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

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