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‘What We Do In The Shadows’ Star Natasia Demetriou Tells Us About Being ‘As Dumb As The Men’ In Season 2

When What We Do In The Shadows returns for a second season on April 15, fans might discover some changes amongst the show’s bumbling vampiric trio. The mockumentary comedy series, based off Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s cult hit, has gotten more comfortable in its gothic, Staten Island digs. There’s still plenty of ridiculous hijinks – think virgin vampire hunters, seances, Haley Joel Osment – but there’s also real character growth, emerging threats, and some interesting plot twists.

And Natasia Demetriou is right in the thick of it. The actress, who plays the seductive, superstitious Nadja, returns with a perfected deadpan and some outrageously funny one-liners as she tries to manage the chaos caused by her immortal flatmates and move her relationship forward with husband Laszlo (Matt Berry), despite his more-than-disappointing porn career. Demetriou was nice enough to chat with us about the show’s return, her character’s real-life roots, and being just as dumb as the men.

Most shows spend their first season getting into a rhythm. Have you guys found that groove in season two?

The biggest change I noticed from season one to season two was like, “Oh, I know this character.” You remember how she’d react, and you can push it further because you know the limits.

I imagine wearing those prosthetic teeth all day every day helps get into the right mindset.

Yeah, and the fact that they make us drink blood every morning. That’s kind of crazy. It really gets you into the character.

Jemaine [Clement] and Taika [Waititi] pulled inspiration for the show from their film, but Nadja is a totally original character. Did that make it easier or more difficult to enter this world, knowing she’d be the first female vamp we’d seen?

I felt so lucky to play a female character in a comedy where she’s as stupid and narcissistic as the men, because quite often, the female parts I’ve auditioned gone up for, they’re written kind of strong. They’re there with the guys, and they’re sort of pointing out where the guys are fools or where the guys have made a mistake. It means that, yes, you’re a female character in a comedy, but you’re not getting to do any of the goofy, sort of dumb, fun stuff. With Nadja, it’s amazing because I’m more stupid than the men in the house. And that is like a dream.

Jemaine had a rough idea of what they wanted for the character before I got the part. His wife is Greek, and his mother-in-law is Greek, and I know that they wanted some of that sort of Mediterranean drama as part of the character. We talk a lot about that, about my aunties and my dad, but the writing’s all there.

What’s the big storyline for season two and how does your character play into it?

There is one sort of overarching storyline, but I can’t give too much of that away, and also my character’s too stupid to realize what’s going on. But there are lots of fun things. We may or may not meet our ghosts. We may or may not meet some witches. Me and Laszlo may or may not reveal that we’ve written a lot of the most famous songs of all time, and they’ve just been plagiarized off us over the years.

The show feels different from other comedies on TV right now. How much of that comes from the mostly British cast and the creators? Is there a certain style that you’ve brought with you?

I feel like, at its heart, the true uniqueness of the show comes from Jemaine and Taika. They have such a distinctive voice – and they cast this. Jemaine always says when it came to auditions, all the European people that they cast just do better vampiric accents. He saw Laszlo as coming from England so, of course, there’s no one more British than Matt Berry. And Kayvan has this amazing Iranian family… I think it feeds into the whole fish-out-of-water thing. They are trying to live in this world, but it’s not for them anymore. I think it was very wise of them to cast the way they cast, and not just because I got to be in it.

How much are you able to improvise, especially during scenes like the talking heads segments?

Jemaine and all the directors really encourage us to improvise. I think because we have these characters and this world and these bricks that are so solid, as a performer, you feel really comfortable improvising. You know what the story is. You know what information you have to get across. And then you can kind of improv around that. I’ve thrown a lot of stuff that my dad has actually said, or there’s a couple of things about Nadja’s background story that is literally taken from my dad’s childhood.

Such as?

Well, my dad is from Cyprus, which is a tiny island. There were loads of snakes on the island and he had a serious fear of snakes. So, I let that bleed into her origin story. What other stuff? The way she sings. That’s based on my aunt. Luckily, I don’t think the show goes on in Cyprus, so no one’s going to be getting offended. It’s all done with love, though. I am so proud of my Cypriot heritage. It’s my favorite thing about myself. I’m very, very, very honored to be able to work in a show that embraces the dramatic, crazy wonderfulness of it all.

You got started in sketch comedy. What’s the current sketch comedy scene in Britain and how does it compare to what you’ve seen happening here?

You guys are crushing it. America, when it comes to comedy, is like absolutely smashing it, especially with sketch and character stuff. I feel Britain has had the age of stand-up that’s what Britain’s been focused on for a while. I mean, comedy is the way that British people sort of relax because everyone’s so uptight and apologetic. I got into doing live sketch comedy and stuff because I wanted to be like French and Saunders. My writing partner and I do a sketch comedy show. We are currently writing a show for the BBC. My dream has always been to have my own sketch show, but I guess sketch shows are very expensive to make. There’s a lot of wigs involved, especially in the stuff I write.

That’s so great, because we desperately need more female-led sketch comedy series.

It’s getting better. We’re actually able to notice it and talk about it and go, “Hang on. There hasn’t been much of that,” which is amazing.

‘What We Do in the Shadows’ returns on Wednesday, April 15 at 10:00pm on FX.