Harvey Guillén Talks 'What We Do in the Shadows' Season 4 and Joining the DC Universe (Exclusive)
The Emmy-nominated FX comedy What We Do in the Shadows is back with season 4 as Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) and Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) have reunited in their Staten Island mansion as the gang starts pursuing ambitions of their own, from finding eternal love to launching a new vampire nightclub.
Not only that, but “this season will basically be answering all the questions that people have had for the last three seasons,” Guillén tells ET. And some of those biggest answers will be about Guillermo.
“I mean, we always have talked about how Guillermo doesn’t kiss and tell. It’s the thing that he’s been brought up with, partially because of his background or maybe that he was told you don’t show affection in public or maybe sexuality’s not a topic of conversation for the dinner table,” the actor explains. “So, he’s finally going to be asking himself questions that the audience might have been asking before that he was too shy to move forward with [in the past].”
Read on to find out what Guillén has to say about Nandor and Guillermo being the modern-day Sam and Diane, meeting his character’s extended family as well as how he feels about joining the DC Universe with parts in Harley Quinn and Blue Beetle.
ET: How would you describe this season overall?
Harvey Guillén: We’re going to regroup the gang after a year of being separated and a lot of emotions are gonna be brought up. So, I feel like everyone’s on their own journey this season to find out what makes them happy, including a wedding, including rebirth, including being honest with yourself and including new business adventures. So, everyone is on this road to better themselves.
As you said, the premiere sees everyone finally back together after being separated at the end of last season. And things seem pretty tense between Guillermo and the vampires. How are we going to see those relationships tested?
I think everyone’s gonna be pushed to their limits and this season, Guillermo gets pushed to his ultimate limit. He’s been building this up for 13 years, being a familiar and now, the answer that he wants is the answer that he has given himself. [He can’t wait] for someone else to give him permission or a title.
I think Guillermo’s trying to take matters into his own hands. As you see later in this season, [there’s] a big explosion that shows how powerful and strong he is, and just being and owning his own space, and not necessarily having to use any kind of special power or anything except for what’s in him naturally. That’s so great he can finally flex that.
I feel like part of what’s going to push Guillermo to his limit is Nandor. And I know you’re asked a lot about the relationship between the two, but how is Nandor’s search for love going to test his relationship with Guillermo?
Well, that's the thing that I feel like a lot of people, you know, want to see them together. They’ve been together for over a decade as really a close partnership, if you will. It’s a relationship that if they had with anyone else they would be a married couple. [There would be] intimacy, you know? And so, I think people are just waiting for that last step. Like, “Are you gonna do it? Come on, are you gonna do it? Will they, won’t they? Is this, you know, Cheers?”
I feel like sometimes we want to rush things that need to organically happen. And I think that the audience, especially with Nandor’s search for a wife this season, and asking Guillermo help him find his wife and to be a best man at his wedding, which most people would think that’s a slap in the face of the history that we’ve seen, but you’ve made that assumption in your head by watching. We have never officially said anything about them being together or if they have feelings for each other. They miss each other or whatnot, but so does your best friend, you know? You and your best friend can be so close. Like, you can watch a movie with your best friend but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be physical with them.
So, we’re showing this really strong bond between these two characters and whatever happens in the future will happen organically. You know, that year away made him realize a lot of things. The last time we saw him, he was so excited to spend the rest of his life traveling at night with Nandor. I think it’s nice to see that we’re gonna see him kind of maybe -- you know, we get hints of [him acting] mysteriously. He’s talking to someone on the phone. So, we’re like, “Whoa, what’s going on?” And we might finally hear Guillermo kiss and tell.
I’m glad that you mentioned Cheers because I wanted to ask, does it feel like Guillermo and Nandor are the modern-day Sam and Diane? What’s it like to add a new layer to that “will they, won’t they” dynamic we see on TV so often?
I love Cheers. That’s a great example. It’s fun because Kayvan and I play with these characters and we love what we do, so it’s fun to see how great, you know, they connect with each other and how people want to see more of them. [The audience] tunes in to watch a little sprinkle of it in every episode, like, “What’s gonna happen? What’s gonna move them forward? What’s gonna set them back?”
So, it’s nice to know the fans really love their dynamic. And it won’t disappoint. This season, we’ll be showing you a different color to the painting and I think people are really going to like it.
I also have to ask about meeting Guillermo’s extended family, which you all teased as a great episode. What can we expect from his family and how does that inform what we know about Guillermo?
It is one of my favorite episodes of the season. We get to meet the family and we get to see a little bit of where he comes from and how he interacts with them and the persona that they might have of him.
Remember that Guillermo is a different person in each environment. When he is with the Mosquito Collectors of the Tri-State Area, he’s a little more confident and has more voice and takes leadership. When he’s with vampires earlier in the seasons, he’s quiet and timid. He’s afraid to be punished and given another year of sentence as a familiar. And so, he kind of, like, chameleons himself to whatever he needs to be in that environment, and then we’ll see what he means to his family and how he carries himself in that environment, which will be interesting for the audience to see.
In addition to What We Do in the Shadows, you also have Harley Quinn coming up. In season 3, you play Nightwing. What made you want to join the show and be a part of that voice cast?
Being part of that world, I mean, it’s so iconic. When they asked me to voice Nightwing, I [made this] joke that they were typecasting. I was like, “Nightwing was known for having his best assets behind him.” And so, I remember making a joke out of that and people went online and ran with it.
But I like the idea of joining the DC world with both animation and live-action. I also just finished filming Blue Beetle and that’s gonna be coming out next year. So, I’m excited about that. And doing Harley Quinn just goes hand in hand. To play a superhero, I mean, it’s kind of great.
In terms of what we get to see on Harley Quinn, how would you describe Nightwing?
He is brooding. We see him, off the bat, back from Blüdhaven and there’s something about him that he’s out to prove something that we hear in his tone. And he wants to lead with this, like, hard exterior. But remember that no one’s ever as tough as they show. It’s always like their bark is bigger than their bite. With him, he wants to prove that his bite is absolutely bone-crushing.
Since you also mentioned Blue Beetle, I was curious what it was like being on set, especially with such a large Latinx cast, which we normally don’t see in superhero films.
When I got the part, I was just through the moon ‘cause it is such an iconic cast and it’s going to change everything. I always say representation matters to where I’m blue in the face, but this cast is all Latinx actors. When you read the script -- I grew up in a Mexican household -- and to read those lines out loud, which I’ve never heard in other stories, and I’ve never heard that dialogue in other movies that I've seen like that, and so it’s gonna be groundbreaking.
I feel so honored to be a part of this. And there’s gonna be some Latino kid watching this movie who can feel inspired to do anything. And I feel that this is going to be for the Latino community what Black Panther was for the Black community and representation. We say it until we’re blue in the face, but we [need to] see more people of color setting examples of being role models and not just like the Latino gang banger, the Latino toilet scrubber. No, we should see them in positions of power, as heroes, [living an] aspirational life because that exists. So, we need more of that. I always say we need more superheroes of color.
What We Do in the Shadows premieres with two episodes Tuesday, July 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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