Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi's 'What We Do In The Shadows' TV show makes debut

Publish Date
Tuesday, 9 October 2018, 10:17AM

By: Dominic Corry

Kiwi superstars Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi unveiled the highly anticipated US TV adaptation of their hit 2014 vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows at New York Comic Con this morning.

After the hilarious first episode of the TV series screened to a rapt Comic-Con audience, Clement and Waititi took to the stage for a Q & A alongside fellow executive producer Paul Simms.

While the original film was set in a crumbling Wellington house cohabited by four vampire flatmates, the US TV adaptation (which will screen on SoHo next year) takes place in Staten Island, New York, and features all new characters while maintaining the unmistakable deadpan absurdist tone of its inspiration.

The main characters in the new series are Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), a trio of centuries-old European vampires struggling to make sense of modern American life, and their devoted human assistant (known as a 'familiar'), Guillermo (Harvey Guillen).

Then there's Colin Robinson (played by Better Call Saul supporting player Mark Proksch), their American roomate who is a 'psychic vampire' - someone who sucks the energy out of anyone he converses with by dint of his supreme boorishness. Colin steals every scene he's in.

"We all know a Colin Robinson," joked Clement during the Q & A. "I can think of conversations I've had where I've been trapped by someone. And perhaps people have felt like that with me."

The US show is the second TV series to have been spun out of What We Do In The Shadows, following the New Zealand-produced Wellington Paranormal. The creators confirmed that both shows and the movie take place in the same fictional world.

"We're creating a universe to rival that of Marvel and DC," said a typically po-faced Waititi. "We're taking one idea and stretching it out over years and years..."

As to the possibility of their characters from the film showing up in the TV show, which Waititi appeared to hint at during a panel the previous day, the pair was non-committal.

"Only if something really disastrous happens," Clement cryptically commented.

The longtime friends and collaborators are both executive producers on the new series, with Waititi directing and Clement taking the lead on the writing.

"The original [movie] script Taika and I wrote together, and I wrote this one by myself, so this was a lot easier," said Clement, generating a huge laugh from the crowd. "And a lot faster. Just joking, just joking."

Emmy-nominated writer/producer Simms (Atlanta, The Larry Sanders Show) also collaborated with Clement and Waititi on the hit Flight of the Conchords TV show, of which Waititi directed several episodes.

"As an American working with these New Zealand guys, I just find anything they say sounds funny," said Simms.

Following the Q & A, Clement and Waititi stuck around to sign autographs and take photos with their legions of devoted American fans.

The 'What We Do In The Shadows' TV series will screen on SoHo next year.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.