‘What We Do in the Shadows’ – Mark Proksch Interview on Playing an Energy-Sucking Vampire

What We Do in the Shadows
Mark Proksch as Colin in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ (Photo by John P Johnson/FX)

FX’s comedy What We Do In The Shadows not only introduces all new vampire characters, but it also introduces new kinds of vampires. In the TV adaptation of the film, Mark Proksch plays Colin Robinson, an energy vampire. We all have coworkers or friends who keep talking to us and drain our energy. Well, Colin’s powers are literally supernatural.

Energy vampires can drain both humans and vampires, so it’ s a recipe for comedy when Colin lives with the other vampires. Proksch did not drain our energy when we spoke to him at FX’s What We Do In the Shadows party for the Television Critics Association. Meet Colin when the show premieres Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT on FX.

When they told you this role was an energy vampire, did you consider that a legitimate vampire?

Mark Proksch: “Yes and no. Anyone who’s worked in an office has met one or two of these people that come up to you and just corner you and drain your energy by talking about their health issues or their family issues or company politics. It legitimately takes a little bit of energy out of you, so I just found it very clever when Jemaine (Clement) and Taika (Waititi) came up with that character. The supernatural side of it is very new. I don’t think anyone’s ever done that idea. That gave me a little bit of room to put my own stamp on the character.”

And it’s like who could be deadly to another vampire? An energy vampire.

Mark Proksch: “An energy vampire, which I find very funny that I can take these vampires that everyone’s so terrified of and simply by talking to them, I could kill them essentially. But at the same time, I want friends. I feel like he wants to be friends with these people because they are kind of a family in this house, as odd as that sounds. They all live together and they don’t have friends outside of this house so it’s kind of this weird dichotomy of him wanting to be friends but unable to be friends.”

Energy vampires in real life usually aren’t self-aware, are they?

Mark Proksch: “No. The ones I know have never been, not at all. So that’s another interesting angle is that my character, Colin, knows that he is this being. I would like to see him take on a non supernatural energy vampire. Maybe I’ll pitch that for next season.”

He’s doing it on purpose, unlike the ones we know.

Mark Proksch: “Yes, he has to. Otherwise he dies. So, just like we eat to survive, he has to talk to these people and drain their energy. Now the difference is is he doesn’t kill them. He just takes enough to move onto the next person.”

What We Do in the Shadows
Mark Proksch as Colin Robinson in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ (Photo by Matthias Clamer/FX)

What funny stuff is coming up for Colin?

Mark Proksch: “I think it only gets better and I’m being sincere about that. You’re really gonna see the world grow and move beyond the house, move beyond just the mansion and my office. You’ll see us out and about in the real world and I think that’ll be a big area for stories.”

How does an energy vampire face off against a werewolf?

Mark Proksch: “I don’t know. I’m not scared of werewolves for whatever reasons, Colin. The other vampires hate the werewolves and I end up not too sure about it. I think that’s another area that can be explored in further episodes.”

Does Colin have a favorite roommate whose energy he likes the most?

Mark Proksch: “That’s a great question. Probably Laszlo because Laszlo is the easiest to annoy. If I can annoy Laszlo, that’s like a quick snap. That’s going to the cupboard and getting an Oreo, whereas with Nadja or Nandor, I have to work a little bit to get their energy.”

What’s your background in comedy?

Mark Proksch: “I started on The Office and after that, a lot of guest starring roles on like New Girl. I did some stuff on Better Call Saul, a few episodes. Before that I didn’t really do improv comedy or any training. I have no theater background or anything. I just got lucky, I think.”

Do you think there’s more comedy in your future?

Mark Proksch: “Oh yeah. I’ll always stick with comedy. I love being a character actor and I think that’s where I’ll stay. I love to do a little bit of drama but I haven’t dipped my toe too deeply in that yet.”