Harvey Guillén on L’Arc de Guillermo
Have the past few years made you sick from your job? Have you changed careers? You’re not the only one. At What we do in the shadows, the best workplace vampire comedy on television, Guillermo de la Cruz (Harvey Guillén) has just made a big career change after a decade of being ‘familiar’ with the vampire Nandor – but not quite the one he expected. Instead of being promoted to vampire status himself, Guillermo makes a lateral move instead: bodyguard of the Vampiric Council of East Staten Island.
Despite his Van Helsing blood, Guillermo’s bodyguard gives more to Kevin Costner than to Hugh Jackman, because a poster for the show’s third season winked at. While Nandor (Kayvan Novak) has been Guillermo’s boss – and the vampiredom barrier – for years, Guillermo spends most of his time saving Nandor from himself (or other vampires, or from the rearview mirrors of himself). cars, or the sun).
“Guillermo has to do some pretty horrible things to make his employer happy, and for some reason we forgive him,” Guillén, who hosts FX’s post-show interview series After the shadows, said Vulture. “He’s the heart – because he’s literally the only human heart that beats on the show. I think people are really drawn to it. As Shadows Approaching the end of its third season, we asked Guillén about Guillermo’s relationship with Nandor, his Machiavellian evolution this season, and the importance of the Chosen Family, even when that Chosen Family is a bunch of millennial vampires living on Staten Island. .
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
We just left New York Comic Con, where we both saw a cosplayer dressed as Guillermo who thanked you for your portrayal of queer brown characters. I feel like Guillermo is by far the fan favorite right now.
I feel the love from the first season until now. Guillermo was the underdog, and he didn’t say much, in fact, in the first season. It was more the, being the familiar, and he spoke with his face. You could tell what he was thinking when he looked at the camera.
We are all Guillermo at one point or another in our lives. We have been in a position that we hate and we don’t get promoted, or we get overlooked for promotion. Or maybe we can’t share the feelings we have for someone from afar, or have to navigate certain waters with different dynamics in a household. I think anyone can relate to all of the human emotions that Guillermo has.
I’m just waiting for Nandor and Guillermo to have a ‘sweep my feet’ love affair, and it stresses me every moment that I don’t have Nandor and Guillermo kissing onscreen. You can take any direction you want, whether it’s to confirm my galloping expedition, or just to share what it was like to see these two characters on similar trajectories, but in their very different experiences as a vampire and as a than human.
I think everyone is waiting for something to happen, whether it’s romantic or [having] in fact, what is their dynamic? And what is the connection they have? I’m very lucky to have a counterpart like Keyvan, where we’re both so comfortable in the characters and Keyvan is such a generous actor. We’re doing a comedy, but at the end of the day their story is what founds humanity, because it’s a 50-50 split between someone who is immortal and no longer cares about time, and someone for who the clock is ticking, and must either make the choice to be immortal himself, or make a choice and live a life that does not include this world.
It really is a difficult situation to live with, and it is a fork in the road. Even when I read the scripts, I feel like, “Oh my God, what’s going to happen? Because it’s a slow burn with them. And I think people say, “No, do something! Either be together, or not be together, or say something! Or is one of you not in it? Or maybe it’s not even love like that? Maybe it’s a love between two males, and we normalize that two males affectionate each other without making it sexualized? It could be a possibility. It’s just, What is it? I think everyone is anxious to know, for example, “Tell us what this is! “
When I watch the show I see that Guillermo is coded, but I’m queer too, so maybe I’m looking for him everywhere all the time.
It is important to feel that you are represented and to feel that you are encouraging a character who is not the victim, that their strange story does not define how tragic the outcome of their life is. Because we’ve seen it for so long in the media, in the way gay people are portrayed, and it’s very black and white. You’re either fabulous and the best friend and overkill or you’re like, “Oh, he’s out and then, tragically, they kill him.” It’s been so black and white for so long. It’s not the world we live in, and it’s certainly not the lifestyle and the life that our queer siblings lead.
I’ve always said, everyone on the show, the characters are weird, but vampires, they’ve got nothing to lose. They could cut your heart, bite you, or break your neck. There is no fear. The difference with Guillermo is that he doesn’t talk about sexuality. He has this fear that was imposed on him by society, this fear that was imposed on him perhaps by his culture, his education. There is the fear that we all overcome to be authentic ourselves, and that is why it is so liberating when this opportunity presents itself.
Will this happen for Guillermo? We are yet to be discovered, and [is it] what we thought it was, or is that another story? But other than that, it’s always important to have a performance, to see yourself, because that encourages someone who might be in the same scenario to be like, “It’s okay, it’s going to be fine. You have support, you have chosen the family.
I’m really touched by your portrayal of Guillermo constantly guarding these giant fools who could kill and kill each other at any time. Nandor can’t even go out on the street without Guillermo reminding him to look both ways.
Although [Nandor is] asking to be left alone he still needs [Guillermo]. That’s another reason Guillermo stays, that “I want to help” mentality. He needs me, he needs me. Being wanted is a feeling some people yearn for. Some people have be needed, so there is a purpose for you in this world.
As much as Guillermo has his own dreams and aspirations, he has become a monster, in the sense that Nandor is helpless. He could be “The Relentless,” as he never flexes, but may not be the smartest in certain scenarios, where he needs a human like Guillermo to get him out of a pickle. And that’s why he sticks around.
Remember, he walked away from the house at the end of season two and decided to go back and save them. He could have left them; he owes them nothing. They think they owe him a life of immortality, because he wants to be a vampire, and they never saw that through, and they promised. So he could have been an asshole about it and said, “That’s not my problem.” He stands in the middle of a vampire room to save the group of assholes he has grown to love and made his chosen family for over a decade.
After being so wise in the first season, it’s sort of Guillermo’s Machiavellian season – he reads The art of War, he drops things in people’s ears. How does it feel to have this scheming Guillermo in the middle of Nadja and Nandor having no idea what they’re doing?
I like the idea of us introducing a Machiavellian approach to his technique, because he tried so many things for ten years: he tried to do things by the book, he tried to play by the rules, and he didn’t. ‘happens nowhere. They say nice guys finish last, and he’s starting to realize that modesty is a virtue, but in this world, modesty can hurt you. You have to speak up, you have to say what is owed to you, you have to be paid a certain salary, you deserve a promotion. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and for so long it’s been so submissive that they reject it, like, “Whatever, you’ll always be there.” And I see it, unfortunately, in many other professions.
Should I be worried that Guillermo is being pushed to the dark side?
I don’t think he will change that drastically. Basically, he’s a good person. I also think people are pushed to their limits, and he’s definitely been pushed to his. Whatever the outcome, I think everyone would agree, “Yes, I would have done that too, if I were in her shoes.”
For so long people are rooting it, they go so crazy. “Come on, make him a vampire!” Or “Come on, Guillermo, take a spine. Come on!” People want him to take action, and I can say he will definitely start to take action, slowly and surely. But what are the repercussions?
As Guillermo’s character has grown, I’ve noticed that sweaters are still in the mix, but I love all the little hints and nods to Van Helsing. Her hair has changed a lot. Guillermo looks very organized in a different way than he used to be.
You caught it; it’s the little details. The costume changes a bit, her hair changes to the side. I think he was making a certain appearance because for so long he wanted to be perfect in this world. When the “promotion” happened, he wanted to look professional. He shared his desire to be a vampire, and also the corporate world of “I work in an office, that’s how you would act like an office, you would part your hair like that.”
And trust has never hurt anyone. For so long, Guillermo didn’t trust him. The story I give him for my own purposes is that he was probably bullied in school, he was bullied, he was tall, he was Latinx, he was all those things that were usually beatings on you like the company says, and he was literally trying to change that. And then, sometimes you have to realize that the punches you are being told are against you are actually your strength, and your strength is what shines through. I think he’s starting to understand, “These are my strengths and they’re badass.”