Looking for your next binge-worthy show? iZombie—from Veronica Mars and Party Down creator Rob Thomas—is the comedy/drama/procedural/detective/zombie show you never knew you wanted and can speed through as fast as you want on Shomi. Thomas has brought another interesting, smart and strong female lead to your television screens, this time in the form of Liv Moore, a med student turned zombie who helps solve crimes by experiencing the memories, characteristics and talents of the people whose brains she snacks on. If you are not yet intrigued, then maybe the hot men, slick storylines and dry humour will do the trick.
We chatted with the show’s gorgeous Kiwi star Rose McIver (Masters of Sex, Once Upon a Time) about how she can relate to a brain-chomping zombie and what it takes to get the perfect undead look.
What drew you to this character?
I read a lot of characters who aren’t allowed to be as contradictory as we are in our lives. I think Liv is wonderfully contradictory: she is confident and sassy and outspoken and also vulnerable. She has these meaty layers that sometimes don’t get explored really thoroughly in what we think of as strong female roles in television.
What has been the most challenging part about this role for you?
Every week after eating the brain I acquire a new skill set. It’s like I’m playing a new character every week, and on television you don’t have as much time to prepare for these things as I would like.
Considering that your character is a zombie, how do you find ways to relate to her?
I definitely do relate to her. It’s a questioning of purpose and identity and making sure that the relationships she has in her life are the most important part of who she is, whether she’s a zombie or not. She’s very connected to her family, her ex-fiancé, her friends, and she’s dealing with a very existential crisis. I think that combo is very human and very relatable.
What has been the funniest moment on set?
We have these people who come on set to play bodies in the morgue. We actually did some research into real morgues, and the woman we spoke to had such a dark sense of humour and you realize that you have to. We have a lot of laughs on set when we’re in the morgue—the people who come in to play the corpses have to keep incredibly still for a very long time, and it’s quite hard to do that. Somehow it got written in that Rahul Kohli, who plays Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, had to tap one of the corpses on the head with a pen, and it’s so amusing and demeaning to be to tapped on the head with a pen while playing a corpse. The person kept blinking every time he tapped, so he was trying to fake this tap and the whole thing just got completely out of hand.
How is this show different from other zombie shows and movies?
We are very self-aware about the pop culture around zombies. Liv watches Night of the Living Dead and does her research through magazines and movies, and that’s quite funny. We don’t take ourselves too seriously even when there’s really dramatic stuff going on.
How is your character different from other famous zombie characters?
She’s ethical. She waits until people die to eat their brains. She works in a police morgue instead of killing them. She’s a socially responsible zombie.
What’s the hair and makeup process like to get zombie-fied?
It takes about an hour-and-a-half to get it on in the morning and then about 45 minutes to take it off. Even though the hair is a wig, it’s a very fine lace wig, so we have to spray my hair underneath, so getting that stuff out takes some time. But putting on the clothes, the hair and the eye makeup in the morning is actually really helpful as a way of getting into character.
This show can be classified as a drama/comedy/procedural/zombie show. Is it difficult to find the tone when it crosses so many genres?
That’s the most authentic kind of show to be a part of! I don’t think that life is all drama or all procedural: it’s contradictory, it kicks you. In our show you find the light and shade, and the things to laugh about.