Harvey Guillén says filming Werewolves Within felt like comedy camp

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Harvey Guillén (right) and Cheyenne Jackson in the horror-comedy Werewolves Within.

Sabrina Lantos

This story is part of I’m So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

If you’re a fan of actor Harvey Guillén, who plays the human familiar Guillermo de la Cruz on the hilarious FX show What We Do in the Shadows, June is going to reward you well. Earlier this month, FX announced that What We Do in the Shadows will return for a third season. And starting June 25, you can catch Guillén in the new film Werewolves Within. It’s a comedy-horror movie based on the Ubisoft video game of the same name. Guillén, who plays the role of yoga instructor Joaquim, is part of an all-around very funny cast, which includes Sam Richardson (Veep), Milana Vayntrub (This Is Us) and Glenn Fleshler (Barry).

On CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast, Guillén explained the challenges he faced playing Joaquim, who’s part of a gay couple living in a small town.

“It was very important to me that he wouldn’t be a caricature. For so long, we see queer characters, gay characters being portrayed in such a flamboyant way, but it’s over the top. And it’s not realistic,” said Guillén. “It’s OK to be flamboyant. It’s OK to be over the top, but I want him to be grounded. My priority was to make this character have those elements that can be fun to play, but to have it be grounded. He had to be a real person that you could live next door to.”

Werewolves Within is part murder mystery and part monster movie, all while being very funny. Guillén said shooting the flick was like comedy camp. Often at the end of a day of filming, he and the cast would have what felt like broken ribs from laughing so hard.

“Imagine being in a school where everyone is the class clown and everyone’s super funny and entertaining,” said Guillén.

Beyond Werewolves Within, Guillén has been on TV shows like The Thundermans, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Room 104 and The Magicians. He’s best known for his role on What We Do in the Shadows, which premiered in 2019 and is based on the indie film of the same name that starred Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, among others. Guillén plays the human familiar to Nandor, who’s the oldest vampire of the group and the leader. The chemistry between Guillén and Kayvan Novak (Nandor) is wonderful, and it allows their relationship to survive some of the more cruel funny moments.

Guillén describes Novak as “the kindest human being and one of the most talented people I’ve ever met.”

You can listen to my entire conversation with Guillén in the podcast player above or on Apple Podcasts. He discusses being cast as Guillermo, his love of Christopher Guest films, and how kettle chips with black truffle oil are near perfection.

You can watch Werewolves Within in theaters June 25 and on demand July 2. You can subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.

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