‘What We Do in the Shadows’: Harvey Guillén Wanted to Attempt the Backflip in ‘The Night Market’

When What We Do in the Shadows first aired in 2019, fans probably didn’t suspect that Harvey Guillén’s character Guillermo would go on to have some of the best fight scenes of the FX series. After learning that he is a descendant of Van Helsing, Guillermo kills quite a few vampires. He eventually becomes a bodyguard for Nandor and his roommates. Guillén is always willing to attempt his own stunts, but he wasn’t allowed to backflip off a van in the episode “The Night Market.”

Kayvan Novak as Nandor and Harvey Guillén as Guillermo in What We Do in the Shadows. Nandor and Guillermo stand on the bus.
Kayvan Novak as Nandor and Harvey Guillén as Guillermo in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ | Russ Martin/FX

Harvey Guillénlikes to do his own stunts in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’

At the end of the first season of What We Do in the Shadows, Harvey Guillén’s character Guillermo learns he is a descendant of Van Helsing. This explains his surprising knack for killing vampires. He later uses this skill to protect Nandor and his roommates and eventually becomes their bodyguard.

Although Guillen does have a stunt double, the actor has always been determined to be in as many action scenes as possible. “Of course, we’re really safe on set, and we have a stunt coordinator, Tig [Fong],” Guillén said in a 2020 interview with Looper

“Our director for stunts is amazing, and I have a stunt double as well. To have a stunt double, it’s great, but I was like, ‘You know what? I want to do the stunts that I can if it’s possible for me to do it.'”

Guillermo battles Nandor at the Night Market

In What We Do in the Shadows Season 4, Guillermo visits the Night Market with Nandor, where he is introduced to “familiar fights.” After destroying the competition, Guillermo is faced with battling his own master. The epic fight was complete with wooden stake throwing, sword fighting, and a back flip off of a van.

“It was one of my favorite episodes,” Guillén told Polygon. “It was great to do another stunt scene with Kayvan [Novak]. Sword fighting was really cool.” Although Guillén wanted to perform the backflip himself, his stunt double Josh Maloney tapped in due to time constraints. “That was the one thing I really want to do,” he stated. “I was like, ‘Noooo! Put me in, coach!’”

Harvey Guillén continues to be adamant about doing any What We Do in the Shadows stunts he can. “If I can do it, I want to do it myself,” the actor told Polygon. “Because then it looks real, and it’s cohesive and linear to the scene. Nothing looks worse than when you look at other shows and the stunt doubles and it’s like, ‘That’s not the same body type’ or a different wig, and you’re like, ‘That’s not them.'”

Harvey Guillén subverts stereotypes in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’

Harvey Guillén has also spoken about subverting audiences’ expectations using his What We Do in the Shadows character. Fans may be surprised to learn that Guillén has a dancing background, making him light on his feet and adept at learning choreography. “People would make an assumption, just because you’re a bigger guy, you can’t move well. And I was like, ‘Well, I’ve got dancing feet,'” he told Polygon.

Kayvan Novak was certainly impressed while filming the fight scenes with Guillen in “Night Market.” “Working with Harvey again on that was awesome,” he told 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 just like that straightaway.”

New episodes of What We Do in the Shadows air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on FX.

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