Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi Talk WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, Deciding on Which Jokes to Use, Their Writing Process, and More at Sundance

     January 24, 2014


One of the many great movies to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer-director Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s What We Do in the Shadows.  The mockumentary is about a group of a group of vampires who live together in Wellington, New Zealand.  Unlike some vampire movies that focus on young love, What We Do in the Shadows has the roommates struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.  Trust me, it’s extremely funny and I’m confident someone will purchase domestic rights so hopefully you’ll be able to see it sometime this year.  The film stars Clement, Waititi, Jonathon Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford and Rhys Darby.

The day after the premiere, I landed an exclusive video interview with Clement and Waititi.  They talked about how they wanted to premiere the film at the Transylvania Film Festival but they couldn’t finish it in time, how they got financing, being at Sundance, deciding on which jokes to use (since they did a lot of improvisation), filming on location and dealing with fans, why they used the RED camera, if they’re considering an extended cut on Blu-ray, deleted scenes, their writing process, the way they worked on set, future projects, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

what-we-do-in-the-shadows-imageJemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

  • 0:10 – When they found out they were coming to Sundance
  • 0:30 – Being unable to get the film into the Transylvania Film Festival
  • 2:10 – How they got financing
  • 2:57 – How much changed from page to screen
  • 4:00 – Managing the character arcs and storylines by extrapolating from the short film
  • 5:56 – The length of the assembly cut
  • 6:40 – Deciding on which jokes to use
  • 7:50 – Filming on location and dealing with fans
  • 9:04 – Using RED cameras and declining 3D
  • what-we-do-in-the-shadows-image10:20 – Thoughts on doing a 3D comedy
  • 10:55 – If they would consider an extended cut and what they might put on the home release
  • 11:38 – Who they invite to their “friends & family” screenings
  • 13:00 – What they learned from the feedback they got from their friends & family screenings
  • 13:41 – Their writing process
  • 14:54 – Their working relationship on set
  • 16:25 – What Waititi has coming up next, and Clement’s cameo in Muppets Most Wanted


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