Metro Weekly

Harvey Guillén Comes Out of the Shadows

Harvey Guillén, the heart and soul of "What We Do in the Shadows," blazes a new path in "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish."

Harvey Guillén – Photo: Justin Wu

In 2021, during our second cover interview with Harvey Guillén, who stars as Guillermo de la Cruz, the vampire familiar/hunter on the monstrous comedy What We Do in The Shadows, I asked him if he thought his character was gay. Guillén, himself an out actor in Hollywood, didn’t miss a beat.

“I think Guillermo is definitely queer,” he told me. “Where he falls in the spectrum of that queerness has yet to be announced or discovered, but I have this feeling we’re getting closer and closer to that answer.”

He then added, coyly, “Manifest it. Put it out in the universe, and you never know. You never know.”

Of course, Harvey Guillén knew.

The actor was about to start shooting Season 4 of the hit FX series, which premiered last summer. And midway through what was one of the show’s finest, funniest, frenzied seasons yet, Guillermo came out during a moment of duress that was absolutely stuffed with comedy (“Why are there so many sharp sticks in this house?” screeched Nadja, played to perfection by Natasia Charlotte Demetriou, as she scampered from Guillermo’s vampire-hunting clan as they lobbed dozens of stakes at her).

Guillermo’s coming out was a huge moment on the series, which has grown more daring and elaborate in its sexual jokes and increasingly queer in its overall outlook of what embracing one’s authentic self means. All of it’s done in the name of producing laughter, of course, but Guillermo’s coming out — or “letting in,” as Guillén calls it — was touching and real, a grounding moment of sincerity in the daffy monster mash.

It was followed by the reveal of Guillermo’s boyfriend, in an episode that not just plucked the laugh-strings but firmly tugged the heartstrings, setting up a trajectory for Guillermo that will no doubt inform the narrative of Season 5. Guillén won’t spill the tea on any details of the next season, but he at least hints that it’s going to be one hell of a journey for the fan-favorite character.

Over the past few years, Guillén has seen his star skyrocket. If Guillermo is his home plate, then his transformative work on the series Reacher, as a southern medical examiner, and as the voice of Funny on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Funhouse, are his first and second bases.

“Some people have never seen Shadows, but they’re fans of Reacher,” says Guillén. “Some people will probably only watch Shadows and will never see Reacher. I like to portray myself in different categories and different demographics, and be something to someone new.

“I like that my resume has been pretty broad in the last couple years,” he continues. “I’ll go to a Comic Con with the cast and we’ll have a mom come up and say, ‘Oh, my God, I love you on Reacher.’ Then the daughter will be with them and say, ‘Are the voice of Funny?’ To their dad, who watches Shadows, I’ll always be the guy from Shadows. So you’re a character to each member of the family and they know you from your work, and each character is different from the other. I like to think of myself as versatile, I can be a different character for each different family member in a family, and not just put into a box of ‘I’ll always just be this one thing.'”

Harvey Guillén – Photo: Justin Wu

Well, add a third base to Guillén’s ever-expanding field. He stars as the voice of Perro, a hyperactive, impossibly sunny stray mutt that accompanies Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) and Kitty Softclaws (Salma Hayek) on a quest to find a fallen wishing star.

The animated feature, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which opened last week and is part of Dreamworks’ “Shrekiverse,” is stunning both in its thematics and execution. It’s boldly, ravishingly animated, and the vocal performance from a cast that also includes Olivia Colman, Florence Pugh, and John Mulaney, is far above the norm.

Guillén imbues Perro with a scene-stealing appeal. It doesn’t hurt that the animators concocted a toy-shelf-ready character that is as irresistible in its visual appeal as it is in Guillén’s high-strung, hilarious performance.

“I have been careful with the roles I’ve taken,” says Guillén, who makes his third cover appearance with this magazine in as many years. “People fall in love with a certain character and they want to typecast you. I want to make sure that I am showing different colors, different characters, because I don’t want to be put into just a box, with casting directors thinking I couldn’t play certain things.”

At this point, Harvey Guillén has proven he can play whatever part is handed to him — and play it with poise, sincerity, richness, and, when required, showstopping razzle-dazzle.

What We Do In Shadows: Kayvan Novak, Harvey Guillén -- Photo: Russ Martin/FX
What We Do In Shadows: Kayvan Novak, Harvey Guillén — Photo: Russ Martin/FX

METRO WEEKLY: I’m going to start by noting that you’re making history at Metro Weekly with this interview, Harvey. You are the first person in the 28-year history of this magazine to be featured on the cover for three consecutive years running.

HARVEY GUILLÉN: I feel honored! It’s always a pleasure.

MW: So I watched Puss In Boots: The Last Wish last night, and what a sheer delight that movie is. Not to make a really bad pun, but I lapped it up. It was funny, it was touching, it was beautifully, richly, inventively animated, and had a great narrative with so much unexpected heartfelt soul — much of which is brought about by the character you play, Perro. The little dog is absolutely the most endearing character imaginable. Have you seen the film yet and, if so, what are your thoughts about it?

GUILLÉN: I have seen the film and I absolutely loved it. I think everything that you just said, I would echo. It blew my mind just to be part of this already established franchise and legacy of Shrek world. Every character is going through their own journey obviously, but the message overall is about that wish that we sometimes think that we want so badly, that dream that we aspire to. Sometimes, your wish is right in front of you, and the dream you aspire to come true is in front of you, and it has already come true and you just have to stop and realize how lucky you are to be in the position you are.

I think with Perro, that kind of really echoes — he’s such an optimist. We all need a friend like that in our lives, just as your biggest supporter and biggest cheerleader.

MW: The film resonates on several levels, one being finding one’s family. There’s a lot of subtext in terms of the idea of a nontraditional family: Goldilocks and the three bears, Perro, a dog, with two cats. The film underscores a lot of what comprises a family in this day and age. Maybe not being a traditional family is the new tradition.

GUILLÉN: The way I see it is, sometimes you’re in it for biological family, but you really do have a choice in your chosen family — who you surround yourself with, the kind of energy that you allow yourself to be around, and the kind of messages, life experiences, and moments that you put yourself in. It’s something in which you do have a choice.

With Perro, he’s made a new family — and he has a tragic past that he brushes off as “the glass is half full” instead of half empty. He’s such an optimist, he has a goal, he has aspirations to be a therapy dog. Even Goldilocks has her idea of what a family is, but she’s already surrounded with an adopted family of the bears.

It’s such a fun message to portray through the story of animation. At the end of the day, we’re making an animated film here with heart. I think that’s kind of the moral: you get to choose the family that you want to surround yourself with. Sometimes it’s not blood-related, but your family could be who you surround yourself with as the positive energy in your life.

MW: It’s a lovely sentiment, and it’s well-expressed in the film. We all know that animation takes a long time. You lay down the main vocal tracks before they even start the animation.

GUILLÉN: That’s right, yeah. We started recording two years ago in the early stages of the pandemic. It was the perfect way to continue to create work, content, and stories, because it was the safest way. You’re going into a booth, it’s sanitized, and it’s just you and a microphone in a glass box. You’re looking at the director through a Zoom call on a screen, and the engineer’s on the other side of a wall talking to you.

Animation is the one thing that I went into right away when this whole thing happened with the world shutting down, because it was the one thing that you could do that was already, for lack of a better word, bulletproof. The safety of it was already there, because when you do voiceover you are in a recording studio by yourself, no one’s around you.

It felt good to create something when there was so much uncertainty happening in the world. I remember thinking “Is this the new way of life? How are we going to go forward with everything?” So it was nice to have a character like Perro that I got to play during a crazy time.

What We Do In Shadows: Al Roberts, Harvey Guillén -- Photo: Russ Martin/FX
What We Do In Shadows: Al Roberts, Harvey Guillén — Photo: Russ Martin/FX

MW: How did you discover Perro’s voice? What brought Perro alive for you?

GUILLÉN: I remember auditioning and having a producer session with Dreamworks and the director. The notes we were given before I even auditioned were this character is an optimist, he’s bubbly, he’s a little dog but he’s bigger than life.

It’s so different when you do a voiceover. I always say it’s even harder — you don’t rely on your facial expression, you can’t rely on your body movement. But everything in your body has to be so engaged just to convey this emotion, whether it’s sadness, whether it’s happiness — and all you have is your vocal instrument. There’d be days where I’d leave the session and I’d come home, and I’d be exhausted, because I had to use every ounce of energy to convey this character.

I just started doing voiceover in the last couple years, and it’s such hard work. People think, “Oh, that’s funny, because it’s an easy thing, it’s just your voice.” It’s actually very demanding. I’m really happy with what we found with Perro, we found his nuances and we found his pitch, his diction, and the way he says things. It was just great to find him with the director, and live in that world of Perro for a while.

MW: Were you surprised when you finally saw the finished product combined with the voice work you did years earlier?

GUILLÉN: You said it earlier — the animation for this project is just leaps and bounds. This isn’t the animation that I grew up watching — this is the animation that I wish we had, just so high-tech and advanced. It’s amazing.

MW: It’s true, they take more adventurous steps than you see in a typical major studio feature animation. They delve into a lot of different styles. There are even several nods to anime at key points. I think the film is a strong contender for an Oscar nomination, to be honest.

GUILLÉN: That would be lovely. We have worked so hard on this film. It deserves every accolade, honor, mention, and nomination it gets.

MW: I was struck by a thematic connection between The Last Wish and the most recent season of What We Do in the Shadows, in which you play the household familiar — and vampire killer — Guillermo. A throughline of Season 4 of Shadows was Nandor’s Djinn. Nandor’s wishes throughout the season frequently changed the trajectory of the narrative, including one that had a significant impact on Guillermo. So you’re in a lot of “wishing projects” right now.

GUILLÉN: I didn’t think about that, but it’s absolutely true. The moral of the story is — with both projects — be careful what you wish for, and be careful what you think is your ultimate wish. I guess it’s the year of wishes.

MW: The last time we interviewed after Shadows, Season 3, we talked about the possibility that Guillermo might be gay. All you said to me at the time was, “If we put that out into the universe, maybe it’ll happen.” Well, it happened. So let me ask you from a standpoint as a gay actor, what did it mean for you for Guillermo to come out after four seasons and did you think of him as gay from Season 1?

GUILLÉN: I think that was a question that even the writers were maybe sprinkling within Guillermo’s actions or mannerisms — the way that he talks about relationships, the way that he talks about Nandor [played by Kayvan Novak]. There was always a hint of “What is his sexuality?” because we don’t know. At the end of the day, sometimes I think the idea of coming out is always coming out for someone else. Just recently, I was listening to a friend who made a really good point, saying, “We always say coming out as opposed to letting in — ‘I’m letting you in.'”

Because for the most part, no one ever really comes out as a surprise to themselves. I think it’s funny that we always say, “I’m coming out” or “They came out.” It should really be, “They finally let you in,” because they knew who they were, and they weren’t comfortable enough, or they didn’t feel safe with you yet to let you in, to share that moment. Finally, when they do let you in, it means that they trust you enough, and they are allowing themselves to be vulnerable, and then let you in to know who they really are. Hopefully, you take that information and are gentle with it, and supportive. When they finally let you in, it’s a huge honor.

I think Guillermo hadn’t let anyone in for a long time, because he was afraid, he was terrified, because he hadn’t let himself in on it. He hadn’t completely allowed himself to ask himself that question and know the answer. And if he asked that question, he would know the answer — and maybe that alone is terrifying, maybe that alone is scary for anyone.

In our story, it was because a member of his chosen family — Nadja — was being threatened by his biological family: his mom, grandma, aunt, and cousin who were threatening to kill her. When Nadja’s life was threatened, that was enough for him to use it as a shield and a buffer, to stop his biological family from hurting his chosen family.

He used that as a tool and he came out — he finally let them in. That was enough to stop and defuse the situation, and it was so heartbreaking, just because I remember shooting that scene and thinking, “Guillermo, this poor guy who had to keep this part of himself a secret for so long, the only way that he came out was because the two groups that he loved so much were at each other’s throats.”

When he did, both parties were so welcoming, they were like, “Oh, we knew. We got it.” It was not even a surprise. Sometimes, I think, we hype up in our heads that people are going to react in a certain way. For the most part, people who matter won’t care, and people who will make a big deal out of it and care, they don’t matter.

That’s the rule of thumb. We make a big deal out of it, and for the most part, if you’re surrounded with the people that love you and accept you, then they will accept you as you are, and it’ll be fine. It’s just that first step. It was really beautiful to play that. It was cathartic, and it reminded me of the journey that I and millions of others have had, to be comfortable and let someone in.

Everyone’s story is different and there’s no expiration date, too. After the episode came out, I had somebody come up to me at a Con who was 52 years old. They said, “I saw the episode and I was finally honest with myself, and was thinking what am I holding off for, or what am I waiting for?” And they finally came out, they said.

So there really isn’t an expiration, there’s no ticking time bomb that says you must come out by a certain time, because I think it’s society that pushes people. When the time is right, the time is right. It might be when you’re in your teens, in your twenties, in your thirties — there is no expiration. When the time is right for you, it’s right for you, and it’s going to happen the way it’s supposed to happen. It reminded me of that and how, even a character in a comedy like Guillermo, is helping people, through comedy, feel comfortable in their own skin.

Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), Perrito (Harvey Guillén) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault) -- Image: Joel Crawford.
Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), Perrito (Harvey Guillén) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault) — Image: Joel Crawford

MW: When the episode dropped, the response from your fanbase was extraordinary on social media. There was nothing but joy. I’m curious, though, did you get any negative backlash?

GUILLÉN: No, I really didn’t. I got nothing but positive reactions on social outlets. At Cons, people were cheering for him, and I was cheering for him from the get-go. Even before I knew officially what his sexuality was, I just wanted Guillermo to be happy, whatever that looked like. Because you can be happy in the career that you’ve chosen and the life you’ve chosen for yourself, with or without being married, or a partner, or kids.

People’s happiness is measured by different degrees and I, from the get-go, really did wish the best for Guillermo, because the poor guy has gone through so much that the simplest thing of just being happy, sometimes, seems like the biggest challenge. I think that’s a lesson we can all learn: If we really allow ourselves to be happy, we can just sit in our own thoughts and ask ourselves, “What makes me happy?” and do it. Why aren’t you happy? What’s in your way? What’s your obstacle?

So I didn’t get any backlash or bad responses from when he came out. It was nothing but positivity and people cheering for him, happy for him. People were like, “Finally, yes! I love that he finally can live his authentic, true self.” It’s nice when people cheer for someone to live the best version of their life. It is nice. I think that’s why people related to Guillermo — he is the only human in the show with a group of vampires who — yes, they are immortal, they feast on blood, they lust, they’re sexual — but Guillermo is the human of the show, and he represents what the human storyline looks like, which is an underdog trying to get his dream. We all relate to Guillermo, because we have been Guillermo at one point or another.

We all root for him because we’re all rooting for ourselves. We want Guillermo to succeed because we want ourselves to succeed. We want to see him happy because he’s a reflection of us. When he’s happy, it gives us hope. When you watch a human being who’s gone through a whole journey, you root for them, you cheer for them because you see yourself in them.

Guillermo is the everyman kind of character, so it’s nice when a chapter of his life is finally coming to fruition. Finally, yes, that’s good for him, that’s great, I’m happy. Now can we get to the other levels that people think they want for Guillermo? Which are all different. Some people want him to be a vampire, some people don’t. Some people don’t love him as a Van Helsing lineage and badass. It’s funny, because everyone has a different interpretation of what they want and what’s best for Guillermo.

MW: Guillermo does go back into the closet with his biological family, in a way, having their memories erased that he works for vampires.

GUILLÉN: Right. He got out of one closet and stayed in another one. He’s full of secrets, for sure, and I think we’re just pulling away at the layers he has, in every season. I’m happy we get to explore a different side of him — he’s not the same Guillermo we saw in Season 1, and [in the next season] he’s definitely not the same Guillermo we saw in the last season. He’s always evolving and changing, but that’s us, that’s human nature. We all are different versions of ourselves every day, we’re not the same as we were yesterday, and we’re definitely not going to be who we are today, and who we are going to be tomorrow.

Harvey Guillén – Photo: Justin Wu

MW: We even get a hint of corruption in Season 4. He’s stealing money from the vampires.

GUILLÉN: And we forgive him. People always want to point out — and I’ve seen people do this on TikTok, they’ll make videos and they’re like, “This man right here, I will follow ’til the end of time. Yes, he’s murdered vampires. Yes, he’s embezzled money. But how can you be mad at him?”

We know his backstory and we see how he’s played by the books for over 13 years. Nothing has come to fruition because he’s played by the books. Sometimes you do everything you were told and you don’t get what you were promised, so you take what’s yours. So Guillermo takes initiative and takes what’s owed to him, so he starts embezzling from the vampire nightclub to support his family.

Remember, he used some of that money to buy his mom appliances and whatnot, for the life he couldn’t provide for her for the last 13 years, because he’s a non-paid employee of a vampire. He finally takes back what’s his and that is a huge deal — and [audiences] forgive him. No one really gets upset that he embezzles money, especially because it comes from the vampires. Nadja is doing the same things behind closed doors — she’s embezzling too.

MW: I want to talk about the episode where Guillermo’s boyfriend from London comes to visit, and Nandor has the Djinn create an exact replica of the boyfriend. It was an utterly brilliant conceit — and really heartbreaking as well. What looked like a fleeting moment of real happiness for Guillermo just completely dissipated in a very funny but bittersweet way.

GUILLÉN: Yeah, it was just sad to see him so close. That scene with Nandor really killed me. “All my life I never had a boyfriend, and the one time I get close to someone, and I like them, and they’re really important to me, you make it all about yourself,” he says to Nandor. It’s really heartbreaking because for so long Guillermo has supported Nandor, even becoming his best man and filtering all his wives, to get to what he thinks is his perfect wife. Which could be heartbreaking, because we’ve yet to discover, to scratch at that question of Nandor and Guillermo. Are they, aren’t they? Will they, won’t they?

If you, for one second, think Guillermo has all these feelings for Nandor, how heart-wrenching it must be to help someone that you — in the back of your head — might have affection and love for, to see them look for a wife and help them. That could be hard in itself.

But in the storyline, because Guillermo was in such a good place — he had found Freddie, was happy, and was wanting happiness for his friend. So he helps Nandor put a wedding together, and helps him find his life partner. While helping him, Nandor is so self-absorbed that he ends up just replicating his wife into a version of Guillermo’s boyfriend at the end of the day. That is where the comedy lives, where it’s like “That’s hilarious,” but it’s also so sad, so tragic, and so selfish of Nandor. That he is so selfish that he can’t let Guillermo have one shiny thing, maybe that speaks to Nandor’s psyche of “Do you want Guillermo for yourself?”

He does say, “I wish for my wife to like everything that I like.” Then we have that moment where Marwa, when she thanks Guillermo for the wedding and says, “Oh, Guillermo,” and then kisses him on the cheek, and hugs him really affectionately. People were thrown off by that, but if you think about it, Nandor wished for his wife to like everything that he likes. And Nandor cannot show the affection that he wants to show to Guillermo, so it comes through a vessel like Marwa.

The writers are so amazing on this show, because of the layers in the comedy that they write. The Freddie episode was hilarious and it was tragic.

MW: At the very end of that episode, in a coda, we see something that happens in London. You bring such pain and heartbreak to that moment. It’s an amazing bit of acting that really seals the deal of that entire episode.

GUILLÉN: It’s funny to think that we’re making a comedy and we’re making the laughter, but also at the end we throw in a really emotional moment. We use comedy sometimes to deflect and to make people drop their guard, and then quickly do a little moment like that. I always praise the writers, because they find ways to do it. At the end of the day, we’re making a comedy, obviously, but we have those moments with Guillermo, because, again, he’s the only human, and we get to play on those human emotions. Doing Shadows for the last five seasons, I think I’ve had more dramatic moments sometimes than I have had when I do a dramatic piece.

Because comedy is hard. Sometimes the humor comes from the tragedy and the humor has to come from the deepest parts of sadness, especially with this character. We lean into the laughter of it and the ridiculousness of poor Guillermo, but sometimes even with laughter, we can’t cover the fact that this is a really sad, tragic moment for any human. We can’t even enjoy fully laughing at them at that moment, we have to stop and realize we feel bad for them, but then you go back to the laughter in a second.

The way that the show is formulated is just brilliant, it allows you to do all. It allows you to laugh at him, laugh with him, feel bad for him, root for him, and then encourage him. That’s good writing and it’s just a credit to the team we have at Shadows, that the story for Guillermo has so many layers. We just wrapped Season 5 a couple of days ago and I just can’t believe it, the last five years have gone by so quickly.

Harvey Guillén – Photo: Justin Wu

MW: The vampires have gotten more queer as the seasons have progressed. They’re like rampantly sexual no matter what the situation, and it’s celebrating sexuality has slowly become a hallmark of the show. It’s not for Marjorie Taylor Greene or Ron DeSantis, it’s for the rest of us. It’s a huge celebration of humanity, of sexuality, of just being your own authentic self. It’s an amazing achievement in that regard.

GUILLÉN: I think that in the world of vampire folklore, or tropes, it’s the idea that if you’re immortal, you have nothing to lose because you’ve been around for centuries. Most vampires are frozen in a time where they’re the most beautiful version of themselves. You are stuck and trapped in the time capsule of your body, of your mind. The idea is that most vampires are queer because they’ve been around for so long — eventually why wouldn’t they experiment, why wouldn’t they see what it’s like to be with the same sex?

It feels like all the vampires that we see are pretty queer, and it makes sense because I feel like vampires also represent the outsider, the monsters. Whenever we see monster movies and the person being chased down — the villagers with the torches — we always ask ourselves — or at least I do — who’s the monster here? The person they’re chasing down with torches, or the people holding the torches? Sometimes we make monsters out of people or monsters out of a situation, and I think that at the end of the day, the biggest monsters out there are in front of the mirror, are the humans themselves.

We forget that we do things out of whatever we feel is righteous, or we fall back on religion to use as a weapon, or we fall back on quote-unquote “traditional values” to use as a weapon on someone. Sometimes the monster isn’t the one being chased, it’s the one who’s the chaser.

MW: I know you probably can’t say anything about Season 5, but I have to at least address the cliffhanger that the fourth season ends on. You know what happens, but we don’t know what happens yet. I’m very envious.

GUILLÉN: I will say that we ended Season 4 with such a cliffhanger, and I’m so proud of Guillermo and the initiative that he’s taken, but also I want to remind everyone that sometimes what you wish for isn’t necessarily what’s best for you. Whether or not your wish comes true, sometimes you’re better off before. It’s like dreaming that if you win the lottery all your problems get solved away — that’s not necessarily true. If anything, it could add to your problems, it could bring more difficulty, it could bring more hardship, and I think that Guillermo’s no different.

Remember, Guillermo’s going off of the dreams and aspirations that he’s had since he was little, and he’s been committed to this 14-year conservatorship with Nandor, who controls Guillermo’s dreams, controls everything on his day-to-day, and dangles it like a carrot in front of him. It’s what makes Guillermo say he’s finally had enough.

I’m so excited for everyone to see the next season, because of what unfolds, and the adventure, and what comes with it. Then you get obstacles, the thrills, the hardship, the heartbreak, all of these things, which make for a great season. I can’t wait for everyone to see the journey that he’s on.

MW: Going back for a moment to actors coming out. I’m sure you followed what happened with Kit Connor from the Netflix series Heartbreaker. He was almost brutally forced out as bisexual by fans of the show online.

GUILLÉN: Yeah, I did not like that. I thought that was very disgusting and I thought it is not… I want to word this right.

No one owes anyone a coming out, an explanation of their sexuality. You are not entitled to demand someone to voice their sexuality to you. We are human and you are not entitled to that. The entitlement of people to say, “Tell us if you are, tell us right now. Tell us if you are, come out right now. Do it.” You’re a bully, that’s what you are. You’re a bully, you’re bullying someone to come out before they’re ready to. That is their journey, that is their narrative, that is their prerogative. You are not entitled to speed that along, you are not entitled to force it out of someone.

What a horrible thing to do to someone, to force them out, to out them. It is their story and their journey. Again, going back to what I said earlier, when people come out it’s never really about them coming out, it’s always to let them in. People are demanding to be let in — into gates that are not meant to open for them. They’re literally banging at doors, like, “Open up and say it, say it now!” You’re just making a scene.

I feel so bad for him. I sympathize with him, because he should not have been put into that situation. It just goes to show how disgusting we can be as humans sometimes. And there’s the monster for you — they’re the ones outside banging at your door trying to get in, because it’s for their comfort. It’s to make them feel good, it’s to settle a bet, it’s for them to finally have peace of mind, to know the truth because they have a hunch. They’re the monster. It’s to satisfy that monster need, and it was just disgusting.

I just want him to know that he is, and forever will be, part of our queer family, and he is protected and safe, and should know that he should feel safe with us, but also that he should never have been put in that situation. For the people who did that, I hope you feel shame and learn from this. That this is not how you treat people.

Harvey Guillén – Photo: Justin Wu

MW: By contrast, given that you’re already out, your social media interactions generally seem great, with people sending you fan art and stuff like that. But do you think social media can become toxic for actors when the mob takes over?

GUILLÉN: I think that social media can be great and it can also be terrible. It’s how it’s used. Obviously, when you’re connected to your fans, you can have a conversation, you can thank them, and whatnot. But sometimes people on social media say things that I don’t think they would dare say in person. They would never have the guts to say it in person, because you hide behind a blue bird, or behind an Instapost, or behind the idea that there is a shield that divides you and that person, and they could never physically hurt you, or they feel this freedom to be very cruel and be very nasty.

It’s so upsetting, because I think social media is a great thing when it’s utilized to connect people from around the world that otherwise we might not be connected to. But it also could be really scary and a dark place.

I try to navigate through that. I love talking to fans, fans have been so wonderful through social media. There are certain things that I don’t share on socials, like I rarely try to share too much of my personal life with my family. Every once in a while, but I try to keep my personal life and my family private, because that’s my time, and that’s my family.

Everything else I will share with the fans. I will share the experiences, I will share sets, I will share costumes, because I know they want to see that stuff. But we also have a boundary and respect, and I set the boundaries and put the lines down in my socials, where we control that narrative. It’s your page for a reason. It’s called my Instagram, not your Instagram, and it’s called my Twitter, not your Twitter. It’s every individual’s own space. You control and manage them how you want. I think, for my socials, I’m more than willing to share as much as I can with the fans, but also have the right and reserve the right to not share what I don’t want to share.

MW: So I probably shouldn’t ask, how’s your dating life?

GUILLÉN: [Laughs.] I mean, you can ask all you want, Randy. I’m so busy working — and this is not a cop-out answer at all, because it’s really true. Last year, I spent 10 months away from home. It’s hard to keep a relationship right now in the time that I’m living, because it has to be someone that understands the schedule, and I know that’s a hard thing to do, because one day you’re shooting in Toronto, the next day you’re in L.A.

Because of that, it’s hard, and it’s time-consuming. I don’t like putting someone in a position where I can’t give them 150 percent of me for at least a certain period of time.

But I’m not worried, because I am dating — I’m going on dates. I think people know when they want to be in a relationship, and for me, I don’t feel that I necessarily want to be in a relationship right now. I don’t feel that I’m missing that part in my life. It’s always funny, because people always say like, “Don’t you want to have a partner right now, or have kids?” It doesn’t mean that I don’t want those things, it just means that right now, in this moment, it’s not my focus. It’s like the old traditional going home for Thanksgiving, family members asking you who you’re dating, and it’s like the idea that everyone’s journey is different, and I’m on my journey right now.

I’m very content with my work, my friends, and my family. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m dating, just not with the goal of settling down and getting married tomorrow. If it happens organically, which it should, it will happen, and it’ll happen in due time. But, as of now, I’m pretty much just living life day to day. And whatever comes my way, I’ll take it one day at a time.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is playing in theaters nationwide. Visit

What We Do in the Shadows, Seasons 1-4, is available on FX on Hulu. Visit

Follow Harvey Guillén on Instagram at @HarveyGuillen.


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