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By Suzanne

Sean Astin in The Strain

Interview with Sean Astin of "The Strain" on FX 9/2/14

I missed this call (I had the wrong day written down), and I'm still kicking myself! He's an awesome actor and does a great job on any show or movie he's in.

Final Transcript
FX NETWORK: Strain
September 2, 2014/10:00 PDT

SPEAKERS
Tom Ruffner
Sean Astin

PRESENTATION

Moderator Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by and welcome to The Strain conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. (Operator instructions.) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Mr. Tom Ruffner. Please go ahead.

Tom Hello and welcome to The Strain conference call with series star Sean Astin. Iíd like to thank everyone for joining us today and remind you that this call is for print purposes only. No audio may be used. The Strain airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on FX, and as always we respectfully request that you do not post spoilers pre-air to help protect our viewing experience for our audience.

Due to the fact that there are so many journalists joining us today, we ask that you limit yourself to one question and a quick follow-up and then go back into queue for any additional questions you may have.

With that said, letís go ahead and take our first question. Iíll turn it back over to you, Don.

Moderator (Operator instructions.) And the first question comes from the line of Earl Dittman of Digital Journal.

Earl Good morning, Sean.

Sean Good morning, Earl, how are you doing?

Earl Doing great. I have to say first off you are fantastic in this brilliant series and itís just wonderful to watch every week.

Sean Thanks, man.

Earl Youíre no stranger to television. Youíve done 24, things like that and feature films, of course the iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy. How has The Strain been different for you as a actor, in any ways?

Sean First of all working with Guillermo is a unique experience for most people who are working on these shows, I would say one of the most exciting things about it is spending time with Guillermo. Heís just so full of life and creativity and his imagination and you always feel like heís both incredibly well prepared and in the moment and able to be spontaneous, so thatís pretty great. And then I have not in my life been a vampire guy really except when I was 16 and I worked in a movie theatre where my friend Corey Feldmanís movie The Lost Boys premiered. That was probably the height of my vampire interest. I sort of missed the rest of the wave of Vampire Diaries and all the way through to the recent Twilight and everything else, so being like learning vampire lore was pretty cool for me, particularly in Guillermoísóthe cosmology of vampires in Guillermoís mind is really cool.

Earl Yes, yes, and a quick follow-up, as Jim, we donít hate him; we donít love him. We understand heís empathetic. What do you think about him in a couple sentences?

Sean Jim is basically a morally compromised guy and I think he has the occasional quips that he has, comedic quips reveals some kind of personality that it might be fun to interact with, but his wife is suffering and so heís a compromised guy basically the way I see him.

Earl Again, thanks for your time and thanks for your great work, I love the series and you.

Sean Thank you so much, Earl.

Earl I appreciate it.

Moderator And the next question comes from the line of Hal Boedecker from Orlando Sentinel. Please go ahead.

Hal Thank you, Sean. Congratulations. What does it mean to be part of this series?

Sean Since being in Lord of the Rings this wave, this pop cultural wave of franchise inclusion has swept the globe where peopleóthese comic book franchises, bestselling book franchises, television reboot franchises, they just come in big waves and itís almost like being in one particular movie or one particular show isnít enough anymore. So the fact that Guillermo and Carlton Cuse came along with this new incarnation of a vampire world meant a new franchise and so I feel Iím grateful that Guillermo reached out and swept me up in it. When you go to Comic Con, you have a team.

Hal I also wondered especially the convenience store episode is so memorable. Can you talk about the challenges of filming that?

Sean Yes, it aired last night, so you guys are the ones who are responsible not to do any spoilers, but I donít think itís a spoiler now. Ironically the biggest challenge of it was how cold it was. Toronto suffered really the coldest winter in most of the crew membersí memory and itís one thing to sit here in a 75ļ day in Los Angeles and talk about cold weather, but it was bitter cold. So you look outside at these vampires who were in their post mortem makeup and you just figured that it wasnít too far off from where theyíre going to be if they had to stand outside any longer. But the emotions of it, I was told in my very first meeting with Guillermo and Carlton that this character from the books, who didnít last that long in the books, wasnít going to last very long in the series, so they invited me to be a part of this show knowing full well that in episode eight my character is going to get killed off. So there is a little bit of the gallows anticipation that comes knowing weíre in episode five; itís only a few episodes away now before I get to say good-bye to all my new friends.

And then when you find yourself actually in the convenience store doing the work, there is an emotional responsibility that you have to the relationship between the characters. And so blocking the scene where Eph and Nora discover that heís been fully infected, it was really kind of cool the first bit where they use the UV ray to see the worm in my face and they go and lay me down and do this sort of butcher surgery or field dressing surgery, that was all kind of cool and relatively straight forward, relatively easy.

But then when we got into blocking, Jim discovers that itís all through my back and then I realize that the only thing to do is for them to kill me and Iím saying I donít want to turn out like the rest of them and I donít want go after my parents and asking Setrakian to basically explain what that is with these vampires go to the ones closest to them. It was pretty powerful emotionally and everybody had this feeling that it was exciting to be doing maybe one of the first big deaths of the show. I guess there had been others, but for me it was the big death because it was me.

And this dual feeling that the showóthe characters move on and the show moves on and that was definitely a dynamic, unlike 24 where I never knew from one week to the next what was going to happen and I open the script or sitting in the makeup bus for episode whatever it was 13 and my character has this spectacular Sentox nerve gas death. So youíre like itís sort of shocking, but you know anything can happen on that show and that is a very heroic death.

This one, Jimís redemption is kind of petty redemption. HeísóI think the first one to plug in the UV ray lights and is what I think is a kind of for me itís iconic where I come out of the convenience store and Iím the first one to extend my arm with the thing and burn one of the vamps with this UV light; and then of course everybody does it because Jim did it. But that feeling is yes, I donít know; it was cool. I was at Disneyland with my wife and kids. I had run a marathon, this Disney half marathon weekend, so we did a 10K on Tuesday and a half marathon.

So Iím walking around and my legs are sore and the kids are having a ball and I realized the episode is airing right now. I hadnít really been paying any attention to my phone for three days, but weíre sitting on the train going through Fantasy Land and Iím looking at seeing all these messages saying all right, Jim, weíre going to miss you buddy. It was a sad way for you to have to go, Jim, but we tried to have fun with it. What are you going to do?

Hal Congratulations, it was great.

Sean Thanks.

Moderator Thank you and the next question comes from the line of Mike Hughes for TV America. Please go ahead.

Mike You know what I found really interesting was when you said that you were 16 and you were working in a movie theatre because back then you had already been a successful actor. How did you end up then working in a movie theatre and whatís it like to be a guy whoís an actor working in a movie theatre watching other people act?

Sean Itís funny I was looking online right before I got on the conference call and there was this article about celebrities who live below their means or something, modest celebrities; and it talked about how Leonardo DiCaprio occasionally takes a commercial flight. When I was 16 my mom and I, I had a car for a little bit and then she wanted or needed the car back, so I basically was doing summer school and night school. I really wanted to graduate with a better GPA than I had earned throughout the rest of my high school year and I would take the bus into Westwood from my dadís place in west LA. I just worked in a movie theatre. I worked at the Bruin and Mr. Francis was my manager. I started by taking tickets at the door.

The fun story I have is with my buddy Corey. It was his movie. It was the first I guess I worked a couple of days on, it was like the end of Supermanís run. I canít remember what it was, but anyhow and then it comes in and thereís the big premiere and Corey walks in and Iím wearing my blue blazer with my gray pants and my name tag. I used my middle name and Patrick is my middle name. I used my middle name and all the actors are standing by the concession stand and Mr. Francis, who is I donít know 147 at that point heís since passed away and heís just a known guy; heís a known figureócharacter personality and he said ďSean, you got to go pick up that popcorn.Ē I grabbed the broom and dust pan and I walked over. I was like ďExcuse me, Corey,Ē and he looked and he saw me and heís like, ďSean, what happened?Ē

I worked my way up through the ranks. It took all summer, but by the end of it, I was making bank drops from the box office and I cleaned the butter maker and it was fun. I remember my mom sort of being shocked that I would do that job, but I liked it. And that couple hundred buck check meant more to me than the $10,000 check that I got when I was eight because that $10,000 check went into an account that I didnít see till I was 18 and now I was 16 and I could go spend that money. I donít know. I count that as one of the good experiences for me.

Mike Thatís great. Thanks a lot.

Moderator Thank you. And the next question is from the line of Brent Hankins from Nerd Repository. Please go ahead.

Brent Good morning, Sean, howís it going?

Sean Good. Good morning.

Brent I really liked Jimís arc on this season. I know going from the pilot where they set him up and you think heís just a bad guy. Then as the season progresses, you see Sylvia and you see his motivation and it peels back this whole other layer of the character. I think that makes Jim one of the more relatable characters on the show because thereís this human element to this struggleóobviously he loves his family very much and would do anything for them. I think that gives just a whole deeper meaning to that character. What was it about Jim for you as an actor that really made you want to invest in that role?

Sean I didnít really care. Guillermo wanted me to do it, so I wanted to do it. And then the idea for me was figure out what it was that he saw in me that he wanted me to do it. I think you could take a wide range of actors and put them in that part and it would be a Rorschach test of who that actor is. I think what he liked is that as Samwise Gamgee Iím known for being a friend and loyal and likable, a nice guy; and I think he liked the juxtaposition of somebody doing something morally questionable or wrong, who is likeable at the same time that it would makeólike you said itíll be interesting for people to have to wrestle themselves with it.

There are all these apocalyptic franchises now and the question becomes how accessible, he used the word accessibleóhow, he used the word relatable, but how authentic if you can really feel like what would it be like if I was in that situation, if the power went out or if the grid went out or if thereís some terrorist event or some plague, the bubonic plague is around now, Ebola or whatever. So if youíre going to use a vampire story as a metaphor for that, you want to find ways into it that feel natural.

So, what I came to like about Jim, was the way that he wanted even though he did the wrong thing, he really wanted to be of service as a CDC guy, as an aide to Eph. He wanted to help and so I liked leaning into that. Then during the autopsy scene and during this scene in the eighth episode and a few other times, something will happen and he just sort of says what everyone else is thinking in a basic way. I think that made him even more entertaining in moments for folks.

Brent You spoke about making it feel authentic. I think one of the most authentic things was his desire for not only redemption, because you called it earlier you said ďpetty redemption,Ē but he wanted so bad to be forgiven by Eph and by Nora and itís sad that just as he kind of got almost to that point, we had to say good-bye to him.

Sean Yes, itís a study on human nature because Eph is reluctantlyóNora is sympathetic to him the whole time it seems like to me. Her compassion meter has a little more sensitively, but Eph finally kind of relaxes his anger towards Jim for a little bit as Jim has acquitted himself in battle really in the moment right before that. But then itís Jimís mortality that really provokes Ephís empathy and he doesnít want a patient to die, but he doesnít want his friend to die. You can see it. He says at one point heís my friend and that as an audience member watching it, I really like that. I really like that he showed something of himself and how he really felt. He would never have been that mad at Jim if he didnít like him, because thatís what betrayal is. Otherwise itís just villainy.

Brent We think it was great and Iím going to miss you on the show.

Sean Thanks.

Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the line of Jasmin Alyce from FanBolt. Please go ahead.

Jasmin Hello, Sean, thanks so much for taking the call today. I wanted to know what is one of your most fun experiences coming from the set and one of your funniest memories? Because the show is dark, how do you guys keep it light?

Sean First there are lots of things that come to mind, but I always hit this. People donít seem to remember, they donít seem to talk about it very much. It was really, really, really cold. Itís a vampire show. Vampires youíre not supposed to be able to see their breath. It was a challenge I think for the effects people to do it how cold it was when thereís outdoor stuff and the vampires. But no, there was a moment where Corey came in on his phone playing this video game, the fighter pilot video game, so I downloaded it and the two of us with our phones or iPad miniís in between dissecting vampires and bludgeoning the turned captain in the head with a fire extinguisher we were competing, frankly I was no match. Even over the holiday break when I had some time to practice, I showed back up and Corey was just an absolute, he absolutely dominated the game, so that was one fun thing.

And then frankly it was fun coming to work and seeing the different things that they had put together. I keep going back to the autopsy because I donít think anything like it has ever been shown on television, a vampire autopsy. And they spent so muchóit was such an expensive and intricate, I donít know, was it a prop or special effect. Weíve been working with this actor and now we were dealing with his absolutely lifelike like corpse. It was really disturbing.

Another day we had when weíre at the airport hanger set and we come around, everybody had been filming for a few hours and they were on lunch break or something and my part started late, so I come in and I walk around and thereís nobody there, but a sea of 300 body bags all stuffed with dead bodies with the morning dew, theyíd been filming all night long, over it. The lights reflecting off of it and it was really, really creepy and haunting and arrestingóyou pick the word and thatís the kind of stuff youíd get.

Jasmin Right. Thank you very much.

Sean Thank you.

Moderator The next question comes from the line of Mary Powers from TVGoodness.com. Please go ahead.

Mary Hello. After I went through my initial stages of grief after watching the episode this past Sunday, I went back and rewatched and one of the things I noticed was that Setrakian I donít think severed Jimís head. Now I donít know how the disease works, but the question is are you quote ďmaybe aliveĒ? Will we possibly have an opportunity to see a vamped out Jim or was that actually the end, period?

Sean Iím pretty sure that Fet killed Jim properly.

Mary Okay, okay.

Sean He established, I think even in that episode, Setrakian reestablished that severing the head is one thing or injuring hisóhe goes into some description about how hitting certain bone things can hurt them this way and that way, but I think theyíve gone outside and shot them a lot. Eph and Nora are each shooting guns and killing them and Nora says heís still coming and itís like you got to shoot them in the head, so I donít know how many times he pulled the trigger, but it felt like at least four or five at point blank range. I think Jim, Iím sorry to relate that Jim isóI appreciate the mourning. I feel close to Jim. My favorite thing was people with the hash tag RIPJIM. I kind of wanted to get that blown up and put that on the office wall.

Mary Now what about Jimís wife, Sylvia Kent, will we see her again? They just kind of left that storyline in some sense hanging.

Sean The vampire says to me in the train station that now my wife is consigned to die with the rest of something or other, so itís kind of a general comment and I suppose that that could mean whatever the normal course of cancer is can take place or as the plague sweeps the world, she doesnít have any protection from it, but anything can happen. Jim could have an evil brother who wants to come and anything can happen, but I think in terms of the way the story is giving itself to the audience, I kind of think the Jim and Sylvia of it all has moved on.

Mary Okay. Weíll miss you and thank you.

Sean Thank you so much. I was surprised to see you doing an interview question because the word geek or nerd didnít appear in the title of your blog.

Moderator Thank you. And then next question comes from the line of Preston Barta from Fresh Fiction. Please go ahead.

Preston Hello, Sean, thanks for taking the call today. Iím curious since youíve been a part of a few horror affiliated projects like The Strain and Cabin Fever, do you have the capacity to be scared of your own projects?

Sean When you say of my own projects, it kind of makes me think that you mean of the final product and when I watch it on television.

Preston Yes, thatís exactly what I mean.

Sean I donít know. Iím sure I do. It just depends on when you see it. If you see it at the premiere maybe itís fun to get really into it, but then youíre aware of like the cameras outside. I think there are definitely moments beyond the first run of a show when you discover something late at night or if you find some reason to watch your things. Mostly with the horror things, I find myself thinking, man, thatís cool. Like yes, I did that and if somebody else is really scared and I was never like this as a kid. I never liked the idea of watching horror movies. I always thought it was fine for people to do them, but the idea that filmmakers would say they really in a kind of amoral way like to terrorize people and see people scared and make them jump. They love that feeling of like laughing when they could make people scared and I never really liked that idea.

But now that Iíve done it a little bit, I definitely am more connected to the idea that if you do something well, if you really commit like in Cabin Fever to the idea of this horrible disease and of your role in it and the malevolence of it and if somebody responds to it, I donít know. I get the attraction now, so I think thatís a cousin of retaining the ability to be scared by something Iíve been in, but Iím not sure. Iím more scared in the moment that we do it because I try and be invested in what weíre doing while weíre doing it, but Iím not so sure afterwards.

I find myself when people are really startled by certain things or theyíre scared kind of pleasantly surprised. Like I like it when someone says that really freaked me out. Iím like ďReally? It did? Wow, thatís cool!Ē

Preston And as a quick follow-up, Iím calling on behalf of my university, so if you could teach a college course of your creation, what do you think you would teach?

Sean I sort of think I am teacher in my disposition. I gave a speech just now at the University of Idaho and afterwards we met with a group of drama students. I really like talking about leadership and I donít know that Iíve led anything all that great, but I think I understand the anatomy of what it takes to be a leader. And that theme gives you entrťe into virtually everything in life and human experience. I was just giving a talk at the Disney, the run Disney Expo for the Disney marathon weekend and I spoke each of the days and I talked a lot about inspiration ó so yes. I donít know. I think leadership and my training is in history and American literature and culture, so maybe English or something. I donít know. I donít know.

Moderator Thank you and next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby from ScifiVision.com. Please go ahead.

Jamie Hello, Sean, thanks so much for talking to us today.

Sean Hello.

Jamie So you talked about your last scene and everything, but I was curious, how did they do the sort of special effects with the worms and everything? Was it all digital or was some of it practical?

Sean It was all digital. Basically they would put little orange dots, reference dots, all over the area where the worm would be, but you know what that is totally unfair what I just said. Scrap that. The actual prosthetic of the cut on myóI was immediately thinking of the worm effect, because that was the closest to me because I just saw it the other day for the first time. But no, they had a brilliant piece that they put on my cheek that they could sew and unsew and it was really, really good. People really responded to it on the set and I liked working with it, so it didnít take very long to put on at all. It was a piece that started at the top of my inner eye at the bridge of my nose and went down right under the eye all the way around the eye basically kind of like in a half moon and then up into the hairline and down around the jaw and kind of underneath the jaw on the top of the neck and then up and around the same side of the mouth. So it almost looked like the Phantom of the Operaís mask sort of like a miniature version of that or that with a convertible version of the Phantom of the Opera mask.

And then they painted it beautifully and then they added theóit was really cool was they pull the thread through it because if youíve ever had stitches, Iíve had lots of stitches in my life and it felt the same. When they numb you, they put a long needle in and they numb the area that theyíre going to give you a stitch, you can still feel it, but it doesnít hurt and thatís exactly what it felt like when theyíre threading the cut on Jimís face. The actual worms, though, were orange dots.

Jamie Okay.

Moderator Thank you and our next question comes from the line of Angela Dawson from Front Row Features. Please go ahead.

Angela Hello, Sean.

Sean Hello.

Angela I was going to ask you since you did have some fair warning of your characterís demise, have you had an opportunity to look around what youíre going to do next? It sounds like youíre not looking for a franchise, but looking for something unique like this was and so whatís coming up on your agenda?

Sean Iím sort of the opposite. When a franchise, a really good one, comes along, itís great to be included. Actually I meant the opposite of that, so I play the voice of Raphael in the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise and Iím one of the many Raphaelís that there have been, so I kind of like that. Maybe Iím kind of a joiner, I donít know.

The one thing I would say for everybody is that I knew that I was going to die, but I didnít know how and when I got the script for it, which was only a few weeks I think beforehand, I loved it. Before that I had been a little bit kind of sullen over the fact that I was just getting to know everybody and enjoy everything and I knew I wasnít going to be around very long. But when I saw how cool the episode was with this kind of ďButch and SundanceĒ battle royale out of a convenience store and then like the way that it was discovered on me and how the relationship is resolved and stuff, I absolutely felt like you couldnít have asked for a better send-off. I was pretty happy with that.

I have an independent film thatís coming up called The Surface with me and Chris Mulkey. Itís a two-hander kind of a meditation on hopelessness and suicide, so thereís that. And then I also have a little animated film that I guess is being released independently called Ribbit about a poisonous tree frog, who believes heís destined for something more than the life of a poisonous tree frog, so I play Ribbit. Thatís coming out I think in September. I donít know if itís in wide release or not, but itís on my radar.

And then I donít know, Iíve been getting offered lots of fun things in the Sci-fi horror realm, which I havenít grown too tired of yet, so as long as thereís something to play, Iím willing to keep thinking about that. And then I donít know, looking for the next thing and the next thing to get excited about.

Moderator Thank you. The next question comes from the line of Robert Samo from Fanboy Nation. Please go ahead.

Robert Good morning, Sean. How are you?

Sean Good, finally somebody with Fan Boy in the title.

Robert Iím going to fan boy out for you right now. Rudy is one of the only movies that makes me cry.

Sean Thatís good.

Robert Tell us about the trek through Guillermo del Toroís mind. Weíve seen him from Panís Labyrinth and Hell Boy and everything else that heís done. And to work with him that closely, there has to be some insight that you gathered to take that little stroll in his mindís eye.

Sean Now everybody expects something huge from Guillermo every time he opens the door, so I guess what really impressed me about him is that he continues to deliver in the face of overwhelming expectations and he does it in a way that is calm and fun. He just seemedóIím not sure if itís because he lived with this book for the years that heís lived with it and wanting to make the show the way heís wanted to make it and then getting to make it the way he wanted to make it, or if this is just the way he is everywhere he goes. But he was just happy, just a happy guy and when it came to giving direction, he was very specific, very detailed. If you had a question, he would relish in being able to elaborate on an answer as though this was the most fun part of the process.

And then youíd see him off to the side having a conversation with a digital effects supervisor about what the movement of the worm was supposed to look like and he would be in this enthralled state of bliss envisioning, making the fantasy of these worms in his mind ďrealĒ in the digital space. I guess he both loves the fantastic and the real and so and those things serve each other. Those interests serve each other, so it was fun. Yes, youíre right, it was really a privilege to interact with him.

Robert Nice. Have you ever taken a look at The Strain comics and also youíre working with Feldman on Ninja Turtles, where heís voicing Spike, correct?

Sean Yes. I have seen the comic books. I havenít read them all, but I think I understood a little of the story a little bit better when I glanced at the comic book the first time. I think I thought I get it now and thatís what thatís supposed to be, but somehow that seemed different. I listened to Ron Perlman read the audio books. Thatís how I experienced The Strain the first time. I was riding my fancy bike in the middle of the night. I was in training and I would ride my bike all over the San Fernando Valley, which made me think of Tom Pettyís song about the vampire standing in the shadows freefalling. So the imagery, the ideas, the vocabulary for it was very richly drawn, beautifully performed by Ron Perlman; but when I saw the comic books, it seemed to me like somebodyís interpretation of it not like it was coming from the thing. I donít know if thatís right or wrong; thatís just the way I came at it.

And yes, Feldman plays Spike. Itís fun to have my buddy Corey be my little turtle who then turns into a monster. Itís pretty fun because obviously he was around in the original time of that franchise, seems to be the word for the interview here, but yes, itís pretty cool.

Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the line of Matt Molgaard from Addicted to Horror. Please go ahead.

Matt Sean, real quick, I just got to say as a father of a soon to be 13 year old girl who absolutely loves the Goonies and really just loves Mikey and a guy who was there himself in 1985, thanks for giving us a real slice of history that just canít be replaced.

Sean It was a privilege to be part of it. I have three daughters, 17, 12, and 9 and when you said you have to say on behalf of your daughter, I thought I was going to be in trouble like for [indiscernible] this awful horror stuff thatís going to give her nightmares for the rest of her life.

Matt No, no, she wonít watch it, but no, sheís not going to bad mouth you. Listen, Jim Kent, heís a really complex, conflicted character. I know a lot of actors that lean on personal experiences and engrained emotions to bring their characters to life in a believable fashion. Is there any part of Jim Kent that makes you say ďI can totally relate to that; let me use my own familiarity to generate a real sense of authenticity.Ē?

Sean Iím probably more like Jim Kent than I am Samwise Gamgee in as much as I have to make choices in my life that Iím not an ideal literary character because people always want to know if I was like Sam and I try and embody some of those traits that Samwise has, but for Jim, I guess my technique relies on trying to feel the emotions or the moments as the character would feel it in real time. Thatís how I get the closest to manifesting something thatís authentic.

Having said that I donít think I can help but bring a large part of myself to it. I just try not to draw one to one correlation between something in my life that Iíve experienced and something that it would evoke of an emotion thatís the same or similar to something that Jim would be feeling at that moment. I think that my empathy quotient is high enough that when I see heís lied on behalf of his wife whoís got cancer or heís trying to save people by plugging in a UV ray to maybe stave off some vampires or any of those feelings I find it very easy to be empathic for those feelings. And itís easier for me because on take three and four and five and whatever as you reinvest in it, it might be harder for me to try and transplant emotions that Iíve had in my life a second time and a third time and a fourth time.

I do know a certain music that seems to be able to do things, but anyhow thatís my process.

Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the line of Robert Fowler from AgentsofGeeks.com. Please go ahead.

Robert F. Hello, Sean, thank you very much for taking out time this morning. I wanted to touch with you with regards to Jimís overall role so far in the show and I guess not future. Being one of the senior actors in the show, what did you bring to the show with regards to perhaps adding your character development to the other people on the show?

Sean I think youíre cutting out a little bit, but I think I get the spirit of your question. We did have these story meetings or not story meetings, but these sort of script sessions where we really try and carve out at least a week or two ahead of time some space for the actors to sit with Guillermo and the writers and maybe whoever was directing that episode just an opportunity to talk about it. Itís hard when you donít have time to rehearse and particular at the beginning of a series. I think once peopleís characters are really established and youíre going towards the end of the first season or into the second season, there might be a greater dexterity for working withoutóyou know itís sometimes scripts might come in at the last minute and that kind of thing.

But for us they had the scripts largely finished to my knowledge before we started, but they kind of rolled them out slowly at least to me; but I did participate several times in conversations where we would read through some scenes and we would say this makes sense to me or this doesnít; ďI donít understand thisĒ or ďCan I say this this way?Ē and you really get to hear how each other are thinking about your characters. And they were very responsive toóthere was a strong mutual respect between the creators and the actors. Everybody liked what was happening and wanted to make it better, so those were very rewarding conversations to be in.

And then I try and be myself, I try and bring my sense of comfort and confidence to the process and maybe thatís helpful to people, but at the same time Iím not immune from the anxieties of being in a new space and wanting to make sure that new space not just with a show that youíre doing, but knowing that the stakes foróand this is whatís kind of exciting, too. The stakes for a Guillermo del Toro project are high because the expectations are high. People really expect it to be great and that just means you have to try and do something new and interesting and it has to be believable.

I think you asked something about the other actors. I think you said something about the older actors, but David Bradley for example was someone that I had worked with in England on a project. And when he started bringing Setrakian to life it was just a privilege. The guy is indefatigable, just when everyone else, when Iím freezing cold and my jaw is chattering and my fingers wonít bend, heís smiling and having a laugh and ready to keep going, so he led by example in a way that was quiet and wonderful. I think everybody feels that way about him.

I just watched Corey coming off of his show where heís just had an incredible turn in House of Cards and it felt like a privilege to be around him. Richard SammelÖ I could go through everybody on the show and to-a-person it was a positive interaction. Kevin Durand and I have the same lawyer, so our lawyer really liked the fact that one of his clients was killing the other one of his clients. I just have so much respect for him and I love him so much and Mia is just such a really whip smart, beautiful lady, a talented lady, yes, I could keep going on. I loved everybody; Iím sorry to be full on dead now.

Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the line of Laura Bofill from EclipseMagazine.com.

Laura Hello, Sean. This is Laura Bofill. First of all I want to say Iím a huge fan of you and I didnít get to talk with you at Comic Con, so Iím happy to finally be able to talk with you now, so thank you. This is truly a privilege and I love the show.

Sean My pleasure.

Laura Yes, thank you. So I wanted to find out, youíve had a rich career. What are the things that draws you to certain roles that you accept either on TV or in film?

Sean Iím pretty promiscuous when it comes to what I do as an actor. Often times it comes down to whether I feel I can do it. If thereís a part ofóin an animated thing, thereís a rake. I donít mean a rake like a guy, I mean like an actual garden rake and Iím like can I see myself as the rake. Can I be the rake? And so if I feel like thereísólike I can do it credibly then Iím most of the way to doing it and it becomes about ďAm I available?Ē

There are times when itís clear that movies have been written and are getting made for reasons that are other than that are purely financial and people have figured out the formula. They figured out how to get money to make a movie. Itís really hard. Iím incredibly sympathetic to how hard it is to get things made, so there has to be an internal logic within the story. The dialogue has to be credible, but it doesnít have to be Shakespeare for me to be willing to do it. Iím happy doing lower budget movies. I like doing big budget movies. Itís really just a question of if Iíve done a couple of really big things, things that have really scored, then I like the idea of scrounging around and finding low budget independent film where I can play a drug addict or where I can do something like that. If Iíve done a whole string of independent films that nobody has seen, then I find myself yearning to get back on the grid, so I think my career is very easy to interpret. Itís about working. Iím a working actor; thatís how I see myself.

Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the line of Robyn Schlau from Moviehole. Please go ahead.

Robyn Del Toro and Hogan stated that one of the reasons they had went with FX to take the series was because the network wanted the show to reflect the novels. Do you feel that your portrayal of Jim Kent is very similar to the Jim Kent in the novels or did you change him in any way?

Sean I think that those guys wanted freedom, the freedom to make the books as close to the books that they wanted to or the freedom to move away from them if they wanted to. Understanding the essence of the books and the story of the books and the tone and the spirit of it and not shying away from the violence thatís in it and for all of those reasons, Iím sure is why and more. Creative freedom is why the lads would have chosen it.

But I donít think that Jim Kent is exactly like the book. I think they wanted toówhen I met them they knew exactly what they wanted Jim Kent to be. And when I experienced the book, I didnít know what to make of how I might play Jim Kent, so I really was relying on the fact that they knew what they wanted and then it was my job to figure that out and give it to them. Jimís character, I donít think is that fully rendered in the books, so I hope Iím not telling tales out of school, but no, I think Jim is one of the characters in it that isnít slavishly close to whatís in the book.

Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the line of Theresa Argie from Americaís Most Haunted. Please go ahead.

Theresa Hello, Sean, thank you so much for talking to us today. I really enjoyed the series. Iím very sorry to see you go on the series, but Iím looking forward to seeing how this plays out this season and other seasons to come. But on a personal note, I was wondering youíve done a lot of these horror type movies or supernatural slightly seen science fiction type movies. Have you ever had a supernatural or paranormal experience yourself?

Sean I am fully prepared to accept the existence of the supernatural, but I donítónot one that Iím confident enough to relate, but I donít think itís fun to live this life without the possibility of the supernatural.

Theresa So if there was to be any sort of supernatural beings be it ghosts, vampires, any kind of cryptic creatures, what would be your vote for the most likely of these supernatural beings to actually exist?

Sean Iím sort of boring, so I would kind of think that whatever it is it would be very close to human beings. Some other sensory, some other like mental psychological, psycho-spiritual something or other that could cause sort of group think or collective consciousness I would think is it. I donít necessarily expect to see apparitions and vampires walking around, but I do know that the mind is a very powerful thing and that people are very suggestible and so I remain open to that and to extraterrestrial potentiality.

Moderator Thank you. And the next question comes from the line of Bruce Eisen from HereIsTV.com.

Bruce Good morning.

Sean Good morning.

Bruce So having done movies and TV and given what a lot of people think is the golden age of TV, do you have any preference at this point for doing TV over movies or movies over TV?

Sean I really donít. I really donít. I like to change gears, so the rhythms of a television show play to my ownóI like the rhythms of television. I like the speed of it. I like the dynamism of it, but I also like the sense of detail and immersion that you get in a film, so to me my work doesnít radically change based on the medium as much as it does relative to the story and the characters.

Iíll tell you Iíd like to do comedies right now. Iíve just been shot in the head by Kevin Durand and one of the great TV franchises of this new decade is leaving me, so Iíd love to flip a switch and start working with a laugh track.

Moderator Thank you. And our last question comes from the line of Angie Barry from CriminalElement.com. Please go ahead.

Angie Hello, Sean. Iíve been a big fan my whole life. My question is you mentioned earlier that you really liked seeing the hash tag RIPJIM going around, so I was just wondering, do you keep up with fan feedback on your projects or are you the sort of actor that prefers to just let it lie and however it falls, thatís how it falls?

Sean I like scanning through the Twitter feed now and then, but I donít have a consistency to it. I think every now and then Iíll get really focused or thereíll be some reason if Iím working on a kick starter campaign or if thereís something that isnít going to get promoted anywhere else that I really like whether itís something Iím doing or something somebody else is doing, I get in there. A lot of people have a charitable or other very emotional things that they want or they ask or something like that and I find it really hard to pick and choose at that, so I try and release myself from any obligation to that, but every now and then Iíll find something that I feel like doing it, so a little bit.

I have a talk radio show on TradioV called Vox Populi Radio. Itís a political radio show, so I definitely once a week, find myself digging in and hoping and wanting people that are paying attention to the conversations that weíre having and trying to promote it and stoke peopleís interest. During those moments, Iím acutely aware of what people are thinking and saying.

What I noticed is with the people that respond to me or whatever, itís a very similar thing. Itís very, very rare. I think I might have only blocked one or two people in the entire time Iíve had Twitter because people are just basically decent and have thoughts. Even if somebody is critical, I usually agree with them; they usually have a point that theyíre making that I donít think is too far off, but I donít live and die by it.

Moderator Thank you. No more questions in queue.

Tom Thanks so much to everyone for joining us today and especially Sean Astin. We greatly appreciate your time.

Sean Thank you. I enjoyed it. I just wonder like when you finish the interview or when the person finishes interviewing if they hang up and jump off, because like theyíre just waiting for their question or if people like hang around and theyíre waiting to hear what their colleagues are saying or whatever, so itís weird to be in a vacuum like that, but for anybody who is still listening, I really appreciated it ó the questions were so good.

Tom Great. As a reminder The Strain airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific only on FX. Thanks again and you may now disconnect.

Moderator Ladies and gentlemen that does conclude your conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive TeleConference Service. You may now disconnect.

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