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SXSW: Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, and their continued quest for the 'truth' with What We Do in the Shadows
"This is going to be one for the ages," Taika Waititi told the crowds at SXSW Friday night ahead of a screening of the pilot episode for the new FX series What We Do in the Shadows Friday night at SXSW.
Based on the 2014 mockumentary of the same name, written and directed by Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the two re-teamed to revisit the premise, albeit with an all-new cast and setting. While on stage together, their acerbic back-and-forth banter set the tone for the series, which is infused with their scorchingly dry humor.
"Five years ago we made a film that blew the coffin lid off the vampire community in New Zealand," Clement remarked, speaking as if their mockumentary was, in fact, real. "A lot of people were shocked, saying 'It's too honest! It's too real!'"
"When you're documentarians like us, when you're truth seekers like us, you've got to find it," added Waititi, likening their search for the "truth" to "little truffle hounds."
"We don't eat it. We just point it to you," said Clement, keeping the shtick going. "Truth is like truffles -- it's not for everyone. Not everyone likes it."
Of course, the series What We Do in the Shadows stays true to the film's mockumentary format, following a new trio of vampires as they round their second century living on Staten Island. The show also makes good on their promise to build on the film's mythology in the series, which now includes additional supernatural beings like psychic vampires.
Fans of the film will fall right into the show's uncomfortable, awkward humor. The new cast and setting, however, will allow newcomers to pick it up without needing to have seen the film. When asked what led to the decision to make the series with a new cast of characters, Waititi delivered a more serious answer -- or at least as serious as Waititi felt like being.
"We didn't want to do those characters anymore," Waititi explained. "It's pretty heartbreaking, being dressed in Edwardian clothes and trying to be taken seriously by a crew."
"It's hard to get people to listen to you when you're dressed as a vampire," added Clement.
What We Do in the Shadows premieres March 27 on FX. In the meantime, be sure to check out all of SYFY WIRE's extensive SXSW coverage here.