The negative news: vampires live amongst us. The an excellent news: they"re simply as bored as the rest of us, also though they deserve to live forever. That"s the conceit the What We carry out in the Shadows.

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First, it was a film — Taika Waititi and 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 paper their fairly mundane lives in Wellington, new Zealand — rising at night, hitting a listless club, and also squabbling over the dishes, all while dressing like sophisticated counts and also drinking the blood the innocents. 

In 2019, FX began airing a TV variation of What We execute in the Shadows, a mockumentary favor Modern Family, but about vampires, in certain four vampires — Nandor the sewage (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), accompanied by an overworked acquainted named billy (Harvey Guillen) — that share a spooky residence on Staten Island.

Take a look behind the cloak and feast heartily on these stories about the make of What We execute in the Shadows.


Before What We perform in the Shadows to be a TV show, it to be a movie the the very same name, i beg your pardon premiered in ~ the Sundance film Festival in 2014. The was the end an outcome of about a te of attempting to obtain the film made and in the can. Ago in 2005, brand-new Zealand-based actors and also filmmakers Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement wrote, directed, and played the main roles in the 27-minute mockumentary What We do in the Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires. it didn"t get much traction, and so Waititi and Clement moved on to different projects. For Waititi, that expected directing the Oscar-nominated brief film "Two Cars, One Night," and also the movies Eagle vs. Shark and also Boy, and a few episodes the Flight of the Conchords, the HBO collection about a wannabe rock duo co-created by and co-starring Clement. 

About 4 years after ~ they made the short, the duo gained to work-related writing the attribute version. And then it took another 4 years after the to get the production off the ground. It was editing that confirmed the most time-sucking of all the tasks: Waititi said Empire the the film"s 87-minute running time is the result of closely winnowing under 125 hrs of footage. "We could made it a three hour film," the claims.


What We carry out in the Shadows has currently produced a successful spinoff — the TV variation for FX, with new characters, which introduced its second season in April 2020. Creators Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement apparently have a whole universe of supernatural monsters in the works. Wellington Paranormal premiered ~ above TVNZ in Waititi and also Clement"s countryside of brand-new Zealand in July 2018. No yet accessible outside of the country and also Australia, it concentrates on police officers Minogue (Mike Minogue) and O"Leary (Karen O"Leary) native the What We carry out in the Shadows film together they inspection spooky occurrences approximately Wellington in their familiar deadpan, mockumentary style.

Another big-screen endeavor could 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 execute in the Shadows, led by Rhys Darby together Anton. Waititi plans come reunite v Clement to write and also direct the spin-off, which, in a little bit of hilarious wordplay, is dubbed We"re Wolves.


Spoiler alert because that those that haven"t checked out 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 breaks in and also dear, sweet Petyr is exposed come sunlight, instantly turning him into a charred, black lifeless corpse. The film"s prop makers had actually to construct that burned figure not simply for the moment his roommates discover him, however for a planned scene in which Petyr it s okay a interment at sea that sorts, when his fellow vampires collection it adrift in a Wellington harbor as they bid the goodbye. 

After place the prop corpse in the water, filmmakers Taika Waititi and also Jemaine Clement lost control and also sight of the thing. "It was quite realistic looking," Waititi said the New zealand Herald, "so we had to put a press release out saying the if anyone find this burned body washed up on a beach, don"t be alarmed, it"s just a prop." As far as the knows, the body never ever did come ashore... And also the scene in question didn"t also make it right into the final cut of the movie.


The vampires in What We execute in the Shadows room not the typical brooding and frightening creatures that the night. They certainly try to be together romantic and mysterious as the usual perception the a vampire would certainly require, however they just can"t get the hang of it. Viago (Taika Waititi) is awfully cheery and also innocent-seeming because that someone that kills people, if Vladislav hides his pining for an old girlfriend through trying come be together dramatic together possible. Both gibbs (who also happened to devise What We execute in the Shadows) pulled from disparate sources to flesh the end their characters. 

According come The Independent, Waititi based Viago"s sunny and effervescent disposition on his very own mother"s personality. As for that silly way he speaks, that comes from a stranger. "He"s partially this guy I once met as soon as I to be traveling: a German male who just had actually a really high-pitched voice," Waititi told Empire. His name: Phillip, back Waititi states he wanted to be referred to as "Mr. Happy." as for Vlad, Clement based the on a classic: counting Dracula, especially Gary Oldman"s portrayal the the famed vampire in the 1992 film Bram Stoker"s Dracula.


Every work-related of vampire fiction uses "rules" under which its world operates. Plot contrivances come to be common knowledge about vampires, together as how they don"t appear in mirrors and can die if castle go out in the sun. Each major vampire movie, book, or TV present has its own rules, consisting of the What We execute in the Shadows universe. Rather than comprise a whole brand-new mythos, though, the creators decided to embrace the vampire dicta the are likely the most universally familiar: those the Bram Stoker"s 1897 gothic horror novel Dracula. It"s from that novel where so lot vampire society stems, such as the creatures" aversion come crucifixes. "We stuck to the Bram Stoker rules," Jemaine Clement said Empire. 

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

That said, What We execute in the Shadows takes ar in a world where other prominent vampire movies and shows exist. In the TV show, Nandor (Kayvan Novak) buys splendors so the he may sparkle favor Edward Cullen does in Twilight. His familiar, Guillermo, speaks of his desire to become a vampire ~ watching Interview with the Vampire and also becoming enamored that Antonio Banderas" character, Armand.

When Taika Waititi and also Jemaine Clement adjusted the What We carry out in the Shadows film into a TV show, castle switched the setting from brand-new Zealand come Staten Island. This dubbed for a cast of all-new characters, consisting of Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), the franchise"s an initial American, and also its first "energy vampire," a creature who feeds not on blood yet on the psychic and also mental energy of others... By boring them half to fatality with dull conversation and also un-fun funny facts.

Energy vampire is "a ax I"ve heard provided to describe civilization who are difficult to speak to, and also I"ve definitely been cornered through these civilization at parties. Those people that you feel you need to be saved from," Clement told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was just taking that to the mythological level." Proksch improvises most of Colin Robinson"s torturous dronings. "A most it"s no on the page, he have the right to just do that endlessly," Clement notes.

Both the film and TV iterations that What We execute in the Shadows make use of the exact same catchy opening design template song. It"s mildly spooky — fitting because that a show about vampires — however with that crisp, folk-influenced British intrusion sound and also relative obscurity, the would definitely be at house on the soundtrack that a Wes Anderson movie. (The singer does have a vocal resemblance to Colin Blunstone of the Zombies, yet using a tune by the zombies in a vampire movie is just a small too ~ above the nose.) 

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

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

"We didn"t psychic the idea of it existing, yet the idea of united state doing the was just a most work," Waititi told Vulture. While he"s an executive, management producer ~ above the series and has directed a few episodes, he mostly left manage — and labor — to Clement. It"s not precisely a surprising decision — the pilot was ordered right once Waititi gained offered Thor. "I couldn"t watch any method that I can be totally involved in the present and the film, so ns made Jemaine carry out it," that half-joked.

What We execute in the Shadows stepped it up in its seventh episode. ~ the vampire Baron die on their watch, the main personalities must go prior to a council of vampires, which is composed of movie and TV vampires that the last 20 years. The twist: the duties are reprised by the gibbs who lugged them come life, other than they pat "themselves," implying that they additionally happen to it is in offscreen vampires. Among the special guest stars: Paul Reubens (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Evan Rachel lumber (True Blood), Danny Trejo (From Dusk it rotates Dawn), Tilda Swinton (Only lover Left Alive), Wesley Snipes (Blade), and also all 3 living vampires native the What We perform in the Shadows movie, marking the an initial appearances by Jemaine Clement and also Taika Waititi on their very own show. 

The duo was interested in cameos, but couldn"t figure out a reason, till Clement remembered the he"d met Swinton at SXSW when both were presenting their corresponding vampire films. "She said, "Do something wherein our vampire personalities are together,"" he told Entertainment Weekly. "I just locked that away in mine brain," until he devised the tribunal idea.

Many various other stars couldn"t make it. Kiefer Sutherland (The lost Boys) turned it 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, until Waititi realized she"d been put on the list of fictitious vampires by failure — she"s never ever actually played a bloodsucker.

The long-form structure of TV"s What We execute in the Shadows provides an opportunity for writers to really discover what day-to-day life is prefer 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 an office and nothing really ever before changes, or once something transforms it quickly goes back to gift tedious," showrunner Paul Simms called The Hollywood Reporter. "In this show, it"s sort of like, take that and also multiply the by hanging out v the same world for 200 years and being noble of every other." 

A main source of comedy ~ above What We carry out in the Shadows is how pathetic it is that the vampires, granted seemingly infinite time on Earth, have fully squandered that gift. "Part of what"s funny around the display is the these vampires had actually 200 years during which they could have done anything they wanted — castle could"ve learned any kind of language, created 1,000 books, become proficient in any musical instrument," Simms said, "and every they"ve really done is satellite around and also bickered v each other."

FX"s What We perform in the Shadows takes place on Staten Island, brand-new York, yet it actually movies in Toronto, comprised to resemble the American suburban enclave. The sprawling house where Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja, Colin Robinson, and also Guillermo reside is even a provided house of horrors — or in ~ the least the one provided to shooting the first season is. Prior to the comedy-horror production relocating in, the was used to movie the big-screen version of Stephen King"s It. The 2nd season was shot in a different house, fan to a last-minute manufacturing emergency. 

"Right before we got to Toronto to start shooting again, us were said that we couldn"t usage the vampire residence that we"d to be using," showrunner Paul Simms called The Hollywood Reporter. "That was our greatest production struggle." The series" crew had actually to build a new house exterior to complement the original one. And also then castle "started getting more ambitious," adding on a bigger topiary garden and also a koi pond in the parking the majority of the soundstage where inner scenes are captured.

In the sublimely silly second-season What We execute in the Shadows episode "On the Run," Laszlo presume a brand-new identity in Pennsylvania as a "regular human bartender" named "Jackie Daytona," disguising himself with just a pair that jeans and a toothpick. And yet, it works against the factor he ran away: Jim the Vampire, to whom he owes a very small and old debt. Jim is play by Star Wars legend mark Hamill, who got the duty because he"s a substantial What We do in the Shadows fan. He delighted in the movie but didn"t think the present would be great because Taika Waititi and also Jemaine Clement weren"t in it — but then he was wrong. "I constantly get nervous around shows i like, because I discover something i really love and also it gets canceled. So ns tweeted about it several times, make the efforts to get my followers to offer it a try," Hamill called Vulture.

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"Apparently that"s what placed me on their radar, and the next thing I understand they request me to come on your show." Hamill assumed he"d be provided a small duty — a polite servant, or neighbor. When offered the function of Jim the Vampire, he claims he "just flipped out."

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