What We Do In the Shadows: Kayvan Novak and Harvey Guillen on Season 4's Swordfights, Baby Colin Robinson, and Nandor and Guillermo's Relationship
The vampire housemates of FX's What We Do In the Shadows return this Tuesday for the start of the show's fourth season, but there have been some changes after last season's surprising finale. Colin Robinson died and has been reborn as a childlike creature that Laszlo has taken under his wing. Nandor is returning from a journey meant to help him find himself, while Nadja (and, unwittingly, Nandor's familiar/bodyguard Guillermo) went to London to work with the Vampiric Council. The trailer for the season teased the group's reunion, but will they, collectively or individually, be the same?
ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to two of the show's stars, Kayvan Novak (Nandor) and Harvey Guillén (Guillermo), about the new season. They shared what they're most excited about, what it was like working through on-set injuries and filming with the child version of Colin Robinson, and how they feel about fans shipping their characters. You can listen to what they had to say in the video above, or read it below:
What are you most excited about this season?
Kayvan Novak: The most exciting thing that I experienced last season was, I would say, spending four nights in a freezing cold disused warehouse in the middle of Toronto trying to look like a convincing swordsman in front of not only Harvey Guillén, who is a fantastic choreographer and dancer, and actor and everything else, but especially those things -- movement-wise, he's spot on, whereas I'm a little more all over the place -- in front of stunt team, in front of 300 screaming, chanting, background artists.
That was awesome. That felt like a new challenge for me and I think on this show, what I love about working on this show is that every season brings a whole host of new challenges, new experiences, new adventures because I guess if they're putting us through that then they're putting the audience through that as well, so it doesn't feel stale, it always feels fresh. So that excites me, the prospect of learning something new, of working with new people, new locations, new outfits, new, new, new.
Harvey Guillén: I'm really excited for everyone to see everything just echoed what Kayvan just said to see really cool storylines that are new. I like the new creatures that we have in this season and also that we're playing more almost like a farcical -- like there's a scene where the wraiths are sawing the wood underneath an employee like a cartoon, and then you see a ladder go and just the ridiculousness but it looks so real.
And everything Kayvan said. I'm excited to see that one episode in the Hearn, that's what it was, and Kayvan doing really cool stunts. And then also the nightclub. The nightclub has really fun moments. And also just for all of us to show different layers of these characters as the season goes on.
What's it been like working with Baby Colin Robinson? And without adult Colin Robinson?
KN: Well, we were working with a group of very talented child performers who had dots painted on their faces and they had to learn the lines. I didn't have to do so much of that. The scenes I was filming with them, I thought, wow, you know, these kids are amazing and they're so up for it and they're so into it and you know. There's showbiz pulsing through their veins, and how distraught they're going to be when they come to watch the final product and see Mark Proksch's big, shiny, bald head stuck on their bodies. I mean, I'd be furious. "I was up sweating, I was up all night working beyond union hours, beyond child labor laws, and all the while. Mark Proksch is sitting in Palm Springs drinking a very expensive glass of pinot noir from '62 earning maybe 50 times what I'm earning that night." I'd be furious.
HG: I want to point out that these child performers are really, really talented. I mean, from broadway, one of our child actors, um she's actually the lead on Sesame Street. So we got top-notch kid performers. And as Kayvan said, they put all their energy into this and they're dancing and singing and it's fantastic to watch. We really loved it on set. We were all clapping, they're so talented on set, but then yes, you see Mark's face on their bodies.
KN: "That's not my hair. Do I really look like that?" "No, darling, they erased your head and put the head of an adult on your body." "Why would they do that?" "I'll tell you why, sweetie. Hold on, let me finish counting this. One for you, one for me. One for you, and 10 for me. Turn around! Don't make me get the slipper."
You know how it is, man. I'm just kidding.
HG: We want to put out that no one was overworked. The rules were followed.
KN: Just us. Just us.
HG: Just the adults.
No children were harmed in the making of this season.
HG: No children were harmed in the making of this season. Or animals. No children or animals were harmed in the making of the season.
You mentioned getting to uncover new layers of these characters this season. There's a time gap between the end of last season and the beginning of this season. What's something you're excited to get to do this season that you haven't in previous seasons?
KN: I kind of, unless you going to cut that out, that I was excited about doing a sword fight with Harvey again, another one, but a very complicated and elaborate fight scene with Harvey. More elaborate and exciting and technically challenging and actually, Harvey is on wires and jumping on cars and getting pulled s***, and pretty awesome. That was something I was excited about this season. And meeting my 37 wives.
HG: And Kayvan really steps up to that challenge. If you've seen the first couple of episodes, he has a wrestling scene that he did and he actually got injured in that scene and he was so committed he kept going. He did not know that he had a fractured rib and he just kept going, doing the rest of the week like nothing and showed up, smile on his face, and then we all felt like s*** because we knew poor Kayvan did not complain about his injury you would never tell watching the episode. It's so seamless. He's such a pro.
I was excited to do that scene with him and the night market scene and just to see all the creatures and all that. But to do that scene, we actually had rehearsals and Guillermo gets to try out a new armor where he's a swordsman now, he gets this stick and does this like Gambit kind of X men move or Star Wars, lightsaber kind of vibe, which is really exciting to do and to play with that stick thanks to our stunt director, Tig, and just everyone. That was a massive episode to do.
But a layer that I'm excited about for Guillermo, aside from that, is that he's really asking himself questions that he hasn't asked himself before and being honest. He's being honest with himself and he's starting to share with others what he's really thinking and feeling. So that's a nice um nice road for him.
I'm reminded that, of course, Guillermo is a descendant of vampire hunters, monster hunters, and I'm reminded there was that really fun scene with the Vampire Council where you had those cameos early. I'm wondering, have you ever thought about, if they put together some sort of something similar, like a Hunter's Council, what cameos you'd like to see in that assemblage?
HG: Oh, wow. I mean, I've always said it'd be fun because he's so split like he wants to be a vampire, he is a Van Helsing, so we can have a little bit for everything. We could bring back Wesley Snipes for Blade because he's in the middle of both those worlds, or we could bring know like Sarah Jessica Parker -- no -- we could bring Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar because she's so iconic as a vampire hunter, and then we could also bring some vampires like Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek to lean into that. There's a lot that I would love to come and like pop in and say hello because it would be fitting for every category for Guillermo: a Van Helsing, a vampire, or just plain fun.
You mentioned that he has a foot in both of those worlds. Do you find you have more fun leaning into one or the other?
HG: Well no, I really do enjoy it. I mean he's always wanting to be a vampire, but he's not getting turned into one, so I love being a vampire because he's still in that phase of wanting and wanting. The Van Helsing side is natural and organic to him, and so he's discovering. So I do like doing a lot of the fun stunts with doing the Van Helsing side and the bodyguard aspect of it because it's fun like Kayvan said. It's just fun to pick up a sword and I remember being a kid and pretending to do that and now I get to do that. So doing those battle scenes and stuff is every kid's dream, so I lean into that a lot more. That's why I'm like, I'll do it, I'll do the stunts, I'll do it because it's a fun hat to put on, and then sometimes you get injured, but it is fun. It's just fun to do. But I am excited to see that vampire side, what that would feel like and what it would look like, if he gets his wish this season, to see what that looks like. Very cool.
In the first couple of episodes, there's some exploration of both of your characters' romantic. The second episode is pretty much built entirely around that. As you may or may not be aware, your characters are the subject of a popular ship with some of the fan community. Do you have any thoughts on that? Do you see that at all, a romantic undercurrent to their relationship? Or do you see it differently?
KN: There is, of course, a kind of will they, won't they trope with Guillermo and Nandor's relationship, but that's usually the fuel of fires what is so endearing and that keeps the fans on their toes. I guess you can imagine, okay, say that Nandor and Guillermo share a kiss. It's a passionate kiss, and then the next day it's really awkward and so what do we do? And then they just start having full-on sex on a coffin. What the f*** happens then, man? It would be a disaster.
HG: It's a slow burn. We're very aware, well aware, of the "Nandermo" fan base online and the art that gets made, the homoerotic art that is beautiful and we love, and we love the fans that ship us as the characters, but that's why we keep coming back for more. It's a slow burn. It's such a nice thing to visit and it's like, "come on." But that's what makes it so fun, that you don't know what the outcome will be and whatever that outcome is, you're along for the ride. These two characters, they love each other, and whatever form that love is, in whatever form it is, that's what it is. And so going back to it as the will they, won't they, it's always fun. You'll always be on the edge of your seat, so come back and visit for more, but the love is there. Clearly, they love each other, they care for each other, otherwise, why would Guillermo keep coming back for more and more?
But they're both on a different road this season. Guillermo's also looking for his version of Love, and it's nice to see that there's no, well, maybe a little bit of jealousy. Honestly, there's no jealousy, but at the end of the day, both characters want each other to be happy, whatever that is, and sometimes you got to, what is it? S*** or get off the pot. Take action or don't, but don't linger or don't pull at someone's heart strings. So, we'll see what happens with that.
But they generally want each other to be happy. They want to be happy themselves, and they'll support each other in whatever that is. And is that with each other? Who knows? Only time will tell.
KN: And I also want to say that that that kind of fantasy burns brightest in people's imaginations. Once you make it real, it's not going to be as good as what was going on in your mind, and when you see all the fan art, you're like, well, I'm not doing that for real [laughs].
HG: But I love that it sparks that imagination. It sparks people to create art. I always like when us, as artists creating these characters and having this relationship with these characters on screen, has inspired amazing, amazing artwork. I always repost on Instagram because that takes time. I can't draw for s*** and when someone just makes a mural out of Nandor out of cut glass, it's just like, you know what I mean? It's just like the work that goes into it. That's how much someone is committed to a storyline and character and how much they love them and their love language is showing through art and we love that the fans love us.
What We Do In the Shadows Season 4 premieres on FX on Tuesday, Jul 12th at 10 p.m. ET. New episodes stream on Hulu the following day.0comments