Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi are working on a new series unlike anything they've done before
"Taika and I are working on a new series right now which we just started writing," Clement tells EW exclusively. "I can't tell you much about it yet, but what's fun about it and what makes it exciting for me is it's something I always wanted to do which is long-form episodes in a sitcom. It's an action-adventure comedy. It'll be different from what I've usually done. I've made three sitcoms now, and I hope this one is still funny but more of an adventure series."
With a new series in the works, further dives into the world of What We Do in the Shadows and its popular spin-off Wellington Paranormal, debuting in the U.S. July 11 on the CW, are temporarily on hold.
"We have talked about things in the past but I don't know how realistic it is," Clement says when asked if he'd like to expand Shadows beyond the FX series. "We're pausing on [Wellington Paranormal], we're not sure we'll be back for a fifth season."
Both Clement and Waititi have reprised their vampiric roles from the horror mockumentary on the small screen, although infrequently. Waititi stepped back from his duties after season 1, and Clement followed suit a season later. With Wellington Paranormal on hold, could this be an opportunity for Clement to take the lead?
"Could do, not sure," he says cheekily at the prospect. "I'm not sure, but it might be fun."
Clement attributes much of his success to working with some of the best collaborators in the industry across different projects. Fans can almost always expect to see his favorite costars pop up in his work, like his Flight of the Conchords cohorts Bret McKenzie, Kristen Schaal, Rhys Darby, and Arj Barker.
"It's definitely easier to work with people you know because you know what the other needs. I missed Taika on season 2 of What We Do in the Shadows because it was just me saying, 'This is what we need to do!' When he was there, there were two of us. So now I'm looking forward to working with him again," Clement says.
Whether he decides to focus more on writing and developing projects or working as an actor, he has already played an integral role in weaving his native New Zealand into the fabric of Hollywood. Before debuting Flight of the Conchords on HBO 14 years ago alongside McKenzie, the Pacific island country was mostly known for its connection to the Lord of the Rings films — a fact the duo often joked about on the show.
"I always thought we'd be doing things here [in New Zealand], and now I'm doing that, but I had to go to Hollywood first because it's harder to do here, in a way," he says. "When we were making Conchords, they weren't making very many New Zealand comedy shows then. They'd sort of given up on it. We had a much easier time in America than in New Zealand. After doing Conchords and because the Shadows movie did well, we got to make [Wellington Paranormal]."
Asked what he thinks makes content from New Zealand so popular in the states, Clement modestly chalks it up to a minor detail.
"I don't know, but I guess part of it is that they seem to like the accent," he says with a laugh. "What else? I don't know. It's just slightly different in the same way that people from New Zealand like to see things from America. It's good to have a look into someone else's viewpoint."
Modest or not, the effects of his and other New Zealanders' efforts to represent their country proudly on a global scale continue to grow. Recently, Clement was met with that reality during a binge-watch of popular series with his son Sophocles.
"My son and I were recently watching the season 1 finale of The Mandalorian and there was a New Zealand robot and I was laughing because it had a New Zealand accent. My son didn't know why I was laughing but I told him that at one point, we wouldn't have had that: a robot that talks like us. That was Taika's robot, of course."
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