At a Television Critics Association presentation, FX held a panel for the network’s TV adaptation of What We Do in the Shadows, and creators Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, showrunner Paul Simms, and the cast of all new vampire characters were there. In a clip, they introduced the show’s newest form of vampire: an energy vampire. Colin Robinson (Mark Proksh) sucks people’s energy through boring conversation or annoying distractions, and the show treats this as a facet of vampire mythology (we got a glimpse of this in the brand new trailer as well). Learn more details about the upcoming comedy below.
The What We Do in the Shadows TV Show Introduces the Deadliest Vampire of All
I’m sure everyone can relate to being stuck in a conversation with someone who just won’t let you go. It’s especially aggravating if you work in an office. That’s why I freelance.
“There wasn’t an energy vampire in the movie but you meet a lot of those kind of people at parties,” Clement said. “You just get trapped and it’s somehow, even though you don’t want to be there, they can make the situation that’s impossible to extract yourself. You need someone to save you. Just thinking if that was a real supernatural power [and] Mark has a really great ability: he can improvise it seems like for infinity, just boring subject matter, endlessly come up with it.”
Proksh said we will find out the mythology of energy vampires as the series continues:
“It’s still evolving. They are coming up with the rules as we film. I think that’ll be an interesting area for people watching the show to see how this character came about, what his backstory is. I’m a relatively boring person in real life so I feel like my interest in real life, I bring into my babbling brook of bullshit when I’m improvising on this show.”
The Show is Not the Movie Sequel They Had Planned
What We Do In The Shadows premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and it was eventually released by The Orchard in the United States, where it made over three million dollars. Waititi and Clement wanted to make a movie sequel, but they both got busy.
“We always had plans to make another film but other things got in the way,” Waititi said. “Thor: Ragnarok which was this gigantic movie. So that got in the way of our plans to make a werewolf movie which was in the same universe as the vampire movie. We keep talking about that.”
Instead, the FX TV series takes place in New York with a new group of vampires living together. That means Waititi and Clement will not reprise their movie roles.
“I wasn’t good enough,” Clement joked. “Also have done it in the past writing a show that I’m in [Flight of the Conchords] and it’s very difficult to do both. At the time we thought Taika wouldn’t be able to be in it because he was making the Thor movie. So it didn’t make any sense to have not him and the rest of us. It’s set in America, different people.”
Waititi and Clement spent 14 months editing the footage from the movie, and some of those deleted moments may find their way into an episode.
“Some ideas we thought about from the movie,” Clement said. “I can’t think of what they are but I know in the writers room I’d also be saying, ‘Something we tried to get in the movie.’”
Simms said the opposite is true, too. “Just as often we pitch something and they say, ‘We did it in the movie.’”
Clement did confirm that the New York vampires exist in the same universe as the New Zealand vampires from the film, whether we see the New Zealand vamps or not.
Mockumentary Becomes Reality TV
Watching episodes of What We Do In The Shadows feels very much like shorter installments of the movie. The mockumentary style of the movie lent itself to a faux reality TV series starring vampires.
“We think of it like a Housewives [show],” Clement said. “You don’t wonder how did they get into this house full of housewives. They’re following them because they’re vampires and it’s an interesting point of view.”
However, the vampires’ reality show probably won’t enjoy the popularity or lucrative spinoffs the Real Housewives have. The fictional show airs on FX, but Clement imagines the film crew following the vampires does not have a network.
“I picture it [as] this documentary crew is making a film that no one watches,” he said.
There Will Be Werewolves
In the movie, the vampires had a rivalry with a group of werewolves with their own set of rules (“We’re werewolves, not swearwolves”). There will still be werewolves in New York.
“There’s some werewolves in the series,” Clement said. “They’re not New Zealand werewolves. They’re American werewolves so they swear more. East Coasters.”
They Have a Healthy VFX Budget
FX gave What We Do in the Shadows a bigger budget than their indie movie, although Waititi was quick to point out it’s not as big as Thor: Ragnarok. Some of the visual effects include transformations into bats and wire removal for floating vampires, but don’t expect to see too many major VFX shots.
“Because it’s a documentary crew, you’d never get the really cool shot of what’s happening anyway,” Clement said. “Someone has to run up and get it. So a giant fall off a building, you won’t see that. You’ll see them on the ground. It’s always within that frame of ‘would a camera be able to catch it?’”
When you do see the effect, the goal will be to make it look grounded, not like a cheesy spoof.
“To make these incredibly silly things look real as opposed to a parody of bad effects,” Simms outlined.
Clement added, “We try to make it all look real.”
How Vampires Show Up On Camera
A reporter asked the creators of What We Do In The Shadows how the vampires show up on film, since they have no reflections. Turns out, Waititi and Clement thought about this in detail.
“It’s not on film,” Waititi said for starters. “It’s on digital. Digital cameras are mirrorless.”
Even with film cameras, it’s only the mirrors that can’t see vampires. The film itself still can.
“Vampires, when you use an old camera, you have the viewfinder that has a mirror, you’ll look in the viewfinder you won’t see them,” Clement said. “Don’t worry, you’ll come out.”
Waititi continued, “They would show up on film. The operator wouldn’t be able to see them and that was a huge problem back in those days.”
What We Do In The Shadows is coming this March to FX.
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