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Mark Proksch Discusses What We Do In The Shadows Season 3 And The Origin Of Energy Vampires - Exclusive Interview

Anyone lucky enough to catch Mark Proksch on KQTV in St. Joseph Missouri, pretending to be a yo-yo master, knew the actor was off to grander pastures. He ended up landing a recurring role as Nate on the last few seasons of "The Office" and went on to star in "Son of Zorn," "Better Call Saul," and many other projects.

No one would've expected a mild-mannered yo-yo champ to become a vampire, yet here we are. Mark Proksch can currently be found playing Colin Robinson on the hit FX series "What We Do in the Shadows." Based on the 2014 mockumentary of the same name, which centered on vampires in New Zealand, the TV series offers a glimpse at what vampire life is like in the USA — specifically Long Island, where audiences get to see how the undead participate in Superb Owl parties and handle a night out at the club. While some of the mockumentary subjects will seem familiar, like Nandor the Relentless, there's one unique addition to the show you won't find in any other vampire property — Colin Robinson, who's an energy vampire.

Instead of biting people's necks and sucking their blood, Colin feeds off people's boredom and frustration, often going into long-winded monologues about the most boring subjects imaginable. Of course, if you talk to the actor who plays Colin, Mark Proksch, you'll find he's pretty much the opposite of his FX counterpart.

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Proksch dived deep into keeping his boring character fresh and finding inspiration with real-life energy vampires he's met at previous jobs. He also delved into the extent of Taika Waititi's involvement in the show going into its third season.

On the origin of energy vampires

I had the chance to watch a few episodes of Season 3, and the show's fantastic as always. One thing I loved was how the show started to ask questions about energy vampires and how they came to be. Prior to the season, did you have any ideas or theories about how someone turns into an energy vampire to help inform your character?

Yeah. It was an area that we never discussed and whenever it was brought up, they didn't have any concrete answers, which kind of helped the character to some extent knowing that there are no hard and fast rules. It allowed me as an actor to come up with some things, both physically and emotionally, that I think informed the character moving forward.

Absolutely. There's just the jokes. I remember it happened and I was just like, "Oh yeah, that's a good point." I guess we never got an answer on that, we just kind of accepted it.

Yeah, exactly, and I liked that. I liked that we're now after a couple of seasons going to kind of try to define where he came from and where he's going.

You sort of had your own bottle episode last season with "Colin's Promotion." Can we expect another Colin-centric episode for Season 3?

You know, for the most part, all of us are interspersed with each other. And so there's not necessarily a Colin episode or a Laszlo episode this season. And it was hard with the pandemic, I think they took a lot of that into consideration. There's only a couple episodes where we used a handful of extras. And so I think the pandemic limited a little bit what they could do — not the quality of what they did, but what they were able to accomplish story-wise. So no episodes of me in the office this season.

Finding inspiration for Colin Robinson

Seeing as how this is the third season of "What We Do in the Shadows," how do you keep finding ways to keep Colin Robinson fresh, when his whole shtick is that he's as boring as possible?

Yeah, you know, the writers have done a really good job with that. It is something you worry about, as an actor, when you're playing the goofy roommate, and that's basically what this character is. It's Kramer or Urkel. You worry about the audience becoming tired and actually annoyed by the annoying character. And so they've done a really good job at pulling back on just having him feed all the time, and you start to buy him as an actual almost-human being, even though he's not a human being.

As for me, I love being able to evolve a character and push what he's able to do, emotionally. You see him get angrier and angrier this season, and that's something new for him. So there's just natural progressions in a TV show that ought to play out, and they're doing that on the show, so that's great.

Do you have any energy vampires from your own life, perhaps from a previous job, that helped inform the character?

Yeah, all of my previous jobs had energy vampires that informed the character. I mean, before I came to Hollywood, I was temping for banks, in their marketing departments and such. And boy, let me tell you: There are plenty of energy vampires in the banking industry. So yeah, there are a couple that I literally draw inspiration from.

Taika Waititi's involvement in Season 3

What's it been like working with Taika Waititi, especially compared with the first season, to now?

Yeah, well, Taika hasn't really been involved since the first season, at least on a level that we see on set. I'm sure he's involved in some decision-making and what have you, but he's so busy. And to his credit, he still will pop in once in a while and do a cameo here or there. But the first season, he was quite involved and directed a handful of the episodes, and that was great. And it's always fun on set when he's directing.

But yeah, he's moved on to other projects that really need his attention more. He and Jemaine [Clement] and Paul [Simms] have set up the show in a way that once it's going, it can run pretty well with just one of them or two of them involved.

Are there any more fictional vampires, outside of the ones we've seen so far, you'd like to see make an appearance at some point, be part of the Vampiric Council?

That's a great question. I can only speak to energy vampires. I think it would be fun to have ... Gosh, if Tom Poston was still alive, he would have been a great energy vampire. I always bring up Bob Newhart, who's a hero of mine. Would be a great energy vampire. Not because of roles they've played; simply because their acting is just so great and dry. So those. One dead, one alive.

Going back to Better Call Saul

It would be great if there was a movie character from the past, re-contextualized as an energy vampire. Like [Bill Lumbergh] from "Office Space."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, that would be smart, yeah.

You had a recurring role on "Better Call Saul" for a while. "Breaking Bad" was known for characters who were in the first or second season and came back seasons later. Any chance we might see the return of Daniel Wormald for the final season of "Better Call Saul?"

If I was or wasn't, they would kill me either way. And so I can't speak to it, either way. I wish I could answer that with a simple yes or no, but I respect what those guys do so much. I wouldn't want to give anything away.

Season 3 of "What We Do in the Shadows" kicks off with a two-episode premiere on September 2 on FX. New episodes debut on Hulu the next day.