'What We Do In The Shadows' Season 2 Finale
KPBS Midday Edition Segments / June 10, 2020
The Jemaine Clement-Taika Waititi 2014 film "What We Do in the Shadows" almost didn't get released in the U.S. but now the hit FX Networks series is having its season finale and getting renewed for another.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Affects networks. What we do in the shadows has its season finale. Tonight, the series of spun off from the 2014 mockumentary film of the same name created by Jermaine Clement and take away TT. The show looks to a group of Staten Island vampires trying to navigate a modern world of emails, online trolls and Superbowl parties, KPBS arts reporter, Beth. Our commander loves the show and spoke with that Mack Barry who plays the vampire Lazlo.
Speaker 2: 00:28 So Matt, you are heading into the season finale for what we do in the shadows apparently. So how does it feel to be entering the a end of the second season?
Speaker 3: 00:40 I suppose it's worth remembering that it has an ed in the UK, so it doesn't feel like anything because I haven't seen any of it and I can't watch it go out. So I have no idea.
Speaker 2: 00:53 So how did you initially get involved with the series?
Speaker 3: 00:57 I was doing a film. How about three or four years ago with Jermaine and halfway through that film, he just lent over and said, look, I'm thinking about doing a S TV version of that vampire film that I did. Would you want to do it? So I said, yeah.
Speaker 2: 01:16 So since you got involved, so early on that show, how much involvement did you have in creating Laszlo and who he is and what kind of a person he is?
Speaker 3: 01:25 There wasn't much conversation had. I mean, anything I can kind of remember is I said to Jermaine before we'd filmed anything, you know, before we did the pilot, you know, how do you want this fellow to sounds? And he said, I want him to sound like you. And I said, well, you know, if he's Eastern Europe, you know, everyone else is doing that, you know, then I can do that. And he was dead against that. He said, no, no, no, no, no, no. I want him to sound like you sound. So that was it. That was the only conversation that we really, you know, that we really had.
Speaker 2: 01:55 Now, the show has a very kind of free form feel to it because of that mockumentary style. But how tightly scripted is it and how much interplay is there in terms of like you guys improvising or changing things as, as you're shooting,
Speaker 3: 02:10 it's very loose. It's a basic starting point. And then we kind of shoot from there. So no one is particularly pretty precious about the script, unless there's a line that there's going to be kind of relevant for a visual joke or something, a couple of scenes sort of later on, you know, then you have to make sure that you get that right. But other than that, it's very, very loose. I mean, there's a lot of, so British restaurants is the, I always think, you know, they're going to cut out and I just kind of put the meat and, you know, just to sort of test the waters. It works.
Speaker 2: 02:41 If you didn't have a lot of background on Laszlo, when this series started, what kind of a backstory did you create?
Speaker 3: 02:48 He's unwittingly become sort of part of this thing, part of this. Why have, you know, way of life? I guess so. And he was just like a normal, a normal pompous idiot who just so you know, just so happened to have a, a vampire fly outside his window, she materialized into a sort of beautiful young woman and that was it. Then he was, you know, then he was a vampire, but he's no different than he was the day before he was a vampire. So, you know, he's still the same conceited idiot, you know, that he always was.
Speaker 4: 03:24 I infiltrated the township posing is your average American Yankee doodle dandy. And I took over lucky bruise bar and grill the previous owner. He mysteriously disappeared because I killed him drinks on the house. I have not looked back since I now go by the name of Daytona, Jackie Denton. And I'll tell you something, Jackie Daytona's life. It ain't so bad, not bad at all.
Speaker 2: 03:51 Do you find any kind of through line between some of the other characters you've created and, and Laszlo now
Speaker 3: 03:57 the most fun is, you know, when you play somebody who has no sense of humor and has no sense of themselves in that way and doesn't really care, you know, what other people think? I mean, it's the way, you know, that it was kind of written was he sounded like he was quite sort of keen on the sound of his own voice. So I had to go with that.
Speaker 2: 04:16 Well, and you do have this great voice and some of your inflections just make a very simple plain line so much funny. I mean, just the way you say New York city.
Speaker 3: 04:27 Well, that's just to keep you concentrating otherwise, you know, you might drift off and think about selling sunsets. Oh, one of those other shows that are on, I don't know why I mentioned that one. I've just seen a picture for it. Maybe
Speaker 2: 04:43 now, when you do the scenes where they're the like, sit down interview parts of the show, how are those to shoot? And are you just completely kind of improvising to questions that are being thrown at you?
Speaker 3: 04:54 They are completely improvised. I would say. I mean, if they're hello, driven, then you go on and make sure, you know, you, I sort of mentioned that two or three words that are kind of relevant, but other than that, you can say any old nonsense, cause they can just cut it down. You know, we get quite a lot of time to do those, which is good. You know, it gives us, you know, it gives us the time to say anything and we really do say anything on those, the most horrendous thing sometimes. And thank God they're not included, but in order to say those horrendous things, you get to something else. So sometimes it's worth it,
Speaker 2: 05:31 like shooting on the set because it seems like as characters, you guys have this ensemble, I mean, you guys are living together for centuries. Uh, what kind of a feel is there on the set and have you guys kind of developed this sense of
Speaker 3: 05:46 the comradery on the set? We all love the set. I mean, the set is the best set the live ever worked on. I mean, I've worked in a lot of sitcoms where the, do you know where the sets of sort of pony, they're normally a bunch of flats with office furniture, but, um, this is fantastic because everywhere you look a three 60 affairs, so you can go back to your trailer. Yeah. It just sort of rest in between things. Now I don't do that as a rule because the set is far more comfortable. So I'll go and pick a room that isn't being used for filming. I'm not going to sleep there for an hour or two because it's much more comfortable. It does freak you out when you wake up because you wake up what? Yeah, it's a bit of a shock because there'll be a portrait of you or that's a skeleton or something, you know, horrendous, but, um, that's far more comfortable than any of the trailers.
Speaker 2: 06:44 One of the things that I really appreciate about the show is the particular kind of humor there is because it constantly surprises you because you think you kind of have the characters figured out to a certain degree. And then like in the ghost episode, suddenly here are these vampires who don't believe in ghosts. And that was such a nice kind of word. And I'm just wondering, like what kind of things is Jemaine Clement drawing on in terms of coming up with these storylines?
Speaker 3: 07:12 We sort of touched upon that in the first series too. It's just, you know, it's just that same, which is always really interesting. Can be quite funny where you have a Figaro, a Sutton kind of creature, be it vampire or like zombie, but then you think, you know, what scares them, they're very famous, you know, scaring everything else, but then, you know, what would scare them and the most stupid and trivial almost childish thing that scares them. It's always going to be quite interesting. You know, it could be funny.
Speaker 2: 07:45 And I do have to ask you about the episode you did with Mark Hamill. Cause you got kind of featured in that one and that was a great piece. What was that one like to shoot?
Speaker 3: 07:52 It was a lot of fun, Stephanie Robinson, right. That, and she's great. And it was, it was just weird because that was a scene where we were fighting each other with pool cues. And I just thought, you know, here I am, I'm stood in front of Luke Skywalker [inaudible] Oh yeah. It's just, you know, there aren't that many moments, you know, take you out of what you're doing, where you think, how the hell have I ended up yeah. Doing this. I mean, I think that quite low, how the hell have I ended up here?
Speaker 2: 08:27 So as you're, uh, heading into the end of this season of what we do in the shadows, what have you liked most about playing Lazlo?
Speaker 3: 08:35 I liked working with Natasha that's, that's my, one of my main highlights. That's great. Cause we got almost identical sense of humor. So that really helps. Hi, Laszlo has always been quite musical. It's true. I can play anything. I don't give a monkeys, whether it's a threeway plunk box, Antoine sax is metallic
Speaker 5: 08:56 clarinet or the chin grinders, wind piano. But I'll tell you this, my luck changed the night I met Najah four sheep is an exquisite lyricist.
Speaker 3: 09:08 It's just made so much easier for me being in such an amazing set, everybody kind of concentrating as hard as they can. Cause that really brings out everyone to, you know, it sort of feeds off each other and do what you need to do. Yeah. It's just a good environment. I mean, you know, it's a good environment for me personally. I can't speak for anyone else. I mean, you know, I don't know how they find, you know, but it's, it's good for me. It's inspiring. And if something, you know, if there's that the attention to detail, that's gone into everything that you know, that you look at around you, then you have to match that. I think you have to be as good as all this. So it does, you know, it kind of makes you raise your game, which is always, always worth doing
Speaker 1: 09:52 that was Matt Berry of the FX show. What we do in the shadows speaking with [inaudible], their full interview is on best new cinema junkie podcast, which you can email@example.com.