San Diego Comic Con 2017: iZombie Cast Favorite Moments, and the Upcoming Season 4
Sitting down with the iZombie cast and creator, we learn a little about what we can expect for the upcoming season.
What’s up for Blaine post-Discovery day?
He’s back to old ways, gave up on the girl. Well, the girl gave up on him. He threw his father in a well and now took over his business and has created a cemetery to table restaurant called Romero’s. It was good for us to humanize him last season because it got the audience back on his side a little. When the jig was up, but it was like ‘aww I started to like him a little bit.’ You have to like him a little bit, or he would’ve been dead in season 1.
Did anything surprise you from last season?
Me coming out of a crate, bang bang, and then after that taking him to the old family well. That was surprising. Not for me but the Ravi stuff when she eats a brain who has had sex with Ravi. I mean when I read it, I was like I can’t wait to see this.
How much do you know about the new season?
We do have bullet points. Seattle is a walled up city, no ins and out. People are trying to get in with terminal illnesses, so they gave live. I think it is a cool deal. The landscape has changed a lot. It’s going to be a different show. The heart, and the blood and the brains are still going to be in there but I think we are going to edge more towards a darker iZombie, not Walking Dead but a darker iZombie.
Do you look forward to the darkness?
Yeah, I get to be a funny villain for the first time in my career.
What has been like to see the fandom expand?
It’s great I mean I always get more and more people saying they know me for iZombie. We are not some juggernaut of a hit, we are more of a cult hit but I think with the Netflix coverage and being in the UK and being world wide it’s a big thing for us. Rahul has always predicted 6 or 7 seasons. I think it’s blowing up more and more. We are confident that we can stick to that mark.
Is there a moment coming up in the next season you can’t wait for fans to see?
401 just broke so no. I mean that’s when get the scripts. It’s when you read it because their words are so goddamn great, and then you’re like ‘yeah!’
Major has volunteered to be a zombie again. How’s that going to go in the new season?
I’ll tell you what doesn’t it say a lot about what you have going on your life when you’re like you know what would be better than where I am now? Being dead. We do a three-month time jump, and we see that Major is now heavily invested in Fillmore Graves and their cause. I think we will see him and his role there having stepped up quite a bit. We also see him and Liv have a little casual dalliance. That’s about all they’ve told me. They’re smart because they know I love to talk.
Are you now comfortable with your name?
I have learned to embrace the Lilywhite, and it took quite a while. It turns out I’ve learned that I’ve been spelling it wrong for three years. I was like ‘oh my God I’ve been this guy for three years.’ Maybe that was my brain’s passive way of not accepting it.
As you continue to delve into the character, did you find anything you were surprised to learn about yourself as an actor?
This has been the first opportunity for me to do comedy and I’ve found I love it. I’ve done almost exclusively drama for the 11 years I’ve been acting. The comedy is so much closer to who I am in my natural life, and it’s a straight up joy to do.
What’s the atmosphere like on set?
It’s the best. Everyone is very professional and very good at their job. Everyone understands there’s a time and place and when someone has some heavy lifting to do in a scene, it’s not the time. However, when you know it’s not heavy lifting, yeah it is so light. We are always making fun of each other and goofing around because we are able to balance. As soon as they call cut, it gets 3rd grade real quick.
Who is the biggest jokester on set?
If you ask them, they’d say me, but I’d say, Rahul. Here’s the thing I’m a giant child, and Malcolm is an absolute professional, and when I’m around someone who is professional and composed, it drives me nuts. So whenever I work with Malcolm, I do my best to at least ruin a take. If we start off camera, I hold his hand, so he has to wriggle free. Or the scene when I show him a picture, and between every take I’d take a weird extreme close up of the wrinkles in my hand, and I did break him. For some reason that brings my twisted heart lots of joy.
What is your favorite brain Major has been on?
It’s really only been teenage brains. There was the time when I drummed, but that wasn’t really a performance. There was the mercenary brain, and that was very muted. Although I just got wind of one, I’ll be doing episode 3 or 4. (He asks writer Diane if he can reveal it, and she says no.) It was a really fun one that as soon as they told me, I was like ‘oh jeez, this has the potential to be as funny as teenage girl brain.’
What are you looking forward to about the upcoming season?
I’m really looking forward to the relationship between… well now what they are doing is that every detective is made to work with a zombie and it kind of brings Clive back to where he started in season 1. Liv and Clive have something to prove. The relationship with Dale being that she is a zombie and that it’s a situation he is trying to make work. It is exploring how to be affectionate and intimate without being physical. I think Clive is up for the task and I think Rob and Diane and the writers are up to the task.
As you continue to explore your character, is there anything you find you’re surprised to learn about yourself?
Every episode I find something. I didn’t know Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon. I didn’t know Clive had a perspective on it. I didn’t know Dungeons and Dragons, him being so caught up into that. I had no idea; you asked me season one, I would’ve been like huh? But we evolve and find out things. What else? The Flash. With him being a Flash fan. His whole storyline with Wally and Anna Reed with this lost opportunity to have a family. I was really surprised to find that.
What’s been your favorite character that Liv has had to portray?
It would have to be the Dungeon Master and the Dominatrix. The Dominatrix’s brain was so funny and fun to shoot, and you’re trying to not to crack up and Rose with that whip. The school teacher one too because she kept walking around with that damn sock puppet. (Laughing) This was the season the toughest; he didn’t have to pretend like ‘what is wrong with you?’ The reaction is ‘can you stop, I know why you’re acting this way now, but can you not.’ It just created an opportunity for different reactions, and we would just be laughing between takes.
Are there any characters you’d like to interact with more?
David Anders because we are tight in real life, but we’ve only had two scenes together. The interrogation scene when we caught him and when he tried to lure me into the back to of the butcher shop. Anders is a genius. And Aly, I don’t get many scenes with her.
What is the atmosphere like on set? Robert says he gives you a hard time.
He slaps my ass a lot. A lot of ass slapping. Did Robert tell you anything? He’s showing me the phone, and he takes a close up of the wrinkles in his hand, and you don’t know what it is, and it looks like something else. I’ve got to be serious, and I’m like ‘what did you see, ‘ and he goes ‘I saw this, ‘ and I’m looking at the close up of his hand, and I don’t know what this is and my mind is racing and I think I broke. Then he started showing me different shirtless pictures of himself that didn’t make the cut. He always tries to break me.
Diane Ruggiero- Wright
I can tell you some things.
So what excites you most about this season?
It’s a very exciting season. So, we start off three months later, and the cool thing to me is that we have a walled Seattle. All these people were like ‘shit, ‘ and got the hell out of Dodge, and now there’s a wall, and there are humans stuck in there. There are people outside who know that if I have cancer, my salvation is in there. Th people behind the wall are trying to get out. Before when we had our pilot, we have Liv and she was just trying to hide that she was a zombie and get through the day. Now there’s this global issue that she’s immersed in and it just adds another really interesting topical layer that I think is exciting. To be able to do jokes in that and still have a brain of the week and have humor in that and still have all the stuff we like about the show and still have that as an incredible backdrop is really exciting and interesting to me.
Can you talk about how Angus plays into the next season?
He will play into it that he is not a good guy. He’s going to become a problem and becomes a religious guy. Finds his own weird religion and we know that weird religion equals trouble afoot. If there’s a global big bad, he’s a part of that.
You said in the panel that Liv is going to have a new love interest in the panel, and Rob tends to kill all the love interests so can we say goodbye to Justin?
We have said that we won’t kill Justin. I will say that there is another person that is coming in and I don’t know if Rob is going to kill him or not. If the audience adores him and he is killed, it is Rob’s fault and not mine. If the audience doesn’t care for him and he is kept around, it’s Rob’s fault is not mine.
Can you tease any new brains?
I’m so excited we are doing hockey goon. I’ve fought for that every year. Another one is a rom-com obsessed person so like she’s only wearing cream and has a great kitchen and turtle necks. Daisies will be her favorite flower. There’s a Lucille Bluth type character. There are a lot of great things for Rose to do.
How does this new Seattle affect you?
Well, he lives there. New Seattle is Berlin. There’s a wall around Seattle. There’s a mass exodus of humans. The population is quite zombie heavy. There is a lot of illegal immigration going on where terminally ill humans are trying to get into Seattle to get scratched which was made illegal by Fillmore Graves. The new character is Seattle. It is a new world. New rules. I think it deeply affects every single person who inhabits that city.
What about the vaccine?
I can’t talk about it. He did take a vaccine and got scratched by Liv. The only thing I can say is the results of that you will find out in the first episode.
How is your character different from season one?
His hair is shorter. His beard is thicker. There are a few things only I know. His accent has changed. When you start on American tv, the audience and the network, they’re not used to your accent, and it has to be clean and like Downton Abbey. I wanted a real London representation. If you watch over three years, I’ve turned his accent into my accent, and his words have become less pronounced. He’s a little more cynical. He’s less a ball of energy and more sarcastic and sassy. He’s had his heart broken a few times. He’s got braver. I’ve never seen him as a coward. He was labeled a coward at the end of season 2. To see his redemption arc to watch him jump in with zombie truthers, put himself in front of a gun to save Don E, to take his own vaccine. That kind of growth has been one of his biggest changes.
What would you say gets your character out of bed every day?
Hope. He and Liv have always operated on hope. Since day one, he has tried to give her a reason to carry on. That we can fix this. This is something we can do. I’m sure it was easier when he thought he only had to cure three people, but now it’s thousands. It’s trying to fix this.
Do you think he will ever be happy?
I think he’s happy. Sometimes he’s too happy. It’s a tough character to play because I’m not happy. So I spend like 40 minutes in the car every morning. I have this happy playlist, and I wake up very mean and grumpy and crank up NSYNC and 80s music and by the time I get there I’m ready. I’m Ravi. It’s quite liberating to play. I always walk off the set in a good mood. It is kind of like therapy.
What is something you nerd out about?
I nerd out more at E3. I’m very much rooted in gaming. I’ve always nerded about trailers. I’m hoping for some Rick and Morty teasers. I don’t want to know anything about Game of Thrones.
What are you most excited for us to see this year?
Seattle. Logistically I want to see this wall. Build the wall. I I just want to see. I think it’s the commentary. This will come out at a similar time to when season 3 did, and what is going to be the state of politic and when will be in a year’s time. Will we have nailed it or will we have gotten it completely wrong? When we were dealing with Basio and the Russian, it came out just as the Russian hacking scandal. We shot that and wrote that ages ago; I don’t know if that’s a fluke.
What can you tease? What are you most excited about?
I’m excited about this city that has been walled off from the rest of the US. I think it is so fascinating and interesting and it talks about immigration, and it has been a hot topic for many years but especially in this last election. I think that being about to preview a lot of our political commentary in America is going to be really interesting in the iZombie world because they both connect and we are absolutely saying something through out material without it sounding intentional or being stupid specific and you kind of put together the puzzle pieces. I think that’s kind of the most exciting part of this season 4 is what we are going to be saying as a show politically.
How does it affect your character?
It affects her character in a huge way because she is kind of torn between these two worlds. She kind of understands what it’s like to be human and she also has lost two friends to it and now possibly Ravi, and she definitely has an understanding of both worlds, but kind of almost is going to be torn to defend one but stay true to another.
With her being in the city government how is that going to affect her professionally?
She is no longer a district attorney. She is now going to be a prosecutor who is crazy. She’s obviously skipped a few steps because some many people have fled and there is no one left to prosecute these cases. She’s definitely capable but a little under experienced. She’s going to have a lot on her plate. She’s dealing with these human to zombie cases not just human to human like she’s used to.
What has been like to watch the fandom grow?
It’s really exciting. It’s super encouraging to us as a cast that there is a hardcore fan base that watches from week to week religiously. It’s very flattering because we have a lot of fun, but we also work very hard. We all move out to Vancouver and transfer our lives out there. We live there six months, so it’s definitely a big part of our lives that are taken away but then we get this fantastic reward of the fans coming up and telling us what their favorite character or episode is or coming in and creating their own cosplay. That’s a huge compliment to us.
Who would you like Liv to eat the brain of? Do you have a favorite?
I thought that the stripped brain was pretty funny and the Dungeons and Dragons episode was pretty amazing. If she could eat someone’s brain, a Kiwi’s brain because she is a New Zealander so we all are pushing for her to eat a Kiwi and she would kill it.
What are you most excited for this season?
The political under/ overtones. I’m pumped. To be on a show which will still be funny, and we still have a case of the week, and I eat brains, and we have a cast of incredible comedians. I think it’s really important now to be making material that’s addressing what is going on in the world and to kind of convey that information in an entertaining manner is very powerful. The idea of a walled off city and the idea of unwelcome visitors and who decides the right or wrong way.
What is Liv doing in post-Discovery Day?
She is still solving crimes and eating brains. Every detective works with a zombie to help solve crimes. So she’s kind of been a pioneer of a new anti-criminal force. She will still be ticking along. She gets to see her family early on and see what has happened to them in the interim. Pining after Major but unable to make it work. That lovely dance.
How is it for you to explore a strong female character?
I’ve been very lucky in my career that I’ve played a few interesting roles. When I was 15, I was a lead of a show in New Zealand where she ran a circus group. I know how unusual it is for me to have a string of roles like I’ve had, but I don’t want to undermine the previous roles I’ve had by saying this one is so exceptional. So it’s a bit of a dance for me, but I think it’s incredibly important. You only know what you’re capable of doing if you see someone doing it. The young women to be watching this character who has a strong moral backbone and is vulnerable and is scared and puts herself out there and is human and zombie. It is a role that I’m incredibly proud to play. I’m glad she celebrates the different and most important features that she’s not like anyone else. I think that something that young women need to see?
What’s a brain you want to see Liv eat?
I think it would be really funny if she had a body builder’s brains. I want to see her really vain and like cretin shakes and all the weird looking in the mirror and flexing her deltoids. It would be really funny, and a funny synapse of the fit-spiration that is kind of happening now. I think I’ll have to work out for a while.
Aly was talking about you eating a Kiwi brain?
We’ve talked about this a lot, and there are a bunch of friends of mine who I’d love to get them to do it; whether it’s the Flight of the Conchords guys or someone from the Hobbit. We’ve tried a couple of things, and it’s very important for it to be the right person’s brain that she eats.
What’s been your favorite of what’s coming up?
I’m looking forward to the hockey goon brain because I used to ice skate and I d love to get back into it. We are shooting in Vancouver, and it’s such a big part of their culture. All of them. The rom com brain is going to lean itself to some really great montages.