HARVEY Guillen says there are a couple of reasons his character Guillermo De La Cruz is the one that fans of What We Do in the Shadows can best relate to.
The first is that he is the most high profile human character on a show that centres around four vampires sharing a house in New York’s Staten Island but is set in a world that’s also populated by werewolves, witches and other assorted freaks. But the second, more important, reason is that: “We have all been a Guillermo at some point in our lives.”
Over two seasons of the hit horror comedy – based on Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s 2014 movie of the same name – Guillen’s Guillermo has served as a “familiar” (basically a servant) to Kayvan Novak’s bloodsucker Nandor the Relentless, with whom he is infatuated.
He also runs the shambolic mansion that is home to Nandor’s undead mates Lazlo,
Nadya and Colin Robinson, all of whom treat him like dirt and expect him to perform the most menial of tasks, from answering the phone to doing the laundry and clearing away the corpses when they have been drained of blood. All of which he does with little thanks and almost no reward, other than the vain
hope that Nandor will one day make him a vampire too.
“We have all been in that situation where we are overlooked for a promotion at the job where we’ve been working for years and years, or we’re infatuated with someone from afar and we don’t have the courage to be honest about our feelings, or maybe we are questioning our sexuality and don’t have the right words to express that with the ones that we love or our chosen family,” Guillen says.
“There are different elements of Guillermo’s life where people can relate to him automatically, we have all been in his shoes, whether it be workwise or personally and that’s why everyone has an instant rapport with him. Because he is you, he’s a reflection of you.”
But in season three of What We Do in the Shadows, which started on Binge last week, things are looking up for Guillermo. After discovering that he is in fact a powerful slayer, descended from the legendary Van Helsing – once his housemates have overcome their initial fear and locked him in the basement – he is promoted from familiar to bodyguard. It’s a step up career-wise, but he still wrestles with his long-held desire to become a vampire and his natural instincts to destroy them.
“It’s a crossroads for him this season,” he says. “He definitely has come into his own but he’s a little bit scared of this new-found power that he has as a badass and a slayer but there is also a part of him that has committed and devoted himself to the life of potentially being a vampire and that’s all he has ever known and aspired to.”
Original Kiwi creators Clement and Oscarwinner Waititi (who cameoed in the final episode of Season 2 and the first episode of Season 3 respectively) have taken a back seat for the new season as their Hollywood careers continue to flourish, but they have left behind a strong legacy for inspired absurdity and penchant for improvisation. Guillen estimates about half of any given episode aired is scripted and half is made up on the fly by the gifted cast. What We Do In the Shadows is now streaming on Binge