WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS flies into its third season in a double episode on Thursday, September 2, on FX, with episodes available the following day on Hulu and on FX on Demand. Prior to the Season 3 premiere, the show has already been picked up for Season 4. The comedy series, based on the film of the same name, follows the adventures of a quartet of vampires and their human familiar in Staten Island, New York.
Mark Proksch plays Colin Robinson. Unlike his blood-drinking housemates, Colin is an energy vampire, who feeds by boring people.
At the end of Season 2, the vampires had been condemned to death by the Vampiric Council, only to be rescued by their familiar Guillermo (Harvey Guillėn), who turns out to be a descendant of the legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing.
In a virtual Q&A session FX holds for WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS for the Television Critics Association press tour, Proksch answers some questions about Colin Robinson. He follows this up with a one-on-one Zoom interview (also arranged by FX) with Assignment X.
Someone asks if Proksch is surprised by how fondly the WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS has embraced Colin, especially given that the character is meant to be, well, insufferable. Proksch replies, “I’m always surprised when anything I do is embraced by an audience. But I think it’s a very relatable character and every office across the world has an energy vampire in it. And so, I think it’s cathartic for a lot of people that are working in offices to see a manifestation, a character that embodies all the people they can’t stand in their office.”
Proksch is also asked about a joke Colin Robinson makes in the Season 2 finale about former Major League Baseball player/’80s beer commercial icon Bob Uecker. Was this scripted or improvised, and did anyone else get the joke?
“I don’t know if anyone else got the joke,” Proksch says. “My dad got the joke because we’re from Wisconsin and Bob Uecker is the voice of Milwaukee Brewers, as many of you know. I don’t remember if it was in the script or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the script.”
“I think it was in the script,” adds WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS writer/executive producer Stefani Robinson.
Robinson’s fellow writer/executive producer Paul Simms affirms, “It was [in the script] and I think I wrote it and I think at the time I thought, ‘Mark will get this and maybe Sam Johnson, who’s the other writer in his fifties, will get this. And if anyone else doesn’t, too bad for them because it’s funny and it’s weird’.”
Proksch elaborates, “My dad said that was his favorite joke of the season. So, it kind of says something about my parents and it says something about Paul and Stefani.”
ASSIGNMENT X: Season 3 of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS was made during the COVID-19 pandemic, with COVID protocols. How was that?
MARK PROKSCH: First off, we were very, very grateful that FX and [FX parent company] Disney took it seriously, and they put into place a scenario that allowed us to be comfortable, and allowed us to film. We were all very grateful to be able to work during that time, and safely. So many industries, the corporations that you work for, or whoever, wouldn’t put the amount of money and resources in that it took for us to work, and so we were grateful that [the production company did that].
It had its challenges, obviously, in that there were limitations as to where and when you could film, how many background players you could have, and the safety protocol that was put in place isn’t the most comfortable environment to work in. But it was the environment that was necessary to work. I don’t think the show suffers in any way this season from having to work in those restraints. If anything, I think it forced us all to be a little more creative, and a little more efficient when it came to filming. And so, yeah, overall, we were just grateful to have the job.
AX: In Season 2, there was a big Colin Robinson episode, “Colin’s Promotion,” where Colin was so successful at boring people in the office where he worked that his powers increased vastly, to the point where he wound up multiplying into at least three Colins. The Colins all attempted to bore each other to death and imploded, leaving behind a regular Colin. How was doing all those scenes opposite yourself?
PROKSCH: It was fun. I specifically remember that, because it was, I think, 2 AM or 3 AM, and we were all exhausted, and all I remember thinking was that I wanted to get it right the first time each time, so that the crew could go home. It was a long, long day for them. And in that scenario, it really was just me, three times. In that type of situation, you just want to get it right the first or second time. Otherwise, you’re going to have the crew start to get annoyed at you, and that’s the last thing you ever want [laughs].
AX: Did you try to differentiate between the different Colin Robinsons?
PROKSCH: Yeah, I did. And I don’t know if it plays or not in the scene, but I did. One was kind of the alpha, and the other two were kind of beta. One was a little bit more, in my mind, a little bit more of a noodge [Yiddish for an annoying person]. So, yeah, I did try to differentiate them a teeny bit. I don’t know if it comes off.
AX: Well, they seemed a little different from each other, but I wasn’t sure if that was oomph you were putting into it, or the way it was written, or a combination thereof …
PROKSCH: As much oomph as I can put into something, I was doing [laughs].
AX: In another Season 2 episode “The Return,” Colin does battle against an Internet troll, who turns out to be an actual giant troll, voiced by series creator Jemaine Clement.
PROKSCH: Yeah. I was acting against a tennis ball on a broomstick [standing in on set for the giant CGI troll], and Jemaine, who was doing the voice offscreen, and I would just ad-lib and improvise as much as we could. Jemaine’s a big proponent of throwing the script away. And that was one of those instances where I had to fight for making sure we got the script as written on film [laughs]. That was an interesting scene to film, simply because you’re acting against an inanimate object. So, it takes a take or two to get used to that.
AX: Colin is usually fairly even-keeled, but once in a while, he gets revved up about something – like the troll, for instance. When that happens, do you feel like you have to go into a completely different gear, or do you find that energy as a reservoir of Colin somewhere?
PROKSCH: I think it’s a reservoir of Colin, definitely. This season, you’ll see some angry outbursts from Colin, and I think that comes from frustration. And any time he gets really energized about something, it’s usually because he’s tweaking on energy, he’s had too much energy ingested throughout the day, and he just starts to [act out] a little bit. So, I think they both come from Colin Robinson.
AX: Colin spouts a lot of various facts, some of which are actually interesting. Has he ever said anything where you went, “Let me look that up, let me find out more about that”?
PROKSCH: You know, they’ll give me a line, usually, or tell me a subject area, or have me pick a subject area, and so, that’s me just kind of coming up with those, in my bank of useless and interesting factoids. That’s usually just subject areas that I’m interested in. He needs to be able to sound natural, and I think for me to do that, I would have to know that subject material pretty good in order to sound natural, and not as if I’m reading from a script, or as if I memorized some lines. You’re the first person to ever tell me that some of those are interesting, because I find them interesting, obviously, if have kept those in my memory bank as long as I have, so …
AX: You’ve previously mentioned that there are things about Colin that you find annoying. What are those?
PROKSCH: Oh, gosh. I’m so different from Colin. Or I hope I’m different from Colin. I find him very grating – not necessarily him going off on his fun facts, and useless information, more in how he treats other people, and how he tries to set up people to fail. I find that very annoying. You know, it’s an interesting question, because I’ve come to like him more and more as I play him more and more. And so, I think that I’m evolving, either as a person, or the character is evolving [laughs]. I don’t know which is good.
AX: Has anybody ever approached you about doing commercials in the Colin Robinson persona?
PROKSCH: No. And it’s interesting – I’ve been approached to do commercials, and I kind of have a “no commercial” policy, simply because I don’t like commercials. And so, if I get mad at commercials, and annoyed, I don’t want to be the face of that commercial when other people see it. So …
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS actor Mark Proksch on Season 3 – Part 1