Wellington Paranormal Team On Monsters, Hauntings & Chuck Norris Fears

Wellington Paranormal follows the adventures of Officers O'Leary and Minogue, Karen O'Leary and Mike Minogue respectively, as hard-working members of the Wellington constabulary's paranormal unit. Under the supervision of Sergeant Maaka, played by Maaka Pohatu (Savage), the 'Mulder and Scully' of New Zealand investigate supernatural occurrences that arise in the capital on a surprisingly regular basis.

First appearing in the vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, O'Leary and Minogue reprise their roles to investigate all manner of paranormal activity. The award-winning horror mockumentary creators Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) immediately recognized the comedy duo's chemistry by their second take and the seeds for a spin-off series were sown. Now, Wellington Paranormal continues to explore the supernatural from a human perspective rather than the monsters. First airing in New Zealand in July 2018, the mockumentary horror series is having its first two seasons airing on The CW on Sundays. 

Wellington Paranormal Team On Monsters, Hauntings & Chuck Norris Fears
Photo: Stan Alley/The CW —©2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Recently, Bleeding Cool had the chance to chat with Clement, O'Leary, and Minogue about personal paranormal experiences, what cryptids are forthcoming on the show, and more.

So About Those Personal Close Encounters with the Supernatural Kind…

Karen O'Leary: I've never seen a ghost, but it was interesting when we were filming the ghost episode (Season One Episode 3 Things that Do the Bump in the Night) when we got it, we had the house blessed. And the woman that came in there was like- she didn't know anything about the house at the time, did she? But she was like, "Ah, there's actually, a, there's a woman in the spirit here. And she's really happy with what you're doing." And it turned out that we found out later that she, the woman that had died in that house, was an avid theater… person.

Jemaine Clement: Yeah. And there was a story about their house that, cause the people that owned it didn't live in the house. They didn't live there, but they had seen an electrician there and the electrician called them up and said, there, "I'm at the house, I can see the lady there, but she won't let me in. I keep knocking and she won't let me in." And they said, there's no lady there, no one lives there. No one's lived there.

Jemaine Clement: So, apparently the house was haunted… she loved the theater and she was quite excited to see…

Mike Minogue: She was a big fan of Wellington Paranormal, even though the series hadn't come out yet, so that was great to get that kind of support.

Jemaine Clement: Yeah. That's true, from an actual ghost. I feel like we're on board with the ghost community.

In Season One, we've seen aliens, paper bags, ghosts, and zombies. What can we expect in the second season monster-wise, and what monsters that you think the fans will enjoy the most?

Jemaine Clement: A favorite of mine, second season would be the Taniwha which is like a native legend (Māori mythological Dragon-like beings in deep pools, rivers, dark caves, or in the sea) who is, supposed to be two that lived in this area, right where Karen and I are sitting, actually. We're actually sitting on one. So it was cool to do something like that. What else did we do in the second season?

Mike Minogue: And the Wellington tunnel, Victoria Tunnel. Mount Victoria Tunnel, which is, when people drive through it, (to dispel ghosts) they always beep their horn. So it's sort of explored, the mythology behind that.

Jemaine Clement: We had to make up our own (mythology), cause the real one's too sad. But people, people toot their horn in this one tunnel in Wellington. Some people think it's a delightful local tradition, some find it very annoying. I like it. Even though I bike through the tunnel, so it's quite loud for me. But yeah, I still like that they do it. But, I don't know if it's true, but urban legend at least, says that it's to keep the ghosts company. And so our, in our version there's a 1930s ghost…he's very old fashioned. Police ghost.

wellington paranormal
Photo: Stan Alley/New Zealand Documentary Board Ltd — © 2021 New Zealand Documentary Board Ltd., All Rights Reserved

We've discussed a lot about the comedy side of all those monsters and stuff. Is there anything that in real life (parts of you that you don't like to talk about at parties) or anything in pop culture that really scare you?

Karen O'Leary: Um, discrimination.

Jemaine Clement: Here's the unusual thing about Karen is, she doesn't watch any movies or TV. So whenever we're doing references to, you know, in Season 1 we do a reference to 'Stranger Things.' And she accidentally…

Karen O'Leary: I had no idea what the upside-down was.

Jemaine Clement: Yeah, and there's one when she says, in Season Two, that sounds like a reference to Jaws but it's not. "We're gonna need a bigger chilly bin." And I found it funny, it's like 'Ah yes, perfect.' Because it's aquatic and it's like Jaws. And she's like, I haven't seen Jaws.

Mike Minogue: Completely improvised the line, it was amazing. But she had no idea. It was great. The only thing that scared me, cause my mum used to let me watch whatever I wanted, and I even liked The Omen. (I) watched The Omen when I was about six or seven and that didn't really scare me that much. But, one thing that sent me up to my bedroom because I was so terrified was Chuck Norris (Walker: Texas Ranger, The Delta Force) in the movie Silent Rage. This guy that just would not die. And yeah, so I had to keep on going up to my bedroom because I was so scared. And even at the end, that guy got kicked down the well. Chuck Norris kicked him down the well. And I thought, well that's it for that guy. And then right at the end, he jumps out of the water. So, yeah, Chuck Norris movies scare me.

daily dispatch
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About Jimmy Leszczynski

Jimmy Leszczynski has been blurring the line between comics and reality at SDCC every year since 1994, and was a nerd long before Lewis, Gilbert, and the Tri Lamdas made it cool. Middle aged father of 2 that REFUSES to grow up, lifelong Bat-Fan, and he thinks he's pretty funny.
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