What We Do in the Shadows: Kayvan Novak & Harvey Guillén on Season 3 - VRGyani News and Media

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Friday, September 10, 2021

What We Do in the Shadows: Kayvan Novak & Harvey Guillén on Season 3

Based on the feature film by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, the FX series What We Do in the Shadows, currently in its third season and already picked up for a fourth season, sees vampire roommates Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) trying to cope with the fact that their human familiar turned bodyguard Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) is actually a vampire killer. While they’re all navigating an upgrade in their power, Nandor has also decided that he wants to find love and some more meaning to it all.

During this interview with Collider, co-stars Novak and Guillén talked about the changing dynamic between their characters, Guillermo’s style evolution, the fun in exploring Nandor’s pursuit of love, their Atlantic City roadtrip in Episode 304 (entitled “The Casino”), what Kristen Schaal brings to the show, and working with the Nadja doll.

Collider: Congratulations on the Season 4 pickup because it’s always nice to know you’ll be returning, especially when it’s before Season 3 had even debuted. Last season ended with quite the dramatic reveal, with the vampires finding out the Guillermo is a vampire hunter, due to the actions he took to save his friends, which is still a little bit of a one-sided friendship. How does Nandor feel about the fact that Guillermo could kill them, at any moment? Is it something that he thinks about? Does it occupy any of his thoughts?

KAYVAN NOVAK: Absolutely. It occupied my thoughts, even before it occupied Nandor’s thoughts because their dynamic was going to be changed forever. Nandor would always rely on the fact that Guillermo was weak and submissive, and he could kill him just like that (snaps his fingers). He’s faced with someone that he used to boss about and tell what to do and have one over on, and now this guy can actually take Nandor out, if he wants. I think what prevails and rises above that change in status is the love that the two characters have for each other. There’s co-dependency that isn’t destroyed by the fact that Guillermo is now a vampire killer. It makes that bond between them shine brighter almost because you want them to overcome that change in status more, and they kind of do.

Harvey, do you feel that Guillermo has a sense of this power that he has now, or does he not even fully grasp that he actually has power over these vampires?

HARVEY GUILLEN: I think he does now. I was just thinking about this, when we shot the finale. The note that Jemaine [Clement] gave me was, “Remember that he doesn’t know that he’s good at this, so when you’re fighting, your face should show, ‘What’s happening?,’ but your body language should be [confident] because it’s within him and he doesn’t even know it.” I think he’s coming to terms with that. It’s just like, “You know what? I’m pretty bad-ass.” He’s becoming more comfortable in his own skin, and we’ll see that also change when he makes himself a nice bodyguard uniform that we worked on with our amazing costume designer. His style is changing. Things are more fitted and there are no frumpy sweaters. There are more sharp edges. The colors are changing. We all evolve, so he’s evolving and he’s happy for the outcome, hopefully.

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I love that Nandor is trying to make his love life happen this season, even though he’s not having the best of luck. What was it like to get to explore that with him? What does looking for love look like or even mean to him?

NOVAK: It was something that I mentioned at the end of Season 2, “Wouldn’t it be cool, if Nandor was looking for love?” The writers on the show, Paul Simms and Stefani Robinson, are very receptive to our wants and desires. To be able to then be presented with all of these twists and turns, Nandor’s now search for love, and all of the aspects that go with it with desire, with attraction, with rejection, with heartbreak, with rekindling old love, and becoming obsessed with someone. I was able to draw from my own relationships, or there was enough in the writing that reminded me of things that happened in my own relationships past that felt so relatable. I was like, “This is awesome. I get to inject myself into Nandor, and then inject Nandor into these scenes with some amazing actors.” It was very pleasurable to do that and to explore this new avenue for Nandor. He’s not just a warrior. He’s not just a manipulative master. He’s vulnerable and he’s gullible and he’s naive. He falls in love, and he gets horny, and he gets upset and sad and happy. It was just more fun for me. It was more fun for Kayvan on set, every day.

Harvey, how does Guillermo feel about all of this? Does he want to help Nandor succeed in love?

GUILLEN: I think there’s a little bit of jealousy there. It could be romantically jealous. But also, he’s spending less time with him. There’s a scene where he’s looking for the ring to gift to his beloved and he comes into my room, and I’ve dressed up what we think is maybe a victim or corpse or someone passed out, in full Nandor attire, and we’re watching Twilight on my iPad. It’s the idea that he’s missing hanging out with him. He sees him every day, day after day, and then, all of a sudden, he doesn’t have time for him. He’s too busy having adventures with Gail. So, he’s third-wheeling it a little bit for a while. He’s just missing that connection because now things have shifted. He’s a bodyguard now, but what does that mean? A part of being in a servant and master relationship means you’re always in your place and that’s where you belong. And now, it’s equal, but it’s not because he’s protecting him. There are a lot of emotions happening this season.

I love the episode where they go on this road trip to Atlantic City. What was it like to have Guillermo running around the world, when you don’t actually get to run around the world? Were you ever bummed that you couldn’t actually shoot in all of those locations?

GUILLEN: When I read the script, I was super excited, but then I was like, “Wait, how are we gonna do this? He goes to Greece, and he goes to the Middle East. Woah, that sounds cool.” And they were like, “We’re doing it all in one block.” They set up Heathrow Airport with a double-decker red bus, which they don’t have, but we had to make a sure point that he was in London. And then, we were in the Middle East. And then, we were in Greece at the beach. It was nice for him to travel, but it’s within 24 hours, so he’s disheveled and has to come back with the soil. That was fun. That was a fun episode, for Guillermo to see the world, even though he never left.

Kayvan, what was it like for you to get to hang out in a casino and see Nandor in that environment?

NOVAK: He becomes addicted to this Big Bang Theory slot machine, becoming more and more obsessed with it. It was fun to play Nandor succumbing to gambling addiction. Actually, just to be in that location, which we shot in Niagara Falls in that huge casino, it was one of the biggest locations that we filmed this season. It had so many people and it was a military operation, but it was awesome to do that. With all of the hotel room scenes, it was a really fun episode to shoot, actually. It was awesome.

GUILLEN: It was a road trip. We got to go to Niagara Falls and shoot on location. It was like when you go away for camp, you’re already having fun, but you’re away from home base and having a new experience in new surroundings.

I also love Kristen Schaal on the show. She’s always super funny whenever she pops up anywhere, but I especially love this character. What did you enjoy about having her be a part of the show? Are there even more laughs when she’s around?

GUILLEN: She’s so fun. I loved having her on the show, every time. She brings such energy. She’s always down to have fun. She’s always playful, she’ll always do a bit, and she’ll always go on with your improv. It’s just a pleasure to have her on the show.

NOVAK: I loved watching her work. I think she’s confident and supremely talented. To come into this ensemble cast that we’ve established over two seasons, even though she was in one episode in Season 1, and do so seamlessly, and just fill the space and own that character, and yet be so receptive and play off everything, and just be alive and not feel precious about what she was doing, it was beautiful. It adds new energy and a new dynamic, and it was brilliant. She bought us an ice cream truck one Monday, which was, unfortunately, the start of my intermittent fasting, so I was like, “None for me, thanks Kristen.”

GUILLEN: And I wasn’t on set that day.

NOVAK: She was there with four scoops of her own ice cream.

I also love when you guys get to interact with the Nadja doll as a scene partner. Is the doll more or less of a diva than Nadja, the vampire?

NOVAK: The Nadja doll insists on having two fully grown men, dressed from head to toe in green, during all of her scenes, so that’s quite an undertaking. The Nadja doll is awesome. We’re always just staring at it and watching that animatronic guy do his thing. He has suffered from low battery a couple of times, so in the middle of the scene his radio control thing [will start beeping] and they have to cut. He’s fucked up a couple of times, but it’s okay. It’s good. It’s for the Nadja doll, so I forgive him.

GUILLEN: The Nadja doll is just slightly more demanding than Nadja.

NOVAK: The doll actually head-butted me in one take. I was wrestling with the doll, at one point. Basically, the doll was supposed to jump out from some shelves and grab me by the back of the neck. We did a rehearsal and the guy that was in charge of pulling the doll because the doll’s head weighs about 50 pounds, pulled it and it just smacked me right on the back of their head. It good because it was two in the morning and I think I needed it.

What We Do in the Shadows airs on Thursday nights on FX.

KEEP READING: How to Watch 'What We Do in the Shadows' Season 3: Release Schedule, Where to Stream & More



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