'Shadows' star Harvey Guillen: Guillermo is all of us

Kayvan Novak (L) and Harvey Guillen can now be seen in the Season 4 of "What We Do in the Shadows." Photo courtesy of FX
1 of 5 | Kayvan Novak (L) and Harvey Guillen can now be seen in the Season 4 of "What We Do in the Shadows." Photo courtesy of FX

NEW YORK, July 26 (UPI) -- Harvey Guillen says his What We Do in the Shadows character Guillermo may be a human who chooses to live with a bunch of dysfunctional vampire housemates who mistreat him on Staten Island, but that doesn't mean he isn't relatable to viewers.

"Guillermo represents all of us because we may have been quarantined in a house full of people that we might not get along with or we might realize we need a divorce [from] or we might realize this relationship is not working," Guillen told UPI in a recent phone interview.


"Guillermo is all of us," he added. "We've all wanted a job we've been overlooked for. We've all been in love with someone from afar where we've been too shy to say anything, and the time passes. We've all been questioning our career paths. ... Whenever you root for Guillermo, you're really rooting for yourself."


Season 4 of the mockumentary series airs Tuesday nights on FX.

The spinoff of the film by the same name -- created by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi -- follows Guillermo as he loyally protects and serves the demanding, self-absorbed vampire couple, Laszlo and Nadja (Matt Berry and Natasia Demetriou), their hopelessly romantic bloodsucker roommate, Nandor (Kayvan Novak), and the hilariously boring energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch).

"We pick up with a lot of questions in the air and we get a lot of answers. We are looking for different loves. We're looking for self-validation. We're looking for new career opportunities. The year is packed with many adventures," Guillen teased.

The actor said that Guillermo, who wants nothing more than for Nandor to make him a vampire, finally is realizing how smart and capable he is, and leaning into that.

"For so long, he's been trying to mold himself into what he thinks is the ideal person before he becomes a vampire -- when he, hopefully, gets made into a vampire -- and this whole time, he's more powerful than any of them in the house," Guillen said.

"He literally destroyed a theater full of vampires in front of his housemates. It's insane because it didn't really impress them," he emphasized. "He's killed a lot of vampires in their name and they are so ungrateful."


One of the reasons Guillermo stays with the group is because Colin Robinson died on his 100th birthday and his corpse spawned a fast-growing baby that must be cared for.

"There's no way Guillermo is going to leave these vampires in charge of a child," Guillen said.

"When we first see him [in Season 4], he's done. He's going to leave the house," the actor said. "He can't believe these jerks treat him like this, but he finds out that there is a child here and Nandor plans to get married and wants him to be his best man.

So the idea is, 'Wow! There is a lot of pressure right now.' So, he takes on one last job before he makes up his mind."

Guillen feels fortunate to collaborate with Waititi, a writer, director, producer and actor who has blown up in recent years, thanks to successful projects like Shadows, Reservation Dogs, Our Flag Means Death, Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Love and Thunder.

"I'm lucky to work with him. I'm lucky to call him my friend," Guillen said.

"He uses comedy to do social commentary and gets you to really drop your guard, so you don't expect what this next moment will be and then you find yourself bawling. He's such a genius. He uses art to entertain and to actually also teach a lesson."


Shadows isn't the only project that has kept Guillen busy in recent years. He also co-starred in the 2021 horror-comedy, Werewolves Within, and played supporting roles in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and Reacher.

"The way the universe works out is so perfect," he said, recalling how the Shadows schedule shifted during the coronavirus pandemic because the director of photography was stuck in New Zealand.

"At the very last minute, I was allowed to do Zoey's after saying 'no' to Zoey's twice. They were so excited and I was so excited because I love musicals!" Guillen said. "So, I got to do that one season, go up to Vancouver and do Zoey's, and then the schedule allowed me to do Reacher in the summer between Seasons 3 and 4 of Shadows."

And if the mob on social media has its druthers, Guillen may be seen soon in Waititi's instantly beloved pirate comedy, Our Flag Means Death.

"You never know. We always cross-pollinate," Guillen said, noting he'd love to guest star if they could work out the timing.

Waititi, Fred Armisen, Nick Kroll and Kristen Schaal have all appeared in episodes of Shadows and Flag.

Shadows has been renewed for a fifth season, and Guillen said the cast and crew appreciates the support.


"They love all their children, but sometimes you feel like they let you add whipped cream to the sundae," he said of FX.

"They constantly tell us they love the show and tell us how great the show is. But they also love all their shows," the actor added. "They are the network that really does quality work and puts out stuff they stand behind. I applaud them for that."

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