Mia Maestro talks about starring on The Strain and combining acting with singing. The Strain can be seen on Sunday nights at 10pm on FX. The new series can be seen on Watch in United Kingdom from Wednesday, August 26th at 10pm.
What’s in store for Nora in season two?
After the death of her mother in season one, her whole perspective has changed so she’s ready to tackle the virus in a very different way. She still keeps her humanity and feminist vision of keeping compassionate but at the same time she becomes much more of a fighter. She and Eph try to find a way to tackle the virus from the inside, being the doctors that they are.
Do you do a lot of the actual fighting?
Yes there’s a lot of physicality and we don’t have a lot of training. Many of the cast have done a lot of stunts before - I did a TV show called Alias for a long time and Corey has done a lot of training too. I also studied dance movement too, which comes in handy with the choreography. Most of the vampires are dancers so the aesthetic of how they move is quite unique. I think that’s what Guillermo del Toro wanted.
How are things between Nora and Eph?
The relationship between them has not always been clear and when the vampire invasion happens they’re figuring out how they feel about each. But then in season two Eph goes back to drinking as he’s a recovering alcoholic, so she has to decide if she can really trust him or prefer to separate herself from the whole situation. But they do have an enormous amount of admiration as co-workers and work really well together.
What’s been your most surreal day at work?
Filming in minus 38 - Celsius weather at night is pretty intense! It’s been hard shooting outdoors with the cold. But there have been some great moments, especially the first episodes after the long hiatus and you’re like, we’re really doing this and it’s awesome. Also the recognition that people love it - we have a really good group of fans, so you feel a responsibility to do your best.
How much is Guillermo del Toro on set?
He’s very much involved with the scripts and postproduction and the look of the creatures. From time to time he comes to the set and because he lives here in Toronto, I’ve seen Guillermo more socially – we go for dinner after work. He gave us really specific notes on our characters, which really helped. It’s so amazing to be working with one of the most incredible directors in the world.
Do the cast spend time together off camera?
A little bit. This iesies has been like coming back to a big family. I didn’t know any of the actors before so it’s just really nice we get on so well. Most of us aren’t from Toronto and have left our families behind so we just have each other, which is a great bonding experience.
You recently released your debut album, how do you combine singing with acting?
During the hiatus I sang live in Los Angeles and New York, and also sang one of my songs in the last episode of the first season of The Strain. Jonathan Hyde’s (who plays Eldritch Palmer) wife Isabelle is a wonderful opera singer so I take singing lessons with her during filming. I released my album in April, which was produced wonderful Icelandic producer Valvier Sigoritzen who’s worked with Bjork, and I wrote a couple of songs with Damien Rice on the record as well who’s a good friend.
Does The Strain feel like a big budget season?
It’s pretty big. The budget is so much more than any independent movie I’ve done in Argentina! Motorcycle Diaries had a little bit of a budget but I’ve done some which didn’t have much of a budget at all so The Strain feels like a very luxurious TV show. The set and locations are beautiful, which is really inspiring for us to be acting in as you get in to character really quickly.
Courtesy of Watch