Harvey Guillén has been a working actor for more than a dozen years with roles in such projects as “Eye Candy” and “iZombie.” It wasn’t until he was cast to play a human familiar in the FX comedy/horror series “What We Do in the Shadows” that his career shifted into high gear.
Not only was he dealing with all the madness that comes with the FX series but Guillén found himself also working on the NBC series “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” and providing a voice for a new character in the animated “Mickey Mouse Funhouse” at the same time.
But wait. There’s more.
After the launch of the third season of “What We Do in the Shadows” at 10 p.m. Sept. 2 on FX, he will serve as the host for a new talk show, “After the Shadows,” scheduled to air at 11 p.m. It will feature cast, crew and celebrity fans sharing their insights and love of the show, answering fan questions and playing a quick “Shadows”-related game or two.
Guillén has seen his work on “What We Do in the Shadows” change his life in unusual ways.
“I feel like people see me as Guillermo. We’ve been in the middle of a pandemic, so I really haven’t been out and about. But when I do get recognized, it’s because of Guillermo,” Guillén says. “And people are always shocked that I’m not more like him, which is a good thing?
“They think I should be more submissive and quiet. So when they meet me they’re like, ‘Ahh, you’re talking really loud.’ This is my regular voice. They don’t like that.”
He understands that “What We Do in the Shadows” has attracted such a rabid group of fans who really like his character. And, it is not only the fans who have connected with him as the show has opened more doors for him in regards to other acting roles.
He summarizes being part of the FX series as a job that has changed his life for the better.
The show that has had such an impact is based on the feature film by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. It documents the nightly exploits of vampire roommates Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) as they navigate the modern world of Staten Island with the help of their human familiar, Guillermo (Guillén).
The third season opens with Guillermo having discovered he is a vampire killer. This season, the vampires are elevated to a new level of power and will encounter the vampire from which all vampires have descended, a tempting Siren, gargoyles, werewolf kickball, Atlantic City casinos, wellness cults, ex-girlfriends, gyms and supernatural curiosities galore.
“What We Do in the Shadows” writer and executive producer Paul Simms admits the decision to make Guillermo a vampire hunter gave the team a very creative challenge.
“Where we ended last season, we painted ourselves into a corner, as we always do, with some very high stakes about the vampires’ discovery that Guillermo could kill them at any moment and that he has been living as a vampire killer among them the whole time,” Simms says.
Guillén will not give any details of where this change in his character will go. But, there are plenty of details regarding his role on the new talk show.
Initial guests for the pre-taped, online talk show include “Shadows” stars Kayvan Novak and Kristen Schaal, as well as Anthony Atamanuik, Marissa Jaret Winokur and set decorator Shayne Fox. It will be available on: Twitter.com/theshadowsfx; Facebook.com/theshadowsfx; Instagram.com/theshadowsfx; and Youtube.com/FXNetworks.
The one aspect of the job that makes Guillén – who is the son of Mexican immigrants – extremely happy is how the Latin community has embraced his character. He is told that even small scenes – such as the one in the second season where Guillermo is with his mother – have touched them deeply.
The revelation regarding Guillermo’s past will be explored through family again this season.
Simms says, “You’re going to meet all of Guillermo’s family in a way that makes Guillermo very anxious. And we’re going to learn that if he has Van Helsing DNA, then so does the rest of his family, even though they might not realize it themselves.
“And we’ll also learn in season four Guillermo feeling the effects of having dedicated 10 years of his life to these vampires and sort of neglecting his family and his responsibilities to his family and how he tries to make amends for that. But that’s season four stuff. We’ll be talking about that in a year.”
If you miss the initial telecast of an episode of “What We Do in the Shadows,” they can be seen the next day on the streaming service of Hulu.