News

8 Things We Learned About the Upcoming What We Do in the Shadows Series at New York Comic Con

Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, and Paul Simms spill some secrets about their upcoming vampire mockumentary series based on their 2014 cult film.

by | October 7, 2018 | Comments

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 7: (L-R) Moderator Alan Sepinwall, executive producers Jemaine Clement, Paul Simms and Taika Waititi speak at the panel for "What We Do in the Shadows" at the 2018 NY Comic-Con on October 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

Vampires descended onto New York Comic Con on Sunday for the much-anticipated What We Do in the Shadows preview and panel event for the upcoming small-screen adaptation of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s 2014 cult comedy. While they proved plenty scary with blood to spare, the fanged undead brought in the laughs, too.

The sold-out audience at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan was treated to a screening of the series’ first episode, which is due to premiere on FX in 2019. The screening was followed by a talk-back with Clement and Waititi along with executive producer and writer Paul Simms. While Clement especially remained tight-lipped on the surprises in store this season (he wrote the series in full as opposed to sharing writing credits with Waititi as they did for the film), we’ve broken down the eight quick facts gleaned from their conversation with moderator and Rolling Stone critic Alan Sepinwall. Catch up below.


 1. The series came together with the help of producer Scott Rudin. 

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 7: (L-R) Executive producer Jemaine Clement speaks at the panel for "What We Do in the Shadows" at the 2018 NY Comic-Con on October 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

To hear Clement tell it, there was never really a plan to adapt or reimagine his film for the small screen until powerhouse producer Scott Rudin (who is attached to the small-screen adaptation as executive producer) saw the movie and reached out to him directly.

“Scott Rudin saw the movie and asked us to develop a series idea and pilot. It seemed like a good opportunity for me, because it means I wouldn’t have to pitch it. It would already be approved,” Clement said with a laugh.


2. The creators admit to taking creative cues from other projects.


When asked how the mockumentary style of the film and series came to be, Clement admitted that he and Waititi certainly took cues from classics of the genre like This Is Spinal Tap — plus standout vampire fare like The Lost Boys, Interview With the Vampire, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

“We’d just basically steal from a lot of things that we liked and put them in our movie and then take credit for it!” Waititi joked.


3. The series is set in New York City.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, international poster, clockwise from top left: Jemaine Clement, Stuart Rutherford, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Ben Fransham, Jonathan Brugh, 2014. ©The Orchard/Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by ©The Orchard/Courtesy Everett Collection)

More specifically: Staten Island. While the 2014 film (pictured above) follows vampires Vladislav (Clement), Viago (Waititi), and Deacon (Jonny Brugh) living together in their native Wellington, New Zealand, Clement decided for the series, he wanted the documentary crew to follow vampires living in the United States.

“We wanted the idea that the vampires had been — maybe 200 years ago — sent to conquer America, but had sort of lost their way and forgotten,” Simms said. “They’d gotten to New York, and that’s where the boat dropped them off, and they never went any further and before they knew it, a lot of time had passed.”

“We discussed a lot of different cities,” posited Clements, “[but] can’t be L.A. — too sunny.” Detroit was also a possibility, but they didn’t want to step on the toes of Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive.


4. Along with a new city comes new vampires.

TOAST OF LONDON, Matt Berry, (Season 2, 2014). photo: Kuba Wieczorek / © Channel 4 / Courtesy: Everett Collection

(Photo by Kuba Wieczorek / © Channel 4 / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

Much like the movie, the series follows three vampires who live together: Laszlo (Matt Berry, pictured above in Toast of London), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) — the former two are husband and wife. Also living with them is a fourth vampire named Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), who’s an “energy vampire.” Instead of blood, he sucks the energy out of his victims by boring them to death with mundane anecdotes and bad jokes. The office is his feeding ground, but his powers also work on his vampire roomies.

“We hadn’t thought about anything like that for the movie,” Clement said, “but when I was reading about different kinds of vampires, there was one that people mentioned as a real type of vampire that exists and that we all come up against.”


5. The pilot episode introduces various narrative threads to get excited about.

THE MAGICIANS -- "The Losses of Magic" Episode 303 -- Pictured: Harvey Guillen as Benedict -- (Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

(Photo by Eric Milner/Syfy)

While tonally akin to the feature film, the pilot episode that screened at NYCC proved to be a different story entirely. The main action is put into motion when our central three vampires receive notice that an ancient leader vampire named the Baron is coming to pay them a visit from abroad, purportedly to see how conquering America is going. Nadja also fans a extramarital crush on a human who she’s convinced is a reincarnation of an old flame — one that she incidentally decapitated in the bedroom.

There’s also quite a lot of attention paid to the vampires’ familiars, particularly the sweet-but-fumbling Guillermo (Harvey Guillen, pictured above in Syfy series The Magicians). Laszlo has been his master for the last 10 years, and he hopes to one day be rewarded for his service by being turned into a vampire himself. He’s a bright spot of innocence in this household of bloodsucking murderers — even though he helps in this murders along the way.

“When I was writing the pilot, I was thinking that they’re all murderers, so you need someone to balance that,” Clement said of the character. “He’ll have to wrestle, of course, with that idea when he becomes a vampire — if he does — he’ll have to do those things, too.”


6. They will make their way off Staten Island and into Manhattan.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 7: (L-R) Moderator Alan Sepinwall, executive producers Jemaine Clement, Paul Simms and Taika Waititi speak at the panel for "What We Do in the Shadows" at the 2018 NY Comic-Con on October 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

Simms also teased that this series won’t just stay on Staten Island, but will venture out in Manhattan, as well; in fact, there’s going to be a whole episode dedicated to the subject, with Laszlo, Nadja, and Nandor coming face to face with some other unwelcome vampires.

“They sort of think that Staten Island is all of New York or maybe even all of America, but there’s a whole story where they go into Manhattan for the first time to meet the Manhattan vampires, who are a little bit cooler than they are,” he said.


7. We will meet other supernatural beings, as well.


Just like the movie, which featured werewolves and other fantastically nightmarish beasts, Clement teased that we can expect similar creatures in this iteration, too, saying that “probably some other ones you’re more familiar with” will show up over the course of season 1.

“Jemaine really doesn’t want to give anything away,” Simms said, chiming in. “But I think if you watch the show, you’re going to be very satisfied.”


8. But the question is: Will the vampires from the film show up?


The question on everyone’s lips, however, wasn’t whether we can expect werewolves, but if Vladislav, Viago, and Deacon will be making an appearance in New York. While anything’s possible, Clement maintained that it’d take a lot for those New Zealand vampires to travel the nearly 9,000 miles to the United States’ East Coast.

“Only if something really disastrous happens. It has to be of incredible import,” Clement said of the possibility of his Vladislav popping up later on in the series.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 7: Executive producer Taika Waititi speaks at the panel for "What We Do in the Shadows" at the 2018 NY Comic-Con on October 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Fox/PictureGroup)

But Waititi did confirm that their new FX project does indeed take place in the same world as their film: “We’re creating a universe to rival that of Marvel,” joked the director of Thor: Ragnarok.


Tag Cloud

TV Peacock Paramount Pictures medical drama Comic-Con@Home 2021 Hulu FOX Binge Guide San Diego Comic-Con Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt IMDb TV game of thrones dark romance football History transformers emmy awards Horror Fargo dreamworks binge cults Podcast The CW satire Acorn TV nbcuniversal FX stand-up comedy aapi obi wan heist movie New York Comic Con justice league MSNBC Comedy Central BET book adaptation nature Paramount Network Reality marvel cinematic universe Rock art house OWN olympics summer TV Lionsgate thriller spider-man Polls and Games TCM cats politics spider-verse Superheroe royal family free movies DC streaming service Crackle Netflix Christmas movies docuseries finale FX on Hulu Television Critics Association Starz Video Games spain MCU award winner spy thriller AMC Plus worst 2021 TCA Winter 2020 MTV American Society of Cinematographers WGN Tumblr strong female leads Elton John blaxploitation Emmys political drama based on movie spinoff SundanceTV ID Mindy Kaling Kids & Family trailers zombies facebook 24 frames Freeform Mary Tyler Moore USA Network Spring TV 73rd Emmy Awards Fall TV supernatural what to watch international CNN APB Shudder Drama Cartoon Network halloween tv Focus Features doctor who south america Trailer crime thriller Lifetime Christmas movies Shondaland 2016 ITV legend IFC Films Sundance toy story worst movies TV movies Extras stoner Pirates streaming movies Universal jurassic park know your critic Action high school Mary poppins Showtime President trophy science fiction Holidays live event anthology TV renewals 71st Emmy Awards target crime drama zombie comics Animation GoT james bond ABC Signature festival vampires Esquire remakes all-time E! Chilling Adventures of Sabrina monster movies suspense Women's History Month HBO deadpool scary Wes Anderson OneApp women Netflix Sneak Peek IFC Food Network psycho Pop TV independent 45 The Academy Avengers Hear Us Out TLC sequels psychological thriller Star Trek Lifetime video italian Pop PBS 94th Oscars Broadway boxing NBC Best Actor Disney Mudbound 72 Emmy Awards casting 93rd Oscars joker reviews movies E3 Black Mirror adaptation documentary basketball Comedy Trophy Talk superman Pixar action-comedy Marvel Television Disney Plus adventure LGBTQ anime Super Bowl Tarantino wonder woman black BBC One miniseries LGBT dramedy composers NYCC TCA 2017 aliens docudrama Film Disney streaming service 99% space theme song Fox News news VOD Black History Month directors kong breaking bad golden globe awards latino Adult Swim mockumentary cancelled TV shows black comedy green book Discovery Channel Anna Paquin lord of the rings HFPA Marathons First Reviews TIFF Best Picture prank singing competition laika spanish language GLAAD Walt Disney Pictures A&E Epix Television Academy marvel comics hispanic heritage month cooking cancelled television Marvel Studios teaser blockbuster Captain marvel fast and furious dceu video on demand sequel witnail PaleyFest South by Southwest Film Festival Amazon Prime Video SXSW 2018 VICE hispanic Tubi hidden camera romantic comedy Pride Month Election ESPN canceled TV shows Christmas summer preview HBO Go TNT Travel Channel new zealand BBC America Turner disaster DC Comics Premiere Dates versus RT21 Bravo Disney+ Disney Plus Paramount Music spanish Comic Book king kong Mystery tv talk mcc kaiju hist Best and Worst streamig sag awards true crime Lucasfilm talk show unscripted discovery Universal Pictures rt labs 21st Century Fox batman child's play Paramount Plus Alien movie Dark Horse Comics films rom-coms The Walt Disney Company Sundance TV comic book movies japan El Rey Fantasy The Witch venice sitcom superhero australia leaderboard 2020 TCA documentaries Watching Series Calendar Film Festival YouTube Red ghosts CW Seed Musical VH1 MGM DC Universe Song of Ice and Fire Masterpiece gangster HBO Max mutant Comics on TV mission: impossible CBS All Access golden globes Chernobyl Turner Classic Movies obituary Endgame technology Certified Fresh comic scary movies hollywood best YA Mary Poppins Returns nfl YouTube live action comedies dragons The Walking Dead Trivia Exclusive Video Apple Columbia Pictures comic book movie saw slashers Ovation japanese book twilight christmas movies Star Wars robots Warner Bros. social media CBS Rocketman sports blockbusters GIFs NBA archives Writers Guild of America BBC Country TBS screen actors guild revenge Western rotten movies we love Marvel Fox Searchlight mob Martial Arts rt labs critics edition RT History Tokyo Olympics crime Red Carpet Set visit Cannes 79th Golden Globes Awards The Purge Britbox Nickelodeon Spectrum Originals dexter Vudu criterion parents Box Office Countdown Valentine's Day Superheroes DirecTV YouTube Premium CMT travel jamie lee curtis critic resources Prime Video indie Sci-Fi Holiday Ghostbusters PlayStation Biopics die hard war foreign USA Character Guide animated Year in Review Best Director streaming biography Syfy Sundance Now a nightmare on elm street FXX Baby Yoda TruTV Interview Instagram Live Classic Film stop motion slasher SXSW 2022 Photos scene in color adenture debate BAFTA summer TV preview Quiz king arthur biopic halloween elevated horror franchise telelvision period drama fresh scorecard cops festivals vs. concert Spike Emmy Nominations godzilla Academy Awards Best Actress AMC genre new star wars movies TV One Teen sopranos X-Men cars First Look serial killer A24 BET Awards canceled popular SDCC dc Brie Larson screenings richard e. Grant Apple TV+ french harry potter Stephen King 4/20 historical drama critics rt archives pirates of the caribbean asian-american Infographic series 1990s WarnerMedia Schedule 007 rotten Amazon toronto cinemax Image Comics Nat Geo 2017 zero dark thirty Rom-Com Tags: Comedy name the review indiana jones game show Family Winners posters Hallmark quibi Winter TV dogs renewed TV shows Grammys children's TV Oscar Funimation natural history Ellie Kemper Summer Creative Arts Emmys 2019 TCA Awards werewolf crossover Arrowverse Logo Amazon Studios 90s Rocky Sony Pictures TV Land Reality Competition Awards Tour comiccon Cosplay police drama boxoffice Amazon Prime kids 2015 cartoon National Geographic Pacific Islander Disney Channel ABC Family Awards feel good ViacomCBS Crunchyroll new york 20th Century Fox DGA Pet Sematary 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominations classics Legendary Opinion cancelled TV series razzies Hallmark Christmas movies Oscars young adult Toys comic books diversity chucky universal monsters See It Skip It The Arrangement Thanksgiving cancelled reboot ratings Hollywood Foreign Press Association Heroines television Apple TV Plus Musicals Tomatazos Neflix ABC