What They Do On the Set of the Shadows

Publish Date
Friday, 22 March 2019, 11:23AM
Actress Fern Sutherland visits the set of What We Do In the Shadows in Toronto

On a grey snowy day in Toronto I enter a nondescript warehouse off a bleak highway. I'm here to see how work on What We Do In The Shadows, the US TV version of the popular Kiwi mockumentary, is going.

They're nearing the end of a breakneck shoot in the middle of a freezing Toronto winter. Because of the subject matter the filming happens at night ensuring the cast and crew have literally turned into vampires during the making of this show.

The actors aren't the only ones who look undead; the crew are absolutely knackered. Despite this, I'm met with a pervading sense of enthusiasm. The SFX guy, "JD", sets his arm on fire in front of me and while he's being extinguished I ask, what he's enjoyed abuot working on the show.

"Just the positivity," he replies. "Jemaine and Taika are so great to work for. The atmosphere has been really fun and uplifting."

When I finally get to talk to the actors on set it's close to midnight. They started at 5pm, and aren't scheduled to wrap until just before dawn. I'm led into the incredibly elaborate interior of the vampire flat. Earlier, the production designer had described how detail-oriented Jemaine is and how specific he was in creating an authentic world for these vampires to inhabit. n.

Contrary to his undead appearance, and the late hour, Matt Berry who plays the foppish Laszlo, is incredibly lively when I ask about his character.

"We're hundreds of years old," he booms. "So we've pretty much done everything. Not only to each other, but to every other living thing. Within reason."

Natasia Demetriou who assumes the role of Nadia, an hypnotic seductress and wife to Laszlo agrees, "It's actually a very modern open marriage. It's very millennial."

Conversation turns to the gory elements of the show and Kayvan Novak, who plays self -appointed leader Nandor the Relentless, starts describing the ins and outs of feasting on the blood of the innocent, before, suddenly, they're whisked back to set.

Watching the monitors I marvel at how skilfully the actors all improvise. They're so funny, with so much spontaneity it's hard to know where the script ends and the ad-libbing begins.

It all appears to be going well until there's a long pause, followed by confusion and, eventually, barely contained laughter.

Taika, who is directing this episode finally pipes up, chuckling, "I don't know where we are in the script... Let's cut. That's perfect."

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

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