FX held a panel for the network’s TV adaptation of What We Do in the Shadows at the 2019 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. The creator Jemaine Clement, executive producers Taika Waititi and Paul Simms, and the cast of all new vampire characters were there to reveal some details about the show.
New form of vampire introduced
Mark Proksh plays the character of Colin Robinson, who is an energy vampire.
“There wasn’t an energy vampire in the movie but you meet a lot of those kind of people at parties,” Clement said. “You just get trapped and it’s somehow, even though you don’t want to be there, they can make the situation that’s impossible to extract yourself. You need someone to save you. Just thinking if that was a real supernatural power [and] Mark has a really great ability: he can improvise it seems like for infinity, just boring subject matter, endlessly come up with it.”
Proksh said we will find out the mythology of energy vampires as the series continues:
“It’s still evolving. They are coming up with the rules as we film. I think that’ll be an interesting area for people watching the show to see how this character came about, what his backstory is. I’m a relatively boring person in real life so I feel like my interest in real life, I bring into my babbling brook of bullshit when I’m improvising on this show.”
TV show is not the movie sequel
Waititi and Clement wanted to make a movie sequel, but they both got busy.
“We always had plans to make another film but other things got in the way,” Waititi said. “Thor: Ragnarok which was this gigantic movie. So that got in the way of our plans to make a werewolf movie which was in the same universe as the vampire movie. We keep talking about that.”
Clemaine explains why he and his former co-stars aren’t going to be in front of the screen this time. “For a couple of reasons. For one, Taika had got me to talk to [executive producer] Scott Rudin about making the show, and then just when we’d agreed to do it Taika said, ‘I’m doing Thor 3,’ so it seemed like he wouldn’t have been able to be in it. And it would have been weird to have the rest of us in it and not him. And as it happened that didn’t matter, because by the time it was finished he’d finished that movie.”
“But also just that it’s set in America and just felt like it should be different people, you know, different characters,” Clement added.
Waititi told reporters following the show’s panel later Monday that once FX agreed to do the series, “then about like a week later I got ‘Thor’ — so I was like, ‘OK, peace out Jemaine. You’re on your own.’” He added: “I went off and did the movie and so he had to really take over and do all the writing. I was very lucky that I got to come in and put my name on it, and then come in and direct a few episodes.”
So why is it set in America — specifically Staten Island, New York — instead of New Zealand, as the film is? That one is easy: because it’s an American series, Clement says. “We talked a lot about different places it could be: Detroit, Pennsylvania — because they thought it sounded like Transylvania was one of them, that was probably second runner-up.”
Fellow executive producer Simms added: “We sort of wanted a part of America that’s sometimes overlooked. Like we knew we wanted it to be New York, but we feel like everyone knows what Manhattan and Brooklyn are like.”
Staten Island is also where the vampires would have landed when they immigrated, which is how Clement said they ultimately justified the location the bloodsuckers came to — and decided to remain residences of for the last 200 years.
Clement did confirm that the New York vampires exist in the same universe as the New Zealand vampires from the film, whether we see the New Zealand vamps or not.
There will be werewolves
“There’s some werewolves in the series,” Clement said. “They’re not New Zealand werewolves. They’re American werewolves so they swear more. East Coasters.”
Bigger budget than their indie movie
Waititi said that he was really comfortable going back to TV after helming the big-budget superhero movie. “Going back on set felt very natural,” he said. “The budget of the show is way bigger than the film. Not Thor.”
Some of the visual effects include transformations into bats and wire removal for floating vampires, but don’t expect to see too many major VFX shots.
“Because it’s a documentary crew, you’d never get the really cool shot of what’s happening anyway,” Clement said. “Someone has to run up and get it. So a giant fall off a building, you won’t see that. You’ll see them on the ground. It’s always within that frame of ‘would a camera be able to catch it?’”
When you do see the effect, the goal will be to make it look grounded, not like a cheesy spoof.
“To make these incredibly silly things look real as opposed to a parody of bad effects,” Simms outlined.
Clement added, “We try to make it all look real.”
OTHER POST PANEL NEWS REVEALED
Jojo Rabbit reshoots
“I’m doing some additional photography on that right now,” Waititi said. “I’ll probably finish it in about April. I think it’ll be around the end of the year, that time of the year for sure.”
“It was very similar to the tone of my other films – not including Shadows and Ragnarok – like Wilderpeople, Boy and my earlier films. A fun balance of tone of comedy and drama.”
Taika will definitely not be directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
“For me those are James’s films. Going into something like that which has got his stamp all over it would feel like going in someone’s house and going, ‘Hey! I’m your new dad, and this is how we make peanut butter sandwiches now!’ It just feels kind of awkward. I just wouldn’t know how to follow up those two films because those are his babies.”
Taika respects Star Wars tone in directing The Mandalorian
“Favreau’s a genius and so smart and so good at what he does and creating these worlds,” Waititi revealed during a post-panel group interview. “The scripts are really great. And yeah, it was really fun doing something in the Star Wars universe. It’s every kid’s dream just to see a Stormtrooper. When you’re doing these scenes with like 50 or 60 of them, it’s pretty amazing.”
He was also excited to direct a story involving bounty hunters like Boba Fett. “For most kids growing up with those films, he was one of the most favorite characters, even though he was barely in the films,” the director said. “Bounty hunters, the helmets are so cool. So yeah, I mean just getting to see characters like that and getting to shoot with them was pretty cool.”
Waititi was able to inject “a little bit” of his signature style into this new Star Wars property keeping the SW style.
“You know that Star Wars, you know, is just very different to the Marvel style,” he explained. “They know that whatever was set up in the tone of the first films really should be kind of adhered to and that’s what the fans like and you can’t really disrespect it, I guess, is a nice way of saying it. Can’t have too many jokes, but there’s a little bit. Definitely my tone is in there, with the dialogue and stuff like that.”
The quotes have been taken from five different articles:
How the ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Series Expands the Movie’s World [TCA 2019] by Fred Topel | /Film, Feb 4th, 2019
‘What We Do in the Shadows’: Jemaine Clement Tells Us Why He and Taika Waititi Aren’t the Stars of FX Series by Jennifer Maas | The Wrap, Feb 4th, 2019
Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi Still Keen On ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ Werewolf Spin-Off As FX Series Launches by Peter White | Deadline, Feb 4th, 2019
Taika Waititi is Finishing ‘Jojo Rabbit’ Reshoots, Movie Will Be Released This Fall [TCA 2019] by Fred Topel | /Film, Feb 4th, 2019
Star Wars: Taika Waititi Shares Details About The Mandalorian TV Show By Chris E. Hayner | Gamespot, Feb 4th, 2019