If you’ve had trouble dealing with the gaping hole in your TV viewing life since The Strain concluded its first season (guilty), hope has arrived! Not only is the eccentric supernatural thriller available to own on Blu-Ray starting on December 2nd, but we also had the chance to speak with the star of the FX hit, Mia Maestro.
During our recent interview with her, we gained insights into the development of her character Nora, how her own experiences growing up in Argentina have come into play, and her complex on-screen relationship with Eph (Corey Stoll).
Check out what the actress had to say about her role on The Strain below and enjoy!
In the books, Nora is on the sidelines. One of the major changes that happened when you came on board the project though was that the character was made to be more involved in the action.
Mia Maestro: For sure. It’s a very unique project in the way that Chuck and Guillermo wrote the novels. They wrote the novels with the idea of adapting them for a TV show and also as a template for what they wanted to do later on. So, in the books, Nora is kind of passive. I feel like in the back of their minds they knew that Nora was going to be more active in the TV show. Also, there’s a lot of time lapses and in the novels. The tempo is a lot lower. One of the major changes in regard to my character is how involved she is and how she becomes a fighter and isn’t staying home and taking care of the kids.
Another significant change in the series is that Nora is from Argentina. Therefore, she’s someone that has grown up seeing dictatorships first hand but also The Dirty War (which spanned from 1976-1983) would have been something she lived through. There’s even an episode called “The Disappeared” where she references it. How does that shape her?
Mia Maestro: I think they wrote Nora with my own heritage and cultural background in mind. Terrorism of state has always been a subject that comes up in Guillermo’s work – like in Pan’s Labyrinth with the Spanish Civil War. I think it’s something that’s in The Strain very much. The different moments in history where power and dictatorships arose in certain parts of the world.
Not to compare Argentine dictatorship with a vampire invasion in New York, but there is a fear in the story that this vampire strain will become the worst dictatorship that the world has ever witnessed.
There is a mention of other events in the past where this was done as well. There’s a lot of World War II flashbacks and references Nora makes to her childhood. Someone my age, who grew up in Argentina during dictatorship rule – it’s something very ingrained.
It’s such a powerful moment when Nora says, “In Argentina, you inherit the dread of things turning upside down overnight.” She relates what she saw growing up to losing a lot of people around her and the deterioration of what she knows.
Mia Maestro: I really want to emphasize that it’s not a direct comparison between a fictionalized TV show and a tragic time politically and historically in my country, but there are certain things that come into her mind for Nora during the outbreak. There’s moments of contact between the two realities – what’s happening in NY and what happened to her as a kid. So she voices that.
That point in the season is very significant for her because she’s grappling with her mother’s declining mental state and the death of Jim (Sean Astin). On top of that, she seeks comfort in her difficult to categorize relationship with Eph (Corey Stoll) at a time when he’s attempting to reconcile with his ex-wife. I’m sure playing all of those different elements was a challenge but also exciting.
Mia Maestro: Yeah, there’s many different elements. Her relationship with her mother and the question of how you cope with someone that you need to take care of but is not cognitive or present enough to understand the situation. Nora has to take care of her mother but at the same time that may slow her down. How do you deal with someone who doesn’t really know what’s happening and doesn’t know how to take care of themselves? That was interesting.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about Nora’s relationship with Eph and I think when it comes to their relationship, we’re just given a small snapshot of about eight days. It’s a very heightened moment for both of them. Whatever relationship they had before the plane [containing the virus] landed – you don’t really get.
The world is changing in front of their eyes. They don’t really know what’s going on. Whatever they started having gets completely interrupted by the enormous situation before them.
In my mind, Nora and Eph are incredibly good friends and exceptional co-workers. They have a really beautiful relationship and they really don’t know what it is. They’ve had a couple of encounters where they crossed the line from friendship.
I think their relationship would have been a hopeful one had [the outbreak] not happened. But due to what’s going on – I don’t think they can even consider a relationship or comprehend where they stand.
That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank Mia very much for her time. The Strain will be made available on Blu-Ray and DVD starting tomorrow, December 2nd. For more on the show, and from Maestro, check out our video interview with her below.