WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, the FX comedy created by Jemaine Clement, based on the film of the same name, begins its second season on Wednesday, April 15. Vampires Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) are all still living and squabbling together in their Staten Island mansion. However, there’s a big change for Nandor’s loyal human servant Guillermo, played by Harvey Guillen. Last season, Nandor and Guillermo researched their family trees. Nandor found out he had numerous descendants from his long-ago days as a living man. Guillermo discovered that he is related to the Van Helsings, which sets up this season’s quandary for him.
Guillen, originally from Orange County, California, has previously had arcs on THE MAGICIANS, THE THUNDERMANS, EYE CANDY, and HUGE, and was a producer on the comedy series THE FILTH. His film credits include THE BODY and THE INTERNSHIP.
ASSIGNMENT X: Are you enjoying the playing Guillermo as Nandor’s human familiar, or do you want him to get vamped?
HARVEY GUILLEN: I’m enjoying playing Guillermo just in general, just because he’s such a layered character, and where we left off with the season finale, he’s just more than we thought he was. And so you never judge a book by its cover, it’s a great message.
AX: Can you tease if Guillermo leans more into his Van Helsing heritage in WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS Season 2?
GUILLEN: We will definitely be going into the Van Helsing side of the storyline. From the get-go, from Episode 1, Season 2, we’ll start diving into that, and they’ll be more hidden surprises along the way as well.
AX: Sometimes WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS has storylines, like the accidental killing of the Count, played by Doug Jones, which seemed like it was going to be a big thing, but once our main characters escaped from the vampire council, it seemed to have been dropped.
GUILLEN: Right. Well, things don’t always disappear, and people don’t always die, and people come back, and you’re always surprised by what’s around the corner.
AX: So the Count might come back?
GUILLEN: As you saw, we buried him, but also there’s always that possibility that he might be alive, because if you look closely, his eyes open. But I can’t deny or confirm if he comes back.
AX: Do we know if Guillermo has ever been romantically involved with anyone? Because on the one hand, he seems like he might be virginal. On the other hand, the vampires are constantly seeking virgin blood, and they don’t seem to think of Guillermo as an edible virgin …
GUILLEN: That’s a really good question. This season, that question is brought up. And you semi-get an answer, because of the situation that the vampires are in, but also it leaves you with the question of, is he maybe half a virgin, or maybe not fully virgin? So people can be half a virgin and not fully virgin, so …
AX: Like being half a vampire? We’ve seen that …
GUILLEN: Yeah. So we’re up with that.
AX: Not getting spoilery, but do you have a favorite scene or favorite episode from the first season of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS?
GUILLEN: My favorite scene from Season 1 – there was a scene that you never saw, it ended up being on the editing room floor, unfortunately, but in the pilot, there was the day that Guillermo was getting ready to become a vampire, that he thought he was going to be made into a vampire, and he’s outside raking the leaves, and he’s taking in the sun for the last time. And he has this moment – and Taika [Waititi, co-creator and director of the WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS feature film] directed that scene – and he just takes the sun in for the last time, thinking that he’ll never feel that again. And I thought that was so beautiful and so great to feel something for the last time that he thought he’ll never see again, and unfortunately for him, he doesn’t become a vampire.
AX: Did you have a Season 1 scene that was particularly difficult for you, either emotionally or just in terms of physically doing the stunts?
GUILLEN: Yeah. Season 1, I would say the most difficult scene was just trying to keep Guillermo’s composure when things don’t go his way. The human reaction is just – sometimes you can mask it really well, and sometimes you can’t, and I feel like with Guillermo, he unfortunately can’t hide his facial expressions, and so when he’s not having a good day, he shows it, and you can see that in most of the times where he’s having a bad day.
AX: What does Guillermo think of Nandor’s attempts to be kind to him? It seems like Nandor is doing as much as he can, but he’s just not capable of very much …
GUILLEN: I think that shows the frustration in all of us in everyday life. We all have a boss that overlooks us for a promotion, we all have a love interest or a crush that doesn’t look our way. And I think that we all can relate to Guillermo in that way because I think that someone at Comic-Con put it perfectly. He’s the people’s familiar, because he represents all of us. We’ve all been, at one point or another, a Guillermo in our lives. We’ve all been in his shoes. We’ve all been overlooked, we’ve all been unloved, we’ve all been unappreciated. And people can only take so much. Eventually, you take matters into your own hands. And sometimes that’s what we need to do, is take matters into our own hands.
AX: Did you enjoy the scene where you as Guillermo are yelling at Nandor, “What are you bitching about? You’re a vampire!”
GUILLEN: Yeah. That was fun, because Kayvan kept improvising that scene, because he’s like, “I’ve never seen you do this before!” And I was like, “I know, it feels good to vent out as Guillermo.” Because it builds up as the actor and as the character. And you will definitely see more of that in Season 2.
AX: Does Guillermo love Nandor in a romantic way, or does he just kind of go, “Okay, he’s a vamp, and I love vamps, and he’s my vamp”?
GUILLEN: I feel that their relationship is very hard to explain. I always compare it to different things. Sometimes I compare it to Smithers and Mr. Burns in THE SIMPSONS, and sometimes I’ll compare it to a love affair, but not really. It’s really complex, because it’s a love/hate relationship, but it’s mostly love. I feel that wherever that falls into place, where it’s sexually attractive, or not platonic, not adulterated, I feel like it has so many elements where people can relate to it, and not necessarily be like, “Is this a queer relationship? Does he love him?” I love that we’re always on the beam, or on the tightrope on it, and people are always questioning it, which I think is great, because we go through life sometimes questioning things like that, and that’s just fair. It’s just human nature.
AX: It’s a little bit of WAITING FOR GODOT, almost …
GUILLEN: Yeah. Another perfect example is WAITING FOR GODOT. I feel like there are just so many beautiful colors to the relationship between both of them. I always say that I love playing that, because that’s the one thing that people can really relate to. As vampires, they’re always bitching or they can be kind of assholes to Guillermo, but the one thing that keeps it going is that, even though he’s a vampire, he [Nandor] does have a soft spot for him, and Guillermo definitely has a soft spot for his master, and so that’s what keeps it going, and human, is the relationship with people, and what makes us keep going is the love that we have for someone.
AX: Does Guillermo have any feelings about Laszlo and Nadia, or does he just put up with them because they come with Nandor?
GUILLEN: I don’t know that he really has feelings for Laszlo, Nadia or Colin [the energy vampire played by Mark Proksch]. They are true vampires, in the sense that they are self-absorbed, they only care about their next sexual pleasure or their next meal, and the only person who has shown any interest or any compassion is Nandor, and so he attaches himself to that. Because remember, at the end of the day, Guillermo is human, and humans are driven by emotions, and those vampires don’t have those emotions [laughs]. They’re eternal, they live forever, so they don’t have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings, or saying the wrong thing. And as a human, you always worry about that. And the only person who has any kind of compassion, even a slight compassion to that, is Nandor.
AX: Do you have any other projects going on we should know about?
GUILLEN: Yeah. I have a new series on Apple+ TV, LITTLE AMERICA, that [premiered] in January, so I’m really excited about that, and the storylines that they’ve created for that show are really amazing. So I have that, and ROOM 104 for HBO is coming out as well.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about Season 2 of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS that you’re allowed to say?
GUILLEN: Season 2 is going to be full of surprises. I was even surprised as the actor reading the scripts, and it’s going to be such a pleasant ride. I think that if you loved the Season 1 finale, you’re going to love the Season 2 finale.
This interview was conducted during FX’s party for the Winter 2020 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS actor Harvey Guillen on Season 2