Harvey Guillén Talks Disney’s Wish and What We Do in the Shadows Final Season

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Harvey Guillén has certainly had an incredible career. While he had appeared in a number of roles in projects like The Internship and television series like The Magician, it was his role in the critically acclaimed and hilarious FX series What We Do in the Shadows that put him on the map. In the series, he plays Guillermo, a long-suffering familiar of the vampire Nandor, who dreams of becoming a vampire himself and puts up with his master and the various other vampires for it. Since then, Guillén has become a welcome presence in roles like the best video game movie, Werewolves Within, and recently, Blue Beetle.




He has also emerged as an incredible voice actor. He has had roles on the television series Mickey Mouse Funhouse and Harley Quinn and films like Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. He will lend his vocals to Odie in the upcoming Garfield. Guillén got to join the esteemed animated legacy of Walt Disney Animation with Wish. In the film, he plays Gabo, one of the friends of the hero Asha. In the spirit of Disney’s 100th anniversary, Wish features many homages to the studio’s past, with Gabo being modeled after Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves with his own mix.

“He’s a realist. And sometimes we need that. We need that friend who’s a realist because they keep it true. Maybe the delivery is not great. Maybe the way he set things wasn’t great, and you should work on your delivery,” said Guillén about his character, Gabo. “He might be a little bit, you know, sharp, but it’s fine. We forgive him because his heart is in the right place, and in the end, he does show up for his friends when they need him.


Guillén sat down with MovieWeb to talk about Wish, his favorite Disney memories, his history as a voice actor, and upcoming projects like Garfield and the final season of What We Do in the Shadows.


Disney Legacy

Wish

Wish

Release Date
November 22, 2023

Director
Chris Buck , Fawn Veerasunthorn

Being selected to lend a voice in a Disney animated film is certainly a big deal. It is a certain pedigree that so few actors can claim, but it feels like a badge of pride. For many actors who grow up watching Disney films, it must feel like a dream, or in this case, a wish, come true. It certainly was for Guillén. “When I got the call to be a part of it, you know, it was like a pinch-me moment. I grew up watching these movies as well. So to be part of the 100th Anniversary is such an honor.”


When asked about his favorite films, two immediately came to mind. “I grew up watching all of them, but like my top two, I two I always liked were Peter Pan just flying to Neverland like I love mermaids, and there’s mermaids in Peter Pan, and then I loved Little Mermaid. I just remember watching The Little Mermaid and thinking about how cool it is. I think they do really great job of taking us into a different world, which they’ve done in many films.

Wish was released to mark Disney’s 100th anniversary, and the film was designed to be a celebration of the company’s rich history. Being selected for this film, in particular, must have been a sought-after role. Guillén certainly knew how big a deal it was. He said:


“It was just like, ‘wow, like this is gonna be historic’. It’s gonna be the film that, like, marks the 100th anniversary, and what a great project to be a part of what? The great message and great characters and it was fantastic. It was so great to walk down the animation studios and walk past all the features they’ve had, going back to the original and just being a part of that.”

Guillén even got to meet another Disney legend, the star of one of his favorites: Ariel voice actress Jodi Benson. “I just got to meet Jodi Benson for the first time not so long ago, and she was lovely, and just the idea that I grew up like playing her song over and over and over, and not to meet her, and just the kindest person and have to be part of the Disney family…to be a part of something that will live on forever is it’s so heartwarming, it’s so great.”

His Disney Character

Gabo in Wish
Walt Disney Animation


Guillén character in Wish, Gabo, is one of Asha’s seven friends who are each modeled after one of the seven dwarves from Disney’s first animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Gabo is based on Grumpy, one of the most famous members of the original ensemble that also tends to be more appealing to adults than kids. One look at merchandise in Disneyland, and you won’t see a lot of Grumpy shirts for kids, but there are a lot of them for adults, particularly dads. That meant that in Wish, Gabo had to be both a homage but different, and both Guillén and the filmmakers zeroed in on how someone who is a realist can sometimes be a bit of a tragic figure.


“Sometimes even the realist doesn’t like to be right. There’s a moment in the movie where Gabo is right about something, and you can hear in his voice that it hurt him. Being right about something doesn’t bring us pleasure like we think it will. It brings you heartache, so it was nice to develop a character working closely with the directors of the film to just make sure that we landed with him in a place where we like Gabo.” said Guillén

Related: Wait, Is Wish Actually a Good Movie for Disney Fans?

Guillén continued talking about the fine line that needed to be walked with his character. “He’s a little bit rougher on the edges of that in that way. But we can’t dislike Gabo. We can’t like say, ‘Oh, God, I got so mean’. We never say that. We’re a little bit like, ‘Okay, Gabo, calm down, you know, like, stop with being so real’ and that’s the perfect formula for Gabo like it has to land there because it’s an easy place to cross a line where you don’t like this character, and I feel like we let it a place where people like the character.”


Voice Acting

If you’ve gone to the movies or watched a television show within the past five years, there is a good chance you’ve heard Guillén voice work. His projects range from the pre-school television show Mickey Mouse Funhouse, where he voices the Funhouse of the title, to the TV-MA adult animated series Harley Quinn where he voices the iconic hero, Dick Grayson aka Nightwing. He has worked with Disney and DreamWorks Animation Studios.


“It’s funny because I didn’t do voice-over until probably three years ago…I tried for like years and years…so the fact that I’ve been very blessed that I’ve done such really great projects in the last couple of years” Guillén said. “I think the voiceover business is even harder to get into than the on-camera business because I feel like with voiceover. No one even knows who’s behind the microphone. Some people might be shy, and they don’t want to be in front of the camera, but behind a microphone, they’re not shy, so I feel like voiceover is even harder, I think, to break into.

Related: Why Disney’s Owl House Was Canceled After Season 3

His role on Wish isn’t the first time he has worked with Disney, and it was Disney that gave him his first voice-over work. “My first thing was with Disney. They gave me my first role in Owl House, and shortly after that, they asked me to audition for a new series called Mickey Mouse Funhouse. I auditioned for that, and I booked that. We just premiered a new season of Mickey Mouse Funhouse last week. Then, slowly, after that, I got the opportunity to do other stuff like Puss in Boots.”


Anyone who watches the projects will note none of them sound like his character Guillermo from What We Do in the Shadows, and unless they see his name in the credits, they might not know it’s him. “Every character is different. I always choose something that challenges me for each character to do, and even vocally. So it makes it different for that character. And it’s not just me is coming in and going in with my regular voice.” Guillén broke down some of his processes in terms of voicing this wide variety of characters. He said:


There’s a bit of a challenge on all the characters, and I do this to myself like I make a choice, and I stick to it. With
Mickey Mouse Funhouse
, Funny has this laugh. It’s higher registers and octave higher than my voice, and so making that laugh after like a warm-up, really like a lot before I go into the recording studio. But now we have his laugh recorded, and that was why I made that choice. I made the choice to laugh so high pitch, and now I have to commit to it.
With Nightwing, his voice is really deep and brooding, and he drops like another octave. So I go from being an octave higher and like an octave lower.


Garfield

One of Guillén’s next big projects is Garfield, where he will lend his voice to the dog Odie. It was his role as the sweet, optimistic dog Perrito in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish that landed him the part of Odie. We know what you are thinking, and Guillén clocked it as well. “I was like, ‘Wait, doesn’t Odie not speak?’ and they went, ‘We like for you to convey all these different emotions as the movie progresses, but you can’t use words.’ and it’s such a challenge, because it’s just sound effects. You’re just using your vocal cords with sound effects and character and grounded the whole time. And so that was kind of a challenge but so fun to do.”


Garfield is set to open in theaters over Memorial Day weekend of 2024, and Guillén got us excited for it. “I’m looking forward to seeing the final product. Apparently, it looks great. They’ve been showing the movie, and people are happy with that. So, I’m excited to see what that looks like.”

What We Do In The Shadows

Guillermo What We Do in the Shadows
FXP

What We Do in the Shadows premiered on FX in 2019, and since then, it has become one of the network’s most popular series, getting strong reviews from critics and audiences, and is a favorite among many. It felt like a show that could go on for years with its colorful cast of characters, but FX recently confirmed the upcoming sixth season will indeed be the series final season. While fans might have been shocked, Guillén was a little more prepared.


“We had a feeling that it would have been like six or seven. Even five seasons would have been great,” said Guillén. “The storyline where Guillermo’s dreams don’t come true, because sometimes that happens in real life, you could end it there if you wanted to, and it was nice to get an extra season to kind of put them in a different element. We have to see what happens with him, right? It would have been like he didn’t come vampire, and he wasn’t meant for it, and that’s how the show ends. It would have been a little bit sad. But we get a season to show where he goes from there…I think six is a good time frame to wrap it up.”

While What We Do in the Shadows certainly feels like a new show, it has been on the air for some time. Since it premiered, the various stars of the series have become in-demand stars for a variety of projects. Guillén looks back fondly on his time with the series and looks forward to the future.


“By the time we finish season six filming, it comes out like we are looking at devoting over seven or close to eight years of our lives to the pilot. That’s a big chunk of time which we love. We love the show, but it’s a lot of time and I think people are looking at like other projects, and that’s a good thing about an actor is that you can put on a hat, and you know that eventually that hat will come off and you have to put on a different hat, and I and I get to do that in between. Personally, I love doing What We Do in the Shadows; I could do it forever, I think, because I get to do it, and then I could do voice-over. And I could do movies like Werewolves Within. You know, I get to go play in between.”

In terms of final words on the upcoming season. “I think people are gonna be really excited about this season,” Guillén said, and fans will be certainly happy to see the series return but sad to see it end.


Wish is currently available for digital purchase and will be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K UHD on March 12, 2024.

Want more of Wish? Check out our interview with star Ariana DeBose.

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