The poor news: vampires live among us. The an excellent news: they"re simply as bored together the remainder of us, even though they can live forever. That"s the conceit the What We execute in the Shadows.

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First, it was a film — Taika Waititi and also Jemaine Clement directed while likewise starring as centuries-old bloodsuckers Viago and also Vladislav, respectively, roommates through brash vampire Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and the horrifying Petyr (Ben Fransham). The cameras document their fairly mundane stays in Wellington, new Zealand — increasing at night, hitting a listless club, and also squabbling over the dishes, all while dressing like an intricate counts and drinking the blood of innocents. 

In 2019, FX began airing a TV version of What We carry out in the Shadows, a mockumentary choose Modern Family, but about vampires, in certain four vampires — Nandor the non-saw (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and also Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), accompanied by an overworked familiar named guillermo (Harvey Guillen) — who share a spooky residence on Staten Island.

Take a watch behind the cloak and also feast heartily on these stories about the make of What We perform in the Shadows.


Before What We do in the Shadows was a TV show, it was a movie of the exact same name, i m sorry premiered at the Sundance film Festival in 2014. The was the end result of about a decade of attempting to gain the movie made and also in the can. Ago in 2005, brand-new Zealand-based actors and also filmmakers Taika Waititi and also Jemaine Clement wrote, directed, and played the key roles in the 27-minute mockumentary What We do in the Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires. it didn"t obtain much traction, and so Waititi and also Clement moved on to different projects. Because that Waititi, that supposed directing the Oscar-nominated brief film "Two Cars, One Night," and also the films Eagle vs. Shark and Boy, and a couple of episodes that Flight the the Conchords, the HBO series about a wannabe absent duo co-created by and also co-starring Clement. 

About four years ~ they made the short, the duo obtained to job-related writing the feature version. And then it take it another 4 years after the to obtain the manufacturing off the ground. That was modifying that verified the many time-sucking of every the tasks: Waititi called Empire the the film"s 87-minute to run time is the an outcome of carefully winnowing under 125 hrs of footage. "We could made the a three hour film," the claims.


What We perform in the Shadows has already produced a effective spinoff — the TV variation for FX, with brand-new characters, which introduced its 2nd season in April 2020. Creators Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement apparently have a totality universe of superordinary monsters in the works. Wellington Paranormal premiered ~ above TVNZ in Waititi and Clement"s homeland of new Zealand in July 2018. No yet easily accessible outside of that country and Australia, it concentrates on policemans Minogue (Mike Minogue) and also O"Leary (Karen O"Leary) from the What We do in the Shadows film as they inspection spooky occurrences roughly Wellington in their acquainted deadpan, mockumentary style.

Another big-screen endeavor might be top top the way, too. This follow-up documentary will certainly be around the oft-confrontational werewolf assistance group from the initial What We carry out in the Shadows, led through Rhys Darby as Anton. Waititi plans come reunite with Clement to write and also direct the spin-off, which, in a little bit of hilarious wordplay, is called We"re Wolves.


Spoiler alert because that those who haven"t watched the What We do in the Shadows film: Petyr (Ben Fransham), the an especially ghoulish 8,000-year-old vampire who stays in a sarcophagus in the basement, dies as soon as a vampire hunter division in and also dear, sweet Petyr is exposed come sunlight, instantly turning him into a charred, black color lifeless corpse. The film"s prop makers had to construct that scorched figure not just for the minute his roommates find him, but for a planned scene in i m sorry Petyr it s okay a interment at sea of sorts, when his other vampires collection it adrift in a Wellington harbor together they bid that goodbye. 

After place the prop corpse in the water, filmmakers Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement shed control and sight of the thing. "It was rather realistic looking," Waititi called the New zealand Herald, "so we had to placed a press release the end saying the if anyone find this burned body washed increase on a beach, don"t it is in alarmed, it"s simply a prop." As far as the knows, the body never ever did come ashore... And also the scene in question didn"t even make it right into the final reduced of the movie.


The vampires in What We perform in the Shadows space not the common brooding and also frightening creatures the the night. Castle certainly shot to be together romantic and mysterious as the usual perception the a vampire would certainly require, however they simply can"t gain the cave of it. Viago (Taika Waititi) is awfully cheery and innocent-seeming for someone who kills people, when Vladislav hides his pining for an old girlfriend by trying come be together dramatic as possible. Both gibbs (who also happened to devise What We perform in the Shadows) traction from disparate resources to flesh the end their characters. 

According to The Independent, Waititi based Viago"s sunny and effervescent disposition on his very own mother"s personality. Together for that silly method he speaks, that comes from a stranger. "He"s partly this man I when met once I was traveling: a German male who just had actually a very high-pitched voice," Waititi called Empire. His name: Phillip, although Waititi says he wanted to be called "Mr. Happy." as for Vlad, Clement based that on a classic: counting Dracula, especially Gary Oldman"s portrayal of the renowned vampire in the 1992 film Bram Stoker"s Dracula.


Every job-related of vampire fiction makes use of "rules" under i m sorry its people operates. Plot contrivances end up being common knowledge around vampires, together as just how they don"t show up in mirrors and can die if castle go out in the sun. Each major vampire movie, book, or TV display has its own rules, including the What We carry out in the Shadows universe. Fairly than comprise a whole new mythos, though, the creators decided to take on the vampire dicta that are most likely the many universally familiar: those the Bram Stoker"s 1897 gothic horror novel Dracula. It"s from that novel whereby so lot vampire society stems, such as the creatures" aversion to crucifixes. "We stuck with the Bram Stoker rules," Jemaine Clement told Empire. 

"I think that era was where the rules came from, that they deserve to transform into bats and also so on," Taika Waititi adds. "We"ve gone because that the movie-Dracula Dracula."

That said, What We carry out in the Shadows takes location in a world where other significant vampire movies and also shows exist. In the TV show, Nandor (Kayvan Novak) buys glitter so that he might sparkle choose Edward Cullen go in Twilight. His familiar, Guillermo, speak of his desire to end up being a vampire after ~ watching Interview v the Vampire and also becoming enamored the Antonio Banderas" character, Armand.

When Taika Waititi and also Jemaine Clement adjusted the What We carry out in the Shadows film right into a TV show, castle switched the setting from new Zealand come Staten Island. This called for a actors of all-new characters, consisting of Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), the franchise"s an initial American, and also its first "energy vampire," a creature that feeds no on blood however on the psychic and mental energy of others... By boring them fifty percent to death with dull conversation and un-fun funny facts.

Energy vampire is "a term I"ve heard offered to describe people who are challenging to talk to, and also I"ve definitely been cornered through these civilization at parties. Those civilization that you feeling you need to be conserved from," Clement said The Hollywood Reporter. "It was just taking the to the superordinary level." Proksch improvises many of Colin Robinson"s torturous dronings. "A lot of it"s not on the page, he can just perform that endlessly," Clement notes.

Both the film and TV iterations the What We carry out in the Shadows make use of the same catchy opening template song. It"s mildly spooky — fitting because that a show around vampires — but with the crisp, folk-influenced British invasion sound and relative obscurity, that would definitely be at home on the soundtrack the a Wes Anderson movie. (The singer does have actually a vocal resemblance to Colin Blunstone that the Zombies, however using a song by the zombie in a vampire movie is simply a little too on the nose.) 

That tune is called, accordingly enough, "You"re Dead." The film"s editor, Tom Eagles, amassed a collection of songs around death, and also turned directors Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement on come the song. Lock eventually determined to usage it because that the opening montage of old photographs and also drawings. To get permission, the production had to track down the woman who wrote and also performed it in 1966: American individual singer Norma Tanega. The late performer (she died in 2019) is a one-hit wonder in the U.S., but not for "You"re Dead." Her just charting track is the same odd-yet-charming "Walkin" mine Cat named Dog," which hit #22 top top the Billboard warm 100 in 1966.

It took a lengthy time because that What We do in the Shadows the movie to end up being What We do in the Shadows the television series. The film to be released in 2014, and although filmmakers Taika Waititi and also Jemaine Clement virtually immediately entertained offers to rotate it right into a show, it didn"t hit cable TV till 2019. It"s mostly because Waititi go on to become an in-demand filmmaker. He command the Marvel Cinematic cosmos entry Thor: Ragnarok, and then wrote and also directed the civilization War II comedy Jojo Rabbit, in which that co-starred together an imagine Hitler and won one Academy Award for Best adjusted Screenplay. In short, he had actually a many on his plate, and could efficiently put off even thinking about making a TV variation of What We carry out in the Shadows — miscellaneous he claims he and Clement didn"t really want to do. 

"We didn"t psychic the idea of that existing, but the idea of us doing the was simply a most work," Waititi called Vulture. While he"s an executive producer on the series and has actually directed a few episodes, he mainly left regulate — and also labor — to Clement. It"s not precisely a how amazing decision — the pilot was ordered right as soon as Waititi acquired offered Thor. "I couldn"t watch any method that I might be totally affiliated in the display and the film, so i made Jemaine carry out it," the half-joked.

What We perform in the Shadows stepped it up in its seventh episode. ~ the vampire Baron dies on your watch, the main characters must go before a the supervisory board of vampires, which is composed of movie and also TV vampires that the last 20 years. The twist: the functions are reprised by the actors who lugged them come life, other than they beat "themselves," implying the they additionally happen to it is in offscreen vampires. Among the one-of-a-kind guest stars: Paul Reubens (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Evan Rachel hardwood (True Blood), Danny Trejo (From Dusk it rotates Dawn), Tilda Swinton (Only lover Left Alive), Wesley Snipes (Blade), and all 3 living vampires native the What We carry out in the Shadows movie, noting the first appearances by Jemaine Clement and also Taika Waititi on their own show. 

The duo to be interested in cameos, yet couldn"t figure out a reason, until Clement remembered the he"d met Swinton in ~ SXSW when both were presenting their particular vampire films. "She said, "Do something where our vampire personalities are together,"" that told Entertainment Weekly. "I simply locked the away in my brain," until he devised the tribunal idea.

Many other stars couldn"t make it. Kiefer Sutherland (The shed Boys) turned that down, Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) was filming in Australia, and Cate Blanchett to let go out, too. The Oscar winner reportedly really wanted to come, till Waititi establish she"d been put on the perform of fictional vampires by wrong — she"s never ever actually played a bloodsucker.

The long-form structure of TV"s What We carry out in the Shadows offers an possibility for writers to really check out what everyday life is favor for an ageless being. And also the answer to the question: it"s boring and monotonous. In that regard, the show"s biggest influence isn"t monster movies. "The Office was around the tedium of functioning in one office and nothing really ever before changes, or once something changes it conveniently goes earlier to gift tedious," showrunner Paul Simms said The Hollywood Reporter. "In this show, it"s type of like, take that and also multiply the by hanging out with the same people for 200 years and also being ailing of every other." 

A main resource of comedy on What We do in the Shadows is how pathetic it is the the vampires, granted seemingly boundless time ~ above Earth, have totally squandered that gift. "Part of what"s funny about the display is the these vampires had actually 200 years during which they might have done anything they wanted — they could"ve learned any kind of language, composed 1,000 books, come to be proficient in any type of musical instrument," Simms said, "and every they"ve really done is satellite around and bickered with each other."

FX"s What We carry out in the Shadows takes ar on Staten Island, brand-new York, but it actually films in Toronto, comprised to resemble the American suburban enclave. The sprawling home where Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja, Colin Robinson, and Guillermo reside is even a provided house the horrors — or in ~ the the very least the one offered to shoot the an initial season is. Prior to the comedy-horror production moving in, it was offered to movie the big-screen variation of Stephen King"s It. The second season was shot in a different house, fan to a last-minute production emergency. 

"Right prior to we acquired to Toronto to start shooting again, we were told that us couldn"t usage the vampire house that we"d to be using," showrunner Paul Simms called The Hollywood Reporter. "That was our biggest production struggle." The series" crew had to develop a new house exterior to enhance the initial one. And then castle "started getting much more ambitious," adding on a larger topiary garden and a koi pond in the parking the majority of the soundstage where internal scenes room captured.

In the sublimely silly second-season What We perform in the Shadows episode "On the Run," Laszlo assumes a brand-new identity in Pennsylvania as a "regular human bartender" named "Jackie Daytona," disguising self with just a pair of jeans and a toothpick. And yet, that works against the factor he ran away: Jim the Vampire, to whom he fan a very little and old debt. Jim is played by Star Wars legend mark Hamill, who got the duty because he"s a substantial What We carry out in the Shadows fan. He delighted in the movie however didn"t think the present would be great because Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement weren"t in it — but then he to be wrong. "I always get nervous about shows ns like, because I discover something i really love and also it it s okay canceled. So ns tweeted about it several times, make the efforts to acquire my pendant to give it a try," Hamill said Vulture.

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"Apparently that"s what put me on their radar, and the next thing I recognize they asked me to come on their show." Hamill suspect he"d be offered a small function — a civil servant, or neighbor. When offered the function of Jim the Vampire, he claims he "just flipped out."

Hamill"s guest-star function elevated the show"s profile simply as his tweets had. "On the Run" even earned one Emmy compensation nomination for exceptional Writing because that a Comedy collection (one of 3 that What We do in the Shadows earned in the category).