is it like working with him?

First of all, he’s a very nice, very funny man. He has an amazing imagination. When he starts to talk, you just want to shut up and listen to him because it’s fascinating when he talks about his world he creates. He does everything. He’s involved in the art, the special effects, and he’s hands-on with everything in the film department. He’s a genius. This is 20 years of research from Guillermo. He’s been fascinated by the whole vampire mythology from around the world, and he just made his own.

Leslie Hope as Joan

Leslie Hope as Joan (image: FX Networks)

Vampires in pop culture are all the rage these days, but what do you think about the new “horror and gore” spin The Strain is putting on them?

My family, they love the sparkly vampires. They love The Vampire Diaries and the Twilight series. There’s a reason for that, and it’s very popular—and that’s fine—but we’ve given a different alternative to vampires. They can be very scary and terrifying. These vampires are not cute and sparkly; they’re disgusting.

Very disgusting. Joan is quite possibly the most horrifying-looking vampire we’ve ever seen.

They did great with her. She terrified me. It was the first time I saw her in makeup on the episode, and I thought, “Wow. [Leslie Hope] did a great job.” The people involved in creature effects are amazing people.

Let’s talk about the Master. We finally get to see his face at the end of the most recent episode, “The Disappeared.” It looks like a lot went into transforming you into that character.

Yes. The first time I saw the concept art, I thought, “This kind of looks like me, but it’s not. This looks like the Master.” There’s a lot of homage paid to Nosferatu, the remake. The detail in the makeup process is fascinating, especially the gullet I have to wear. I also have to wear 3- to 4-inch platform shoes in costume to become a full 7 feet tall. They used Roberto Campanella (choreographer) as the Master for certain scenes when the Master’s body needed to be contorted or fit into smaller spaces. Roberto taught me a lot and helped me to move as the Master, as a vampire. That really helped me to get into the character as well.

Later in the series, will we learn more about the Master’s origins?

You’ll find out a little bit about him, of course, but they won’t give too much away this season. You’ll eventually find out what he’s doing here.

What was the meaning of the Master giving Thomas his worm in the last episode? Was it a promotion of sorts? 

I can say that I think there’s a reason why the Master chooses people. Thomas can organize people.

Robert Maillet channeling the Master at HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis

Robert Maillet channeling the Master at HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis

We rarely get to see The Master. What would you like to think he’s doing in all his spare time? Playing Risk with Thomas in the sewers?

He’s probably watching reality shows, and it makes him feel better about taking over the world.

Do you think Thomas got him all set with a WiFi password for his laptop so he can watch Netflix?

[The Master] has his own WiFi. He has his minions and he sees through them. That’s his WiFi.

You should pitch this idea to Guillermo. I think he’ll go for it.

Oh, I think he will. He loves that stuff.

The Entertainment Weekly Community is all about fandom. Are you, or were you ever, a super-fan of any TV series or movie franchise?

I used to love Conan the Barbarian. He doesn’t have superpowers, but he’s powerful. His mind is cunning. I always found that character fascinating. I used to watch a lot of Star Trek and I used to be a fan of Space: 1999. And I love Bond—the James Bond movies. I grew up watching them, so it would be a dream to be a part of a film like that.

The Strain has already garnered its own group of superfans, as evidenced by the eager fans that swarmed Maillet’s booth at HorrorHound, hoping for a picture with the Master himself. We can’t wait to see what the ancient vampire has in store for the people of New York City next!

The Strain airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on FX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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