FX’s new vampire mockumentary series WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, premiering Wednesday March 27, is based on the 2014 feature film. Both are created by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer also worked on the film script), and both revolve around small groups of vampires who believe they’re a lot cooler than they really are.
However, in the TV version of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, the story is set in Staten Island, New York, rather than the movie’s New Zealand, and we’ve got a whole new group of vamps (Clement and Waititi, who both starred in the film, are still involved as writers/executive producers). Their exploits are chronicled by a documentary crew.
Natasia Demetriou plays Nadja, an Eastern European/Greek vampire who is perpetually exasperated by her two roommates, the somewhat courtly Laszlo (Matt Berry) and the huge warrior Nandor (Kayvan Novak). Early on, Nadja decides to help out a nerdy college student (Beanie Feldstein) by turning her. Meanwhile, the vampires’ leader, the Count (Doug Jones), expects them all to get on with the business of conquering Staten Island, which they’re not really equipped to do.
Demetriou is British, of Greek heritage. Besides an abundance of British TV credits, Demetrious has a background in stand-up comedy, and has created/written for the British TV series MIDNIGHT BEAST and YEAR FRIENDS.
ASSIGNMENT X: You speak with an English accent in real life, but Nadja sounds Eastern European. When you were cast, do you know if the thinking was, “Well, we think of vampires as being either Transylvanian or British,” and did they give you a choice as to her accent?
NATASIA DEMETRIOU: No, I think the script really was prescriptive as to how she spoke, and also, I know Jemaine’s wife is Greek, and we share lots of funny stories, because my father’s Cypriot. So to me, it made a lot of sense that she has an accent, because she can’t pronounce the name “Jeff.” Jeff, her secret lover, she can’t pronounce his name. She’s like “Jess,” “Jesk.”
AX: Before you became involved with WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, were you a fan of either vampires or mockumentaries?
DEMETRIOU: Oh, yes, of course. Christopher Guest’s [work, including] BEST IN SHOW, they’re my favorite films, and then WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS I thought was amazing. I loved TWILIGHT so much. So yeah, big fan.
AX: How does Nadja view her relationship with Beanie Feldstein’s character, who she turns into a vampire?
DEMETRIOU: She loves Beanie so much. I think Beanie and her relationship shows a real kind side of Nadia. She wants to look after her and help her, and mothers her. Because she doesn’t have children, it’s her mothering quality. [Sometimes it’s more like] a lover. I think it gave my character a chance to be really, really weird, because the boys are quite goofy. And then when I’m with her, I’m an absolute psychopath, which is perfect. And I hope lots of women can relate to being psychopaths.
AX: Do you ever get to decide when your character gets especially vampiric, or is that always scripted?
DEMETRIOU: Some of it’s scripted. Some of it, we’d end up improvising a fight. If in doubt, bare your teeth, just get annoyed and bare your teeth.
AX: Was it difficult adjusting to the fangs?
DEMETRIOU: In the pilot, the first time I hissed, my teeth shot out. Like all vampires when they hiss.
AX: Do you have to go up on flying wires when Nadja goes airborne?
DEMETRIOU: All the time.
AX: What’s that like?
DEMETRIOU: Incredible. It’s so much fun. It’s actually way more fun being up in the air. It’s so uncomfortable [being in the harness] when you’re on the ground, but when you’re up in the air, you’re like, “This is great.” But you have to wear a big harness, and you feel like a big newborn baby, because you can’t do anything for yourself. But yeah.
AX: Did you discover anything in working with the other actors playing vampires about your character?
DEMETRIOU: Yeah, totally. I think the characters evolved, and we did lots of improv, and I felt like, by the end of filming it, I knew who Nadia was so much more, and the limits I could push it to.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS?
DEMETRIOU: That it’s a funny show that will cheer you up, that will give you a good laugh, and people have worked really hard on it.
This interview was conducted during FX’s portion of the Winter 2019 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with Natasia Demetriou on Season 1 of the FX comedy based on the film