What We Do in the Shadows Season 4 features some of the best fighting on television
When you think of great action on television, it would be understandable if your first thought is of martial arts dramas such as: warrior and Cobra Kaior a thriller like reachers. What we do in the shadows has a counterpoint: Guillermo de la Cruz by Harvey Guillén.
What we do in the shadows continues to deliver exciting battle sequences for everyone’s favorite familiars, the last of which was a key part of the fourth episode of season four entitled “The Night Market”.
As a result, the gang visits a secret supernatural marketplace to help Nadja’s anti-union efforts at her new vampire nightclub. However, Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and Guillermo end up at a night market fight club where familiars compete against each other. Of course, Nandor volunteers Guillermo to fight, and of course Guillermo finishes off the other familiars with ease (but without hurting them, much to the dismay of the unruly crowd). The crowd decides to up the ante by having Guillermo fight a vampire, eventually leading to a confrontation between Guillermo and his beloved master, Nandor.
The scene takes place on multiple vertical levels, beginning in a parking lot flanked by hundreds of spectators before leading to an elevated walkway for hand-to-hand combat. Guillermo flicks off his cloak like an old western duelist, shows extensive weapon work (featuring a cane and a sword with an improvised trash can lid shield), and even does a backflip off a truck. It’s both a great display of Guillén’s ability to pull off intricate fight choreography (he does almost all of his own work in the sequence) and his charismatic on-screen presence, turning on the crowd (and Nandor) as he puts on a show.
Guillén said it took four days to shoot at a Toronto factory, and credited stunt coordinator Tig Fong with the end result.
“That was one of my favorite episodes,” Guillén tells Polygon. “It was great to do another stunt scene with Kayvan. The sword fight was really cool.”
It wasn’t just a sword fight – Guillén also used a two-handed stick in the sequence. This was one of the more exciting parts for Guillén, and he compared Guillermo’s work with that of other pop culture figures.
“[Guillermo] picked up a new skill while away from London and really knows how to use the cane,” he says. “He’s like Gambit from the X-Men or a Jedi with a lightsaber. It was really fun.”
One of the bigger stunts in the Night Market sequence was a backflip performed by Guillermo from a van. While Guillén wanted to perform the stunt himself, his stunt double Josh Maloney (whom Guillén described as “amazing” and a “great, great performer”) had to fill in due to time constraints.
“It was the only thing I really wanted to do,” he says. “I was like noooo! Bring me in, coach!”
This isn’t unusual for Guillén: he’s a very skilled on-screen fighter and mover, as he’s shown in previous fight sequences in the series.
“I really look forward to all of these scenes because it’s like putting on a play,” he says. “You’re learning the choreography and the steps and you have to be in the right step because if you get it wrong you can hit each other and hurt yourself really badly.”
And as he tells Polygon, appearing in those sequences himself is important to him.
“If I can do it, I want to do it myself,” says Guillén. “Because then it looks real and fits harmoniously and linearly into the scene. Nothing looks worse than when you look at other shows and the stunt doubles and it’s like, It’s not the same body type or another wig and you think They are not, and we’re trying to keep it… It’s a documentary! We want to keep it as real as possible.”
Novak also got a kick out of the scene, calling it a “new, fresh challenge” that was “pretty amazing.” He highly praised Guillén’s skill and his work on the scene.
“Working with Harvey again has been great,” Novak tells Polygon. “It was kind of intimidating for me because, Harvey, you can teach him choreography and steps and dance and movement and he just picks it up so instantly.”
Guillén said the swords used in the night market fight were real and custom-made, and while they weren’t sharp enough to kill anyone, they were still a little dangerous, as the actors noted when playing Novak in their scene got a little excited.
“One of the takes, man, I got so into it,” Novak told Polygon. “Harvey uses the lid of a garbage can as a shield and I kick him with it. And then you know it’s like, ‘Cut!’ and you look and there’s holes in the damn shield, man. I pierced the shield.”
Luckily, Novak’s sword missed Guillén and no one was hurt in the incident.
“It appears. If you bump your point willy-nilly, someone will understand [hurt]’ Novak said to much laughter.
For more What we do in the shadows see what the cast had to say when asked about their favorite vampire movies, books and series. And of course, don’t forget how Matt Berry got around to yelling “Bat!” or how he recently found out the show was a hit.
New episodes of What we do in the shadows airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT on FX and is available to watch on Hulu.
https://www.polygon.com/23287054/what-we-do-in-the-shadows-harvey-guillen-guillermo-fight-scene-night-market What We Do in the Shadows Season 4 features some of the best fighting on television