Harvey Guillén On Being Vulnerable & Celebrating Friends On His Pod
“I don't usually open up like that...you kind of forget that you’re even doing a podcast,” the actor and host of Behind the Shadows tells PRIDE.
Guillermo De La Cruz, the vampire familiar turned accidental vampire hunter, turned vampire bodyguard on (the Emmy nominated) What We Do In the Shadows is inarguably one of the most beloved characters on TV. He’s played by the equally lovable Harvey Guillén, and while fans have had much less time to get to know him compared to the series’ other stars, that’s all changing thanks to his podcast, Behind the Shadows.
On his podcast, Guillén’s personality shines as he chats up his fellow castmates and celebrity fans about the behind-the-scenes of the popular series. The show is a light and breezy conversation between friends, full of laughs and the occasional never-before-disclosed tidbit. That said, it should come as no surprise that the show was born out of Guillén’s desire to connect with his friends and castmates online. “I started doing the Instagram show live during the pandemic because it was so hard for us to stay in touch with the fans and the audience that really love the show,” Guillén recalls to PRIDE. “It happened during season two, where we couldn’t have a premiere date or premiere party. And I said, ‘Well, that’s not fair. Even though we’re quarantined we could still celebrate together.’”
With that in mind, the actor assembled the cast on Instagram live and it was immediately a hit with fans — and the cast themselves. Guillén says that, as he was hoping off the livestream, it became clear that this one-off show was anything but. “Someone said, ‘we’ll see you next week.’ And I was like, ‘what?’ [and they said] ‘That was so much fun. It’s a weekly thing, right?’ And I was like, ah, yeah, it’s a weekly thing,’” he laughs.
Guillén ended up doing the Instagram live for the rest of the season, but for season four he decided to switch things up and create a podcast. This was an opportunity not just to talk about the show, but to showcase the amazing people behind it as well, explains Guillén. It also provides fans with insights into the behind-the-scenes happenings of their favorite show. “I always personally like to hear [the behind-the-scenes] of your favorite shows or movies. Like ‘I wonder what it was like to be on that set,’” he says.
Along with cast and guest stars, Guillén has also sat down with celebrity fans. One in particular was a lot of fun for the actor. “Trixie Mattel, who’s a fan favorite and who’s such a fan as well,” he reveals. “It’s just nice to hear what the show means to [these guests].” And, of course, he has a dream guest that he hasn’t had on... yet. “I’m a big Amy Sedaris fan. She did this live auction to raise money for diabetes and all the money raised goes to research,” he shares. “And so I went to auction and definitely got some pieces from Strangers with Candy just to help the organization — and for selfish needs of me wanting to have memorabilia of Strangers with Candy,” Guillén admits with a laugh.
However, the best moments of Behind the Shadows are often the ones where Guillén is a little more vulnerable, allowing audiences to get to know him in a new way. In the premiere episode, the actor opens up about his ironic fear of blood — and how tricky that can be on the set of a, well, vampire series. As he and guest and co-star Kristen Schaal unpack that, Guillén opened up about two traumatic incidents in childhood of bullying and an animal bite that led to his discomfort around the red stuff. Guillén says he was just as surprised that he shared those stories as anyone listening. “I don’t usually open up like that,” he admits, but says it happens because he feels safe doing so in his one-on-one with friends.
“You kind of forget that you’re even doing a podcast, you’re just talking to the person and sometimes when you’re vulnerable, you do share stories like that. And I think those are the best stories because they’re organic...whatever it happens and comes out in the process of the interview with the guests is what was meant to come out.”
Between the behind-the-scenes info and the openness of its host, Behind the Shadows is a must-listen, even if it is a very different show than the one his onscreen counterpart would have created. When asked what Guillermo’s in-universe podcast would be about, Guillén laughs and says it would run the gamut. “It would just be kind of a: Tell me about your day with your master-familiar lifestyle or what your aspirational vampire outfit would be. What’s your 20-year plan for life goals?’” he jokes, adding there would need to be a call-in portion where Guillermo serves up advice. “The advice he would give to someone is probably the self-advice he should take but doesn’t.”
Honestly, we’d happily listen to both shows.
Behind the Shadows is available now on all major podcast platforms as well as YouTube. Watch PRIDE’s full interview with Harvey Guillén below.