5 Questions With Harvey Guillén Of FX’s ‘What We Do In The Shadows’

Matthias Clamer/FX

In FX’s hilarious vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows, based on Jemaine Clement and Taika Waitiki’s 2014 cult-classic horror mockumentary of the same name, Harvey Guillén steals every scene.

Guillén plays Guillermo, the lovable familiar (i.e., the non-vampire helper) of a vampire who was once a warrior in the Ottoman Empire but who is a little clueless on how to deal with life in modern-day Staten Island.

In the May 29 season finale, “Ancestry,” Guillermo helps Nandor find one of his living descendants. If you’re new to WWDITS, don’t fret — it’s easy to catch up on the first season on the FX website of the FX+ app. — and FX has renewed it for a second season.

When we caught up with Guillén — after our sides stopped aching from laughing at the series’ antics — we asked him our “5 Questions.”

Harvey Guillen as Guillermo (Russ Martin/FX)

1. If your TV had only three shows or networks on it, what would you be watching?

I would be watching FX — I’m so excited for Fosse/Verdon. History channel. I love History channel. Then, the last one would have to be some kind of good, bad TV; I’m really obsessed with the whole franchise of the [Real] Housewives. So, I got everything: I got history, I got good scripted entertainment and then I got reality.

2. What three foods do you have to have in your refrigerator or pantry at all times?

Oh man, I just started doing this because I was in Toronto: kettle chips with truffle oil and Parmesan. It’s so good. I’m just thinking about them, now I’m hungry. I really like Tim Tams — those are from Australia. And then, I probably would do Tajín and fruit, which is a Mexican dish.

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3. What movie can you watch over and over again?

Waiting for Guffman. I love the ridiculousness of this world where they put on a play and it’s grounded and it’s a mockumentary. Everyone’s so good. I can watch that movie anytime.

4. Tell us about a time you were completely starstruck.

Right now! Michelle Williams was coming offstage, and she looks like a pixie and a fairy, and she walked right by me! We were wearing the same color pattern, so I think she acknowledged that without saying so. I really loved her in My Week With Marilyn. I’ve always thought she was so talented. I remember being little and watching reruns of Dawson’s Creek and being like, “She’s so good.” Not that I knew. What did I know as a young kid watching her?

Natasia Demetriou as Nadja (Russ Martin/FX)

5. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always knew I wanted to be an actor. I remember being 6 years old and I was watching Annie and I told my mom I wanted to be an orphan. And she looked at me weird — she’s all, “Qué? El orphan?” And I was like, “Yeah, I want to be an orphan. I want to do what they’re doing.” She’s like, “Oh, they’re actors, they’re kid actors.” I was like, “I want to do that.”

And so my friend found out that there was an acting class at the local YMCA for $12.50, and we didn’t have that money. We were a low-income, single mom-led, immigrant family. I was like, “can I have $12?” And my mom was heartbroken and told me, “No, Mijo, we don’t have money for that.” But when I asked if I could take the class if I earned the money myself, she said, “Mijo, if you can earn your own money you can do whatever you want.” And I thought, “Oh shit, I’m six years old. How do I make money?”

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So one day we were walking home from school and I saw this guy pulling bottles and cans out of the trash cans and learned that you can earn money for collecting cans. So I went into my mom’s closet, got a wire hanger and unhooked it and used it to reach into garbage cans to get aluminum. When I sold my first bag, only got $6.42 and I didn’t have enough for the class. It took me four weeks to get the money.

What We Do in the Shadows, Wednesdays, 9/8c, FX