'What We Do In The Shadows': Producers Talk The All-Star Episode "The Trial" Featuring Wesley Snipes, Tilda Swinton And More

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains SPOILERS for the seventh episode of ‘What We Do in the Shadows’, entitled “The Trial.”  

Fans of the 2014 vampire comedy ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ received a massive treat during the seventh episode of the FX series based on it.  In ‘The Trial,” the show’s leads, Nandor (played by Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), find themselves brought before the Vampire Council, where Nandor blurts out that they are responsible for killing Baron Afanas (Doug Jones).


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Tilda Swinton, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
Paul Reubens, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer

From there, an all-star cast of guest stars parades through, including the creators of the film and TV series, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, reprising their roles from the film, along with co-star Jonny Brugh.  But that was just the start, as the episode also featured cameos by other actors who have played vampires in previous TV shows or films: Tilda Swinton (‘Only Lovers Left Alive’), Paul Reubens (‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’), Evan Rachel Wood (‘True Blood’), Danny Trejo (‘From Dusk Till Dawn’), and, via Skype, Wesley Snipes (‘Blade’).  The actors are all referred to by their real first names, although Snipes is also called “Daywalker” in reference to his half-breed role in the action franchise.

It is stated that “Rob, Keifer, Tom, and Brad” didn’t bother to show up, referencing ‘Twilight’s Robert Pattinson, ‘The Lost Boys” Keifer Sutherland, and ‘Interview with the Vampire’s Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.  Reportedly, Sutherland passed.  Pitt seemed interested, but the show’s list of cameos had ballooned to the point where the producers didn’t pursue him any further.

Evan Rachel Wood, ‘True Blood’
Danny Trejo, ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’

Paul Simms, who executive produces alongside Clement and Waititi, said, “The idea came up when we were first in the writers’ room, mapping out the season.  Jemaine had the idea of the vampire tribunal. He said, ‘And then we’ll have all these famous vampires from movies and TV.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to get those. It would be impossible.’”

Clement recalls, “I’d been to SXSW with [the movie version of] ‘What We Do in the Shadows’, and Tilda Swinton was there [with ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’], and our films were playing almost together, two vampire films. She said, “Do something where our vampire characters are together.” I just locked that away in my brain.”

Waititi also called back to the original film, saying, “I asked Tilda to do it and she was like, ‘Okay, sure.’ [Laughs] That was pretty much it.”


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Clement recalls the process:

Wesley Snipes, ‘Blade’

“Yeah, so we started with Tilda, and it was kind of her idea. We had high hopes she would turn up, even though people were skeptical. People would go, “Are you sure?” We were pretty sure of that one. Yeah, we had a massive list, and then our casting people went out to lots of people. I’ve seen ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, the movie, but I didn’t know Paul Reubens played that character, because he’s so in disguise… but we were excited to get him, because he’s such a funny person. We had to wait a while to get Wesley to agree to it. In the writers’ room, when the idea came up that someone would be on Skype, I found [that] really funny, from being in lots of meetings where there’s one person on Skype, and how disruptive it is to those meetings. So we pushed hard to get him to come. Danny Trejo and I were actually in a movie together.  (‘Muppets Most Wanted’) Evan Rachel Wood just said yes, so we were lucky there. It’s actually surprising how many people have played quite classic vampires [and] are still quite young. We had everyone on this list. We made a huge list. There were more people who didn’t make it. Like we’re saying in the scene [laughs], some people don’t want to do that anymore. Some of those things were true when we were improvising, like, “He was busy,” “He didn’t want to do it.”

The producers revealed that ‘True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård was keen to appear, but he was in Australia at the time.  Another actor that was cut was Waititi’s co-star from ‘Thor: The Dark World’, Cate Blanchett.

“For some reason, Cate Blanchett was on the list. I think maybe people got confused. I don’t know why she was on their lists. I was like, ‘Cate, have you ever played a vampire?’ She was like, ‘No, but I’d love to.’ I was like, ‘But you haven’t?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well then you can’t be in the show.’ [Laughs] She was like, ‘What? I want to be in it!’ I said, ‘But you can’t, because you haven’t been a vampire. Those are the rules!'”

Well, here’s hoping they find a role for her in Season Two, now that FX has placed that order.

There are three episodes of the first season of ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ remaining.  The series airs on Wednesday nights on FX at 10 pm EST.


Source: Entertainment Weekly