Mark Proksch as Colin in WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS - Season 1 - "Pilot" | ©2019 FX/John P Johnson

Mark Proksch as Colin in WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS – Season 1 – “Pilot” | ©2019 FX/John P Johnson

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, the comedy about vampires in Staten Island created by Jemaine Clement, is now in its second season on FX on Wednesday nights (thereafter available on FX on Hulu).

Mark Proksch plays Colin Robinson, a vampire unlike his housemates. Whereas Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) are all conventional blood-drinkers, Colin is an energy vampire, who feeds off human boredom. He preys on city council meetings and lines at the DMV; his idea of a banquet is sitting in the audience for a high school production of OUR TOWN, followed by a Q&A.

Proksch, originally from Onalaska, Wisconsin, recurred on the U.S. version of THE OFFICE from 2010 through the series finale as Nate. Other credits include SON OF ZORN, BETTER CALL SAUL, APOLLO GAUNTLET, DECKER, and DREAM CORP LLC.

At a Q&A session for WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, Proksch is asked whether he patterned Colin Robinson off of anyone he’s actually met. “Yeah. In my twenties, I did a lot of temp work. And one of the benefits of temping – and there weren’t many – is that you get to go to several different offices throughout the year, and each office has their token energy vampire. And so yeah, I’ve known my fair share, and I probably steal more than I should admit from those moments.”

What about Colin’s speaking voice? Proksch refers to his Wisconsin roots. “It’s one of those things. I just have to call home every once in a while, and it all comes back to me, get my nasally ‘A’s going.” He indicates his cast makes who play vampires. “They always make fun of my voice on set. Even though they’re British.”

Following the Q&A, Proksch makes time for some follow-up discussion.

ASSIGNMENT X: When you first joined the cast of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, did you think Colin was going to be a regular or recurring character?

MARK PROKSCH: When they first made the deal, they wanted to lock me down for the entire pilot season. And I wasn’t ready to commit fully to the project then. So we said, “For the pilot, I’ll be a guest star. And then if it goes to series, we can come back to it and then negotiate.” And that’s why I’m only a guest star in the first. Because it takes months before they decide if they’re going to pick up a TV show, and I didn’t want to be off the market for that long.

Mark Proksch as Colin in WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS - Season 1 - "Pilot" | ©2019 FX/John P Johnson

Mark Proksch as Colin in WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS – Season 1 – “Pilot” | ©2019 FX/John P Johnson

AX: Once you were cast as Colin, you have sort of a tricky job. Because normally, actors are trying to be interesting. Colin as a character is trying to be as boring as possible in order to feed, but you as an actor are trying to make boring be interesting …


AX: Do you even think of it in those terms?

PROKSCH: The way I think of it is, “What would make what I’m saying right now the funniest? Should I go really dry, should I show that I’m feigning interest in it?” So that’s kind of the approach. It’s scene by scene, really. Because you’ll see some scenes that I’m really excited, and trying to be a ham, almost. And then other scenes, I’m very subdued. I just go scene by scene. There are things that I do on the show as the character that I genuinely find annoying.

AX: Colin occasionally levitates, so they sometimes have you up on wires, although not as often as the other vampires. Is that scary, is that fun …?

PROKSCH: I wouldn’t say it’s either. It’s not scary, because we have such a great stunt crew. Fun – you’re very uncomfortable, though, physically when you’re up there. [laughs] It’s unpleasant.

AX: Do you have any additional concerns about when you’re doing wire work on a set with a ceiling?

PROKSCH: No, not really. If anything, taking all the elements out of it and being inside helps.

AX: Do you have a feeling of being separate from the other main characters – because everybody on WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS is kind of an individual anyway –

PROKSCH: Yeah. This season, we’re all together a little more this season, to be honest with you. I feel like, along with Harvey [Guillen]’s character [Guillermo, the human assistant], I’m a way in for the audience, because no one’s an actual vampire, but people actually know energy vampires – maybe not the actual supernatural villain, but I think that for my character, being on the outside a little bit is a benefit.

Mark Proksch as Colin Robinson in WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS - Season 2 | ©2020 FX/Pari Dukovic

Mark Proksch as Colin Robinson in WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS – Season 2 | ©2020 FX/Pari Dukovic

AX: Do you experience camaraderie with your fellow cast members?

PROKSCH: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

AX: Because sometimes we’ll hear about an actor who’s playing somebody who’s isolated, that they go and isolate themselves …

PROKSCH: Oh, no, not at all. No, I’m not Method or anything like that. We all have a great time on set, and on the weekends, we all go out for dinner and stuff like that. No, I don’t separate myself for that.

AX: Not asking for spoilers, but what was the most surprising or fun thing for you in the first season?

PROKSCH: I turned into a gecko, but [it didn’t make the final cut of the episode]. And that was really fun, because it looked amazing, but they just didn’t have time for it.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS Season 2?

PROKSCH: Honestly, and I know people say this all the time, but I think we really upped the game in Season 2.

This interview was conducted during FX’s portion of the Winter 2020 Television Critics Association (TMark Proksch as Colin Robinson in WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS – Season 2 | CA) press tour.

Related: Exclusive Interview with WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS actor Harvey Guillen on Season 2

Related: Exclusive Interview with WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS executive producer Paul Simms

Related: Exclusive Interview with Natasia Demetriou on Season 1 of the FX comedy based on the film

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Article: Exclusive Interview with WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS actor Mark Proksch on Season 2


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