‘What We Do In The Shadows’ Harvey Guillén On Guillermo’s Slayer Roots And Third-Wheeling It In S3

No one understands the horror of an unpaid internship like What We Do In The Shadows resident familiar, Guillermo de la Cruz.

He’s been stuck in one for over a decade, cleaning up dead bodies and babysitting a group of idiotic immortals as they battle topiary-wrecking werewolf clans and semen-stealing witches and email chain curses. Harvey Guillén has had fun doing it all, but come season three, his character is feeling a little less subservient and a little more like slaying some sh*t. After Guillermo’s theater rampage and lineage reveal, the group is left wondering how to handle their friendly Latino Van Helsing which puts a strain on the relationship between familiar and master and causes plenty of other problems as they embrace their new roles on the Vampiric Council.

UPROXX chatted with Guillén about Guillermo’s strange journey this season, what it means for his bromance with Nandor, homemade buñuelos, and a possible Jersey Shore cameo.

Last season, Guillermo found out some disturbing news about his ancestry. Is he still struggling with that revelation this season, or is he embracing his slayer roots?

I think that he’s at a crossroads right now. He’s found out he’s a Van Helsing, but he also has devoted over 11 years now to wanting to be a vampire. So what do you do? It’s like … this is the moment. This season we find out that people can be pushed, and Guillermo is no exception and he’s going to be pushed to his limits.

Right, the bromance between Nandor and Guillermo is in real trouble right now. What kind of strain does Nandor’s romantic life put on their friendship this season?

I think it’s hard because he’s third-wheeling it. [Nandor] has an old love come into his life and of course, he gets a little bit jealous — that happens with friendships, with two best friends and one of them is dating and the other one isn’t. It makes you a little jealous and understandably so, but also, I feel like he’s been in this position before. Nandor goes through these waves of old romances or new romances where he’s wooing someone new at a 24-hour fitness place. So all of these new additions to his everyday life kind of throw a wrench in his plan.

Are there deeper feelings there, on Guillermo’s part?

There are definitely feelings there. After working for someone, you have to have feelings for them. You have to have a love for them to stick around and put up with the shit that he puts up. Unfortunately, it’s like a toxic relationship in many ways, but a lot of people stay in those relationships for years. It’s hard to see from the outside looking in. It’s like, ‘No, you don’t see. Yes, he gets angry. Yes, he says mean things …’ You always excuse people’s behavior.

I do think that Guillermo has feelings for him — whether that’s romantic or whether it’s true friendship … [Nandor] is really the only friend he’s ever known. That’s all mixed in there and it makes the waters very murky to swim in. So we’re trying to get some clarity.

Originally, Guillermo was supposed to be decades older. He was a very different character before you were cast. Has there been anything you’ve brought to who this guy is that you’re really proud of?

Yeah, for season two we had a conversation about when we meet Guillermo’s mom. That was very important to really represent what it’s like to live in a household with this Mexican heritage. It’s incorporated into everything, into what they’re eating — even down to the buñuelos that were being made. We shoot in Toronto, so it’s not a big buñuelo spot. The show literally had them flown in and they were Colombian buñuelos. There are different kinds, but we needed a Mexican buñuelo, and they got the wrong one. So I said, ‘It’s okay, we’re just going to make them.’ So we got a stack of flour tortillas and then we got cinnamon and sugar and some canola oil, and I made the buñuelos on set right before we shot the scene, which was very important to me.

I know no one else would have noticed, but I was like, ‘No, they would have made buñuelos and this would have been the dessert around this time of year.’ It was really important because people were messaging me on social media, at Comic Cons, letting me know, ‘Oh I noticed the buñuelos. I felt like I was at home with my mom.’ So even having that on-screen was like a little bit of magic.

I feel like this is a real merch opportunity for the show. FX needs to package this dessert and brand it.

Yeah, ‘Guillermo’s Buñuelos.’

Guillermo obviously still has a desire to be turned. If he were to become a vampire right now, which pop culture vamp would he emulate?

At this point in season three, it’d be a little bit of a combination because he’s at a crossroads with Van Helsing and with wanting to be a vampire. So it would be a little bit of Wesley Snipes, maybe some Victorian-style outfits, and a wink to Antonio Banderas as well. I think it’s like a melting pot of vampire energy.

The group goes on a trip to Atlantic City this season. They’ve already been clubbing in Manhattan and we had Jackie Daytona go to Pennsylvania. Is there anywhere else in the tri-state area you’d like to visit?

Oh man, it would be fun to go to the Catskills, maybe like for an overnight camping adventure, but Jersey Shore has the nightlife. That’d be kind of a fun night out on the town. We can bring the cast of the Jersey Shore along.

Snooki could take you guys to Karma.

Right? What if Snooki gets bitten in before I do?