What We Do in the Shadows Stars Talk Season 3 and Who Ruins the Most Takes
Much like how NBC's The Office initially drew direct inspiration from the original UK series before pivoting to establish an entirely new narrative, FX's What We Do in the Shadows similarly started by directly channeling the charm that made the 2014 movie from Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, only to pursue entirely fresh storytelling avenues. One of the biggest reveals in Season 2 of the series was that Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) learned he was actually a vampire hunter, causing a number of complications for his relationship with Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and the rest of the vampire household. Season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows premieres on FX tonight 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 Guillén and Novak to talk about the new season, the evolution of their characters, and why Nandor won't be heading to Sweden.
ComicBook.com: Coming into Season 3, obviously Harvey, your character goes through some pretty major evolutions from Seasons 2 to 3, so what were your biggest goals of what you really wanted to accomplish with your character in the new season?
Harvey Guillén: Well, I was just curious to see where we were going with them. Where do we pick up? And where we left off for Season 2 cliffhanger, what are the consequences and what is the new story for him? So I was looking forward to that and we went through this emotional roller coaster of trying to peel away at Guillermo's layers and him coming into a zone and being comfortable in his new, self-discovered bad-ass-ness. So that was interesting, but I'm also excited for next season, Season 4. Where does that go? Where do we go from where we left off in Season 3? So I'm super excited to just see the evolution of this character, which is fun to play as an actor, just because every season we're just peeling away and so it's wonderful.
And Kayvan, what did you want to explore with Nandor in Season 3?
Kayvan Novak: It's no secret that I did express a desire to explore Nandor's love life if that was a possibility, to go down the road of Nandor trying to find love, trying to find a date, trying to get a girlfriend, trying to rekindle an old romance, have his heart broken and try and chat someone up awkwardly. I got to do all these things in the new season, which I was very happy about because I've done all those things in my real life.
This is another thing for both of you, and you might have the same answer, you might have a different answer, who ruins the most takes--
...either because they laugh or because they go too far--
Novak: That was quick.
Is it because he laughs or because he makes everyone else laugh?
Guillén: Because he makes everyone else laugh. Or he'll break character himself, he'll say, "Sorry." We're like, "No!" He's like, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Okay. I'll do it again, okay, okay." And they laugh again and then do another take and then it's like a ripple effect. If he starts laughing, it's contagious. I would say that Kayvan makes fun of me because I try to stay in character so much. Even when he is being really funny, he can see it in my eyes. "Oh, Harvey hates me. I know you're mad at me right now. I know you're mad." And I'm like, "No. I'm in character."
Novak: Yeah, Harvey's extremely patient with me with our scenes. I'm a dangerous combination of being a perfectionist who's very imperfect a lot of the time. So finding light, marks, all these things, all the challenges that these people have paid me to get right, sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. But thankfully I'm in the company of very patient, understanding, talented people who ... They f-ck up, too. Not just me.
Guillén: No, we all f-ck up.
Novak: But it's part of the joy of it.
Guillén: But Kayvan is the most endearing, because you can't get mad at Kayvan because he was making everyone laugh. And if he breaks character, we're still laughing. So it's like a win-win, you're not losing when you break character with Kayvan.
One of the fun elements of this season, there's a little bit of body-switching humor in one of the earlier episodes. I'm sure both of you, when you're on set you forget how good you are at your characters and you might look to everyone else and say, "I wish I got to do one episode as Laszlo." If there was another character that you could play, even just for one episode, what other character in the show would you like to play?
Guillén: Oh, wow. That's a tough one. I guess, because I spent so much time with Nandor, I would switch with Nandor to see what that would be like, but everyone has such great moments, so it'd be hard. I don't think I could do Colin Robinson. I think it would just bore myself to death. I couldn't do that one. Maybe Jackie Daytona because everyone wants Jackie Daytona back. I can't pick one, but if I had to pick one, it'd probably be, because I spend the most time with Nandor's character, probably him.
Novak: Well, I had to do everyone anyway for an episode, and it did become enjoyable. But initially you're like, "Oh, wow. This is a new challenge. This is completely new." And people can hold me to account because they know the characters so well, and then it's down to me to portray these characters that they know so well. And I don't know man, it's either ... did I get away with it? I haven't seen it yet.
I think you did.
Novak: Okay, great. Thank you.
Kayvan, given your history and being no stranger to undergoing special effects makeup and heavy prosthetics and with this being a fantastical and horrifying show, have you ever wanted to play another character that has a good amount of makeup on there to do double duty?
Novak: I would say that one of the joys of playing Nandor is I feel that level of escapism that you might do if you were wearing a mask or prosthetics. Nandor, for me, is such an escape and it's such a fully developed character in a world that's fully recognized that I get to enjoy that level of escapism and character performance or whatever you want to call it than I would if I had prosthetics. We've done it. We did some prosthetics in Season 2, when Colin Robinson was draining us to the point where we were aging. So I guess it's hard because I'd have to shave.
How quickly could you grow the Nandor beard back?
Novak: I shaved clean this morning. That's nine hours.
Looking to the future of Season 3, without giving away too much, do you have a favorite episode that was super fun to film or the writing was super good that you can't wait for fans to see?
Guillén: I really liked when we go to the casino. The Atlantic City episode, because there's so many things happening. There's this Ocean's 11 vibe to the rhythm of the episode. And it's written by one of my favorite writers on our writing crew, Sarah Naftalis. She really knows how to get the rhythm of comedy and it just bounces off each other really well. She knows Guillermo's voice, so it was a really nice moment in that episode where ... Speaking to people that you care about about your sexuality is already hard, especially if you're questioning your sexuality or that moment, and so there's a really sweet, tender moment between the vampires and when they're genuinely showing interest in Guillermo and showing him that it's okay to question something like that and to speak on it. And so that moment was really nice. A really sweet moment in the middle of a huge, juggernaut comedy episode, which has a lot happening with Shaun renewing his vows with Charmaine, Atlantic City, gambling addiction with Nandor's character, the soil is missing, and they travel around the world. There's so much happening, but it's so brilliant. So I love that episode.
Harvey has told me before he's interested in seeing Buffy the Vampire Slayer show up in a new episode, Mark Proksch says he wants to see a crossover with Succession so Brian Cox can yell at him. Whether it's a vampire character or even just another series that's going on right now, Kayvan, what's a series that you would like to see a crossover with for What We Do in the Shadows?
Novak: Well, I'll tell you who I wouldn't want turning up in the house are those guys from Midsommar because they freak me the f-ck out, man.
The cult or the college kids?
Novak: No, no. They're all dead. Oh, dude, I watched that the other night and, how could they? All of them.
Well, there's too much sunlight out there for vampires anyway.
Novak: Oh, there you go. We'd be safe. "Come out into the sunlight." No! No way!
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.0comments