Vampires have taken many shapes and forms over the years, with FX's What We Do in the Shadows featuring not only the traditional take on the bloodsuckers, but has also found new perspectives on characters that drain the life from others. Mark Proksch's Colin Robinson, for example, doesn't sink his fangs into his victims to take their blood, he instead draws energy from them by being such a bore that spending any time with him inherently sucks the life force from his victims, which sometimes even includes his housemates, presenting Proksch with not only some interesting challenges as a performer, but also some unexpected advantages. Season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows premieres tonight on FX at 10 p.m. ET.
The new season of the series is described, "After the shocking Season 2 finale, we find the housemates in a panic about what to do with Guillermo after discovering that he is a vampire killer. This season, the vampires are elevated to a new level of power and will encounter the vampire from which all vampires have descended, a tempting Siren, gargoyles, werewolf kickball, Atlantic City casinos, wellness cults, ex-girlfriends, gyms, and supernatural curiosities galore. Plus, Colin Robinson is turning 100. And Nandor, faced with his own eternal-life crisis, tries to inject his life with more meaning. Will he find love or is he destined to be an immortal bachelor with 37 ex-wives?"
ComicBook.com caught up with Proksch to talk the new season, what's in store for his character, and the unlikely crossover he'd like to see happen.
ComicBook.com: When you found out that you'd get to play Colin Robinson in a third season of the series, what were your personal goals of what you wanted to explore with the character?
Mark Proksch: My ideas are always to get Colin out into the real world and have him join community theater or something like that. But, obviously, COVID hit and so there were a lot of restrictions on what we were able to achieve out in the real world. I think the storyline that the writers came up with is much better anyway, him trying to learn about the history of energy vampires and specifically his ancestry, where he came from. I think that was a really smart turn this season, to find out a little bit more about Colin.
When Guillermo started exploring his history, he came to some surprising realizations, and now with Colin, we get to see more of this longer form, deep dive into your history. Is it possible that Colin might make some startling discoveries about his history?
I would say that no one will see what's coming, and it's going to be a big shocker and a huge cliffhanger for the entire show, I think, as to what happens to Colin.
I've always wondered about your character since the first season, unlike the other traditional vampires, a defining characteristic is that you're supposed to be boring. What is that challenge like for you, to not be too enthusiastic, not be too animated, to have to stay grounded? Do you find that challenging or is it freeing as compared to your co-stars who do get over-the-top and super excited?
All of my comedy heroes growing up were subtle and somewhat dry. Bob Newhart is a big hero of mine, and a lot of the characters I've played over the years are pretty subtle, with a few exceptions. I like playing just the average person, that's what I really enjoy. That's where I find so much humor.
The moments where I do get to go a little big with Colin Robinson are usually moments where he's angry, and I really find that funny. Anytime someone's yelling at me, I find it funny. I would like, at times, to go as big as the other vampires, but really, my home is forever in pleats and oversized sweaters.
Speaking to how big the other characters get and how animated they are when they're yelling at you, who of the cast do you think ruins the most takes, either because they are the one that laughs and ruins the take or because they push things way too far and cause everyone else to ruin things?
Natasha [Demetriou] is one of the funniest people I've met, and she's also a really good laugher. And, for some reason, I'm able to get her to break pretty frequently and vice versa. She comes up with some of the filthiest lines that have ever been uttered on earth, and that just makes me giggle. And so, I think she probably breaks people up the most.
That's part of what I love about the series is that the heightened concept is so outlandish that you can get lost just in the story. But then Matt Berry says something like, "I just want to suck blood and f-ck forever," and it just totally takes you by surprise.
Yeah, Laszlo gets very filthy this year. He's kind of a Benny Hill character this season, which is an interesting progression for Matt.
It's a bit cliche when talking about making a comedy series to ask, "How much do you get to improvise?" but, more specifically, by Season 3 not only do you know the characters better but so do the writers, so does that mean the actors are given more freedom to improvise what they think the characters would say or is the writing so strong that there's less need to improvise?
The writing has always been strong. And I think [executive producer] Paul [Simms] said it at some point it's 60/40 or 70/30. We always do what's on the written page and get that take or two done. And then we go off.
For my character, because it has to seem so natural that I'm talking about these things, a lot of times they'll put in a starting sentence for me, a jumping-off point, and then I come up with the rest. And because it has to seem so natural, it's usually subjects that I know about. And so, I can go back into my useless information bank and tap into that.
But yeah, the writing is so strong. I think for everyone else, it's the same thing. I was mentioning Natasha, I think she'll do a couple of brilliant takes, and then she'll go off on her own. I think that helps with the mockumentary style is to ... You can almost sense that someone is coming up with what they're saying so it feels real. But, again, the majority of what you see on the screen has been written.
The first season had Tilda Swinton and Wesley Snipes drop by and it blew horror fans' minds. There have been a lot of great cameos over the years, is there a horror character you'd like to see show up? Or, since other sitcoms have done crossovers when they're really popular and with Colin Robinson being a more "normal" character, is there another series you would like to see a crossover with?
That's a great question. I mean, it is like the Scooby-Doo with the Harlem Globetrotters scenario, but it would be funny to see some of the folks from Succession show their true colors as energy vampires. I think they do a pretty damn good job, and that's such a brilliant, brilliant show. That would be a fun crossover for me.
Now I'd be more interested in seeing Colin Robinson show up in Season 3 of Succession as a candidate to take over Waystar RoyCo and then have Brian Cox yell at you.
I think I would need to have a change of pants on hand for Brian Cox addressing me. He's a very terrifying character.
What We Do in the Shadows Season 3 premieres tonight on FX at 10 p.m. ET.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.