Jemaine Clement and Taika Waiti appeared at New York Comic-Con today to discuss their forthcoming TV show What We Do in the Shadows. A spin-off from their beloved mockumentary of the same name, the series is set in New York, and chronicles the lives of three vampire roommates who have lived together for hundreds and hundreds of years. The bloodsuckers in question are played by Matt Berry, Kayvan Novak, Natasia Demetriou, while Harvey Guillen and Mark Proksch round out the cast.
Clement (executive producer, writer) and Waititi (executive producer, director) took to the stage alongside Paul Simms (executive producer, writer) to give a bit of background to the show, which will screen on FX, and is currently in production.
Staten Island Vampires
Jemaine Clement: “We discussed a lot of cities [for the setting]. LA. Can’t be LA, too sunny. Detroit, but that had been in other vampire stories, like Jim Jarmusch’s film.”
Paul Simms: “We wanted the idea that vampires had maybe been sent 200 years ago to conquer America but had kind of lost their way and forgotten and got 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.”
Clement: “I’ve worked a little bit in Staten Island, and that’s part of the decision to have it there, because I’m a little familiar with it.”
Simms: “In one of the episodes that we are going to start shooting next week, they venture into Manhattan for the first time. They’ve assumed that Staten Island is all of New York, or maybe even all of America, for years and years. 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.”
Clement: “Matt Berry plays a lot of music and he makes his own albums, so his character plays music quite often. The music he’s playing on that organ [in the pilot] he’s actually playing, and he made that up on the spot. So he will play some music. But I don’t know if there will be any songs as in a musical number. Perhaps in Season 7 — that’s when you start doing that.
“I’d written the part for Matt. I’d always pictured him as playing that part. And then I was in a movie with him so I had to quietly say ‘I’m writing a part for you in a thing.’ And he was interested from the start. We’re kind of friends now.”
Clement: “As far as we know ‘Colin Robinson the Energy Vampire’ is a new kind of supernatural creature. And there will be one other one that will be specific to this show when it comes up. And probably some other ones you’re more familiar with.”
Simms: [In reference to those familiar creatures] “I think if you watch the show, you’re going to be very satisfied!”
Finally, with the What We Do in the Shadows movie, proposed sequel and TV show, as well as another TV spin-off, Wellington Paranormal, Taika Waititi reckons they are just getting started. “We’re creating a universe to rival that if Marvel and DC” Waititi joked. “What we’re doing is taking one idea and stretching it out over years and years.”
What We Do in the Shadows will screen on FX in the States.