By Josh Taylor
Reginald the Vampire debuted on SyFy in early October as a comedic look into the world of becoming a vampire. The show stars Jacob Batalon as Reginald, a young man barely navigating adulthood with a job at a slushy shop, and Mandela Van Peebles as Maurice, a more experienced vampire and former Black Panther (the group not the superhero) who mentors Reginald in his new life as an immortal bloodsucker. Creepy Kingdom had the opportunity to sit down with Mandela Van Peebles to discuss the show, his character Maurice, and he may have also given a tiny hint at what’s to come. Asked what drew him to the character, Peebles stated, “I thought it was a really interesting opportunity to play a vampire for the first time and play someone who is immortal and doesn't have to worry about death, and play someone who was turned in the 1970s and probably outlived all of his friends and family.” For the actor, Maurice afforded him the opportunity to play a character that felt modern and still had aspects of who he was in human form as well.
There have been several films and tv shows that have turned vampires into protagonists. What We Do in the Shadows is a show that makes us want to become friends with the vampire crew. In the case of Reginald the Vampire, we also want to be friends and get to know these characters, which is why Maurice got his own backstory. Peebles said ‘In episode four we got to do the period flashbacks to the ‘70s and see Maurice’s origin story. We met his family. I thought that was really fun and needed to get emotions going for the character and what he's been through.” Unlike What We Do in the Shadows, Reginald the Vampire isn’t a straight sitcom. It incorporates more drama with its horror. On the subject, Peebles said, “I kind of think of it as fusion food. It’s like a Korean taco in a way. It has everything you want in one dish. It allows many different things to live in one universe and even within one scene.” Another significant element of the show is how diverse it is. Not only are Reginald and Maurice both people of color, but the show is open to all types of sexual orientations, genders, and body types. That’s something that drew Mandel Van Peebles to the show. “Traditionally you wouldn’t think of people of color on a show like this in lead roles but it’s a show that is pushing the boundaries on what you might think of a vampire show.”
For Peebles, the show's social justice and inclusionary aspects are something he connects with. In his regular life, he wants to see more inclusion and hopes to use his own reputation for good. As for the show, which is halfway through its first season, Peebles stated “As the show progresses, the stakes will get higher, and everyone’s performances and energy match that so it should be exciting to see.” Reginald the Vampire is currently airing on SYFY every Wednesday.