Based on the 2014 motion picture of the precise very same name produced by Clement in addition to Taika Waititi, the collection follows 4 vampire roommates in New York City, in addition to celebs Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, in addition to Mark Proksch. It is the second television collection in the What We Do in the Shadows franchise company. In May 2019, FX recovered the collection for a 10-episode second duration that debuted on April 15, 2020. In May 2020, the collection was restored for the third duration.
Set in Staten Island, What We Do in the Shadows adheres to the lives of 3 standard vampires; Nandor, Laszlo, in addition to Nadja; Colin Robinson, a power vampire; as well as Guillermo, Nandor's familiarized. The collection concentrates on the vampires adapting to the modern-day world with the help of Guillermo as well as, periodically, Colin Robinson.
- Kayvan Novak as Nandor the Relentless, a 757-year-old vampire that was when an Iranic soldier of the Ottoman Empire. He concerns himself as the leader of the group. He has the capacity to change right into a bat along with a family pet. He was in addition the king of a nation called Al Quolanudar which stays in Southern Iran where he was birthed, yet the country liquified in 1401 when Nandor was just 139 years of ages.
- Matt Berry as Laszlo Cravensworth, an English noble vampire that was changed by Nadja in addition to is presently joined to her. He commonly varies from Nandor's monitoring in addition to indulges in making tracks in addition to topiary sculptures, specifically of vulvas. He has the ability to transform himself right into a bat, yet should scream “Bat!” whenever doing so. Laszlo reveals to the different other vampires in one episode that he was Jack the Ripper.
- Natassia Demetriou as Nadja, a Romani vampire, joined to Laszlo. She commonly sees the human reincarnations of her previous human follower, Gregor, that regularly dies by decapitation. She is particularly competent at going up wall surfaces in addition to has a unique capacity to transform right into a group of rats. Demetriou in addition voices Nadja's ghost from when she was human, whose spirit resides in a doll made in her similarity.
- Harvey Guillén as Guillermo De la Cruz, Nandor's Latino familiarized. He has really provided his master for 10 years in order to become a vampire-like the fictional vampire Armand, played by Antonio Banderas, that initially affected him. Guillermo finds he is a spawn of the prominent vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, consequently a lot unknown to the others, reveals to be truly experienced at eliminating vampires.
- Mark Proksch as Colin Robinson, an effective vampire that handles the set of three. He drains pipelines people (in addition to vampires) of their power by stressing out or discouraging them. He is in addition a Daywalker, that makes him cost-free to roam night and day (making regular vampires envious). Unlike typical vampires, he exposes no outside sign of vampirism, aside from that his irises luster when he victimizes power exposes a light variant of himself. The others are continuously irritated by him, in addition to commonly effort to remain free from associating with him, although they become unable to obliterate Robinson's insurance policy case that they are, as a matter of fact, buddies.
- Doug Jones as Baron Afanas, an old vampire from the Old Country that assumes vampires require to rule the world. He is in addition bisexual as both Nadja, in addition to Laszlo, had secret occasions with The Baron.
- Beanie Feldstein as Jenna, a LARPer in addition to virgin whom Guillermo attracted for the vampires to enjoy. She was later changed by Nadja right into a vampire when she witnesses Jenna being managed improperly by her group as well as pitied with her from her actual own fights in her human life. During her vampire training with Nadja, she is revealed to have the unique capacity to transform undetectable, which fits the propensity of people to forget her.
- Jake McDorman as Jeff Suckler, a reincarnation of Nadja's previous human follower, Gregor, a Knight that has actually been removed by decapitation in each of his lives. Nadja eventually recoups Jeff's memories of his previous lives to guarantee that he can be a great deal even more like his previous self, produce him dropping under chaos in addition to being committed to a psychological company. It is later disclosed to Nadja in addition to Gregor that Laszlo had really been developing his deaths because of the truth that Nadja would certainly become unfavorable whenever Gregor was pious, an activity that she finds touching.
- Anthony Atamanuik as Sean, the human list below door next-door neighbor. He commonly witnesses Laszlo doing exceptionally inappropriate as well as unlawful things but is easily hypnotized into forgetting everything. The vampires only spare him because he brings their trash cans in when they forget.
- Veronika Slowikowska as Shanice, Jenna's college roommate who is aware of her being a vampire, and later joins the Mosquito Collectors of the Tri-State Area, a secret team of amateur vampire hunters.
- Nick Kroll as Simon the Devious, a vampire who rules over the Manhattan vampires and owns the Sassy Cat nightclub. He was a close friend to the Staten Island trio when all the vampires first arrived in America.
- Mary Gillis as June, Nadja, and Laszlo's familiar. She appears to be an ill old woman that communicates through grunts. She is killed when the Baron sucks all her blood when he arrives on Staten Island.
- Hayden Szeto as Jonathan, a LARPer college student that Guillermo lured for the vampires to feast on. However, Colin beat them to it by draining his energy, making the blood totally without nourishment.
- Gloria Laino as The Baron's Familiar. She is keeping a watchful eye on the vampires of Staten Island as her master awakes. Guillermo says that she pops out of nowhere and hears “everything”. Despite staying silent most of the time she is perfectly capable of speaking.
- Marceline Hugot as Barbara Lazarro, the madam president of the Staten Island Council. She was going to be the vampires' way of taking over Staten Island until Laszlo left a pile of dead raccoons on her doorstep in an attempt to win her trust, resulting in her believing it was a form of the terrorist threat.
- Vanessa Bayer as Evie Russell, Colin's co-worker. She is an advanced form of energy vampire — an emotional vampire — who feeds off of the pity generated from her outlandish stories of suffering rather than simply frustrating people for energy to drain like Colin. She and Colin date for a short time until he begins to feel the relationship is unhealthy. Her first name is a homophone of “E.V.”
- Arj Barker as Arjan, the pack leader of the Staten Island Werewolf Support Group. He entered into the truce between his kind and the vampires (which was created in 1993).
- Jeremy O. Harris as Colby, a human familiar to Dantos the Cruel and Radinka the Brutal, two 400-year-old vampires who appear to be children while Colby portrays as their father.
- Kristen Schaal as The Guide (also known as the “Floating Woman”), an envoy of the Vampiric Council who likes to float and sometimes speak in a demonic voice.
- Dave Bautista and Alexandra Henrikson as Garrett and Vasillika the Defiler, vampires imprisoned by the Council after Garrett was framed by Laszlo for turning a baby into a vampire (which is very unlawful), as well as Vasillika for too much defiling.
- Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, and Jemaine Clement reprise their roles as Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav from the original film. Three vampires arrived from New Zealand to participate in the Vampiric Council.
- Tilda Swinton as Tilda, the leader of the Vampiric Council.
- Evan Rachel Wood as Evan the Immortal Princess of the Undead, a member of the Council who just goes by her first name.
- Danny Trejo as Danny, a Hispanic tattooed member of the Council. He has an open dislike of Wesley.[d]
- Paul Reubens as Paul, a member of the Council.
- Wesley Snipes as Wesley the Daywalker, a half-vampire member of the Council who couldn't participate in person yet just video chat through Skype. Danny despises him, claiming he's a vampire hunter, which he denies.
- Craig Robinson as Claude, the leader of the Mosquito Collectors of the Tri-State Area, a secret team of amateur vampire hunters. (season 2)
- Mark Hamill as Jim the Vampire (season 2)
- Haley Joel Osment as Topher, Nadja and Lazlo's new familiar (season 2)
- Benedict Wong as Wallace, a necromancer and tchotchke salesman (season 2)
- Greta Lee as Celeste, a familiar that pretends to be a vampire (season 2)
- Lucy Punch as Lilith, a witch, as well as rival of Nadja (season 2)
- James Frain as the voice of Black Peter, a goat as well as witch's familiar (season 2)
On January 22, 2018, it was announced that FX had given the production a pilot order. The pilot was written by Jemaine Clement and directed by Taika Waititi both of whom are also executive producers alongside Scott Rudin, Paul Simms, Garrett Basch, and Eli Bush. On May 3, 2018, it was announced that FX had given the production a series order for an initial season consisting of ten episodes, planned to premiere in 2019. On February 4, 2019, it was announced during the Television Critics Association's annual winter press tour that the series would premiere on March 27, 2019.
According to Jemaine Clement: “We stay pretty basic '70s/'80s vampire rules, with a little bit of the '30s. They can turn into bats. They can't go in the sunlight; they don't sparkle in the sun, they die. They have to be invited in; in a lot of literature vampires have to be invited into private buildings, but this is a documentary so it's the real rules which means they have to be invited into any building.” The main influences on the series are Fright Night, Martin, The Lost Boys, Nosferatu, Interview with the Vampire, Vampire's Kiss, and Bram Stoker's Dracula.
The song used in the opening credits is “You're Dead” by Norma Tanega.
On May 7, 2019, it was announced that the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on April 15, 2020. On May 22, 2020, FX renewed the series for a third season.
Alongside the pilot order announcement, it was confirmed that Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, and Harvey Guillen would star in the pilot. On February 7, 2018, it was announced that Doug Jones, Beanie Feldstein, Jake McDorman, and Mark Proksch had been cast in the pilot in roles that had the potential to recur should the production receive a series order. On April 11, 2018, it was reported that Hayden Szeto had been cast in the pilot.
Principal photography for the initial season took place from October 22 to December 18, 2018, in Toronto, Ontario.
Writer/producer Paul Simms said that series does not use CGI effects: “There's no fully digital characters or anything like that. One of the movies we really talked about a lot when we were conceiving the show was Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula where he went back to really doing as many effects as possible in-camera and figuring out ways to do that. One of my favorite supernatural moments is completely in-camera. It's where Beanie Feldstein's character is walking along in the park and Nadja appears walking next to her. That was all just done completely the old fashioned way where Natassia was hiding behind a tree and the camera was tracking along and at the right moment, she walked out from behind a tree. I think there's something about that old fashioned way that makes things more interesting than when you can tell it's digital and rubbery and fake looking”.
Among the cinematographers, D.J. Stephen, as well as Christian Sprenger's influences for the series, was the work of Michael Ballhaus and production designer Thomas E. Sanders on the Coppola-directed Bram Stoker's Dracula: “We referenced that film for the general sumptuousness of the vampires' mansion, which was our main set. Our take, however, was that the Staten Island vampires have let their place go. The former glory is evident but now exists in a worn, faded, and distressed state. Production designer Kate Bunch and I had a lot of conversations about striking the right balance between sumptuousness and neglect. There are strong reds, but also yellow that has faded to the point of being a warm brown.”
Filming for the second season began on October 15, 2019, and was scheduled to end on December 21, 2019.
On October 7, 2018, the series held a panel at the annual New York Comic Con moderated by Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall and featuring co-creators Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, along with fellow executive producer Paul Simms. Before the panel began, the initially episode of the series was screened for the audience. The world premiere for the series was screened during the 2019 South by Southwest movie festival in Austin, Texas as a part of the festival's “Episodic Premieres” collection.