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What We Do in the Shadows cast on Season 2 growth, witches, and why 'we are all Guillermos'
We’re two episodes into the second season of FX’s What We Do in the Shadows and already it’s pretty clear that the OG vampires of Staten Island are still playing it pretty cool out in the suburbs.
For over a century, Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadia (Natasia Demetriou), and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) have lived their best undead lives together, though, of late, they’ve added Nandor’s long-suffering familiar, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), and energy vampire roomie, Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch). Together, they create light mayhem and bloodshed, but never enough to really earn themselves a pitchfork and fire uprising.
But this season might be the turning point as Guillermo’s genetic skills as a vampire hunter keep getting stronger, and more pointed. And the complicated backstories of the core vampires just might come back to haunt them, literally and figuratively, in Season 2.
SYFY WIRE sat down with renowned British comedians Matt Berry and Natasia Demetriou, and U.S. actor Harvey Guillén to talk Season 2 character arcs and ridiculous vampire excess.
With the success of Season 1, did you come into the second season with any suggestions for your characters?
Matt Berry: No. I mean, the only thing that I came with was, I became obsessed with this guy that plays Elvis. I just loved the idea of turning him into a vampire, the actual Elvis, [saying] he's been here since the '70s. And we did that. But that was the only idea that I brought.
Natasia Demetriou: The only thing I wanted was more interior shots because it's cold filming at night [in Toronto].
Berry: And I wanted that as well.
Demetriou: And also because the sets are so beautiful, so why not use them? But I trust those guys implicitly. [Executive producers] Stefani Robinson and Jemaine Clement and Paul (Simms). Whatever they do is fine.
With Guillermo this season, there’s a huge progression in his own destiny. Did you expect that after the Season 1 reveal about his lineage?
Harvey Guillén: I always say most of my acting in Season 1 was facial expressions and reactions to people's lines. And I feel so honored fans really got behind Guillermo. I feel they were saying that Guillermo is the people's familiar because we are all Guillermos. Working for 10 years for a master that thinks you've only worked there for two years, and doesn't even think about making you what he promised, we've all been there, in a personal sense.
Did you feel an immediate change in the kinds of scenes you had to play this season?
Guillén: When I showed up to set on the first day of Season 2, they were like, "We're going to do a little stunt work." And I was like, "That's cool!” Because being a person in Hollywood who is judged like a book by its cover often, you wouldn't assume that I am flexible, or that I'm athletic. And I'm so glad that the production team have been like, "Let's see what you can do. Bring it to the table."
What did the writers lean into for your married vampire couple?
Demetriou: Obviously, the [writers] saw in the first series that me and Matt have a very similar sense of humor, and so we got to do a lot more stuff together.
Berry: Yeah, which was good. I enjoyed that the most. You luck out when you get people that you can work well with, that make you laugh. I've worked with people that I've heard are really, really good, and then it might not work. But, in this, it's very lucky because not only are the people that you'd want to work here, but they're also really good.
Demetriou: I feel exactly the same. It's an absolute joy.
The writers seem to love putting you both in the most ridiculous sexually promiscuous scenarios?
Demetriou: [Laughs] A lot of the talking head scenes, where it's just me and Matt, start with a lot of filthy things.
Berry: Well, they don't have any boundaries. Even though they are hundreds of years old, they're the most modern of couples. What they do now would surprise the most right-on, prolific sex experimenter.
Demetriou: It's true.
Berry: But it’s got to be like that, right? Because the whole thing about the vampires is it's not a personal thing. It's about being a parasite and taking from people, so you've got to follow through with that and being sexually experimental is all part of that.
With Guillermo, we get a lot more of his outside life and the physical skills we didn’t know he had?
Guillén: Yeah, you don't want to go straight to full hunter slayer mode. You want to go into slowly, gradually showing maybe the bits and pieces that make you who you are. So we opened the door into that part of Guillermo's life. And we look into his home life, so that's nice too.
And with physicality, that's very draining. There was one scene, I think earlier in the season, that I had to go up a flight of stairs. I went up and down the stairs 76 times. My thighs were on fire. I've never in my life learned such a night's rest. [Laughs]
Did any of you bring any of your comedian friends into the guest star loop this season?
Berry: Well, I wanted Elvis. And I got Benny Wong, who's one of my best friends. But that wasn't my idea. They love Benny, so they got Benny.
Demetriou: I make a lot of suggestions. All of them ignored, so no. [Laughs] But one thing that you do find is that we're filming in winter in Toronto, so a lot of people are home for the holidays. A lot of that dictates [casting].
Berry: [The shoot] is over two Thanksgivings: the Canadian one and your one.
What episodes give us new glimpses into your lives this season?
Berry: Well, [in “On the Run”], I was fortunate that my character left the house and changed his name and had to completely disappear. That was obviously fun to do because it's not inside the house, and I didn't wear the clothes anymore.
Demetriou: There's a music episode where you find out that me and [Lazlo] used to be quite a famous double act, hundreds and hundreds of years ago.
Berry: We've written hundreds of songs.
Demetriou: That was so fun because I got to rock some Tina Turner hair. All that stuff, I love. Whenever we do archive photo shoots where you see Matt in '70s gear or as a caveman with his hair curled or something, that stuff is really fun.
Berry: That's the beauty of being a vampire. The vampire manifesto is that you have all of these things that you can do with vampires because they live forever. You can go back to cavemen. There would have been vampires then.
Do you have favorites from this year?
Demetriou: I like the music one a lot. That was a real highlight. Oh, and there's the “Ghosts” episode, which I absolutely love.
Berry: And the witches episode.
Demetriou: Oh, yeah! A witches episode as well. There's lots to look forward to.
Guillén: I talked to Jemaine after the finale for Season 2, which is one of my favorite episodes, and was like, "Wow, how do we end up here? What do we do now? Where do we go?" And he goes, "I don't know. You just get yourself into a corner and then you figure a way out."
That just keeps you on your toes and it's fresh. This season is so great.
What We Do in the Shadows Season 2 drops new episodes on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX, and is available the next day on FX on Hulu.