'What We Do in the Shadows' Takes Improv to a Whole New Level

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Aug. 17 2021, Published 2:17 p.m. ET

What We Do in the Shadows
Source: FX

When you have a comedy show that's also a mockumentary, there are fans who question whether or not everything is scripted. Shows like What We Do in the Shadows seem like they could include improv. In most cases, the actors involved in these shows have experience in improv comedy and know their way around throwing in lines that aren't part of the script.

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So is that the case with What We Do in the Shadows? The FX series is part of the franchise that includes the mockumentary movie of the same name. It follows centuries-old vampires living in the modern world.

Obviously, tons of hilarity ensues as their old ways clash with modern technology and customs. And because the dialogue is so on point, some fans feel part of it has to be improvised.

Matt Berry as Laszlo in 'What We Do in the Shadows'
Source: FX
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So, is 'What We Do in the Shadows' improv?

Some of What We Do in the Shadows is scripted. But, as with scenes from shows like The Office or The League, there are many moments that include improvised lines. It's not uncommon for shows with comedic leads to have experience in improv. There are some things you just can't plan on What We Do in the Shadows.

Harvey Guillén, who plays Guillermo, told Collider that some scenes can go on filming for much longer than originally intended because of all the improv.

"You just completely live in these characters," he said. "It's like playing hot potato, but with this cast, no one drops the potato. You can toss it for hours, and everyone can keep going. We had one take that lasted 22 minutes, for a scene that should have only been about 30 seconds to two minutes."

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In a separate Collider interview, Matt Berry, who plays Laszlo, said the scripts are "starting points" and the actors "go from there."

"It's not for everyone," he said. "But for this, it's got to look natural, to an extent. It should look like you've just thought about what you said in that second, as opposed to a great long speech that you've worked on."

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Will there be a 'What We Do in the Shadows' Season 4?

The What We Do in the Shadows movie came out in 2014, and it's a cult classic that remained under the radar for years. Now, What We Do in the Shadows has reached audiences far and wide as a TV show.

And after a successful three seasons, FX renewed it for a fourth. The renewal was announced ahead of the Sept. 2021 Season 3 premiere.

"Fans can't seem to get enough of What We Do in the Shadows and FX is ready to feed that appetite by setting up the series for a fourth season," President of Original Programming at FX Entertainment Nick Grad said during the network's Television Critics Association presentation in Aug. 2021.

Viewers are hopeful Guillermo will finally admit he's related to famed vampire hunter Van Helsing, and if it means more off-the-cuff improv from the rest of the cast, then we'll take it.

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