Q&A: iZombie star Rose McIver talks to Michael Idato
OK, so let’s cut to the chase. You’re playing Liv Moore, a zombie who works in the morgue so she has access to a steady diet of human brains. What are you actually eating in those scenes?
It’s gelatin. I pushed for human brains. I said guys, I’m with it, give me what you’ve got. They said no. It’s pretty disgusting. Gelatin covered in corn syrup is never going to be good. That said, it could be worse. It’s fine.
The series is a hit, and part of a bigger genre of zombie shows such as The Walking Dead and Z Nation. What happens when you wake up and realise you’ve been turned into an action figure?
I honestly am so excited. I haven’t seen in it in the flesh yet, but Rahul and Malcolm [Rahul Kohli, who plays Dr Ravi Chakrabarti and Malcolm Goodwin, who plays detective Clive Babineaux] went and took photos. They said there’s interchangeable hands and heads. So cool. It’s great. It’s very, very flattering.
Part of the series’ premise is that Liv acquires a range of things via the brains she eats, personality quirks, flashes of memory or even acquired skills. How is that to play?
You know each time Liv eats a brain she takes on these things, these characteristics and skills, that could be funny or they can be compromising. But I think that knowing the relationship that she has with the other characters, and the overarching themes and storylines, I can’t imagine it not being grounded. I can’t imagine not investing in that and not feeling like there’s huge stakes for Liv. For me it’s like when you’re at a funeral and you have an urge to laugh. Often when people do, it brings out the most silly, or distracted, or heightened versions of yourself. But the actual experience of going through it is still very loaded, and grounded, and filled with kind of grit.
What do you enjoy most about the role?
I love the variety. In the flashback sequences when we see her, things were too easy. It was all going in one direction. It was all very smooth. She was in love and had a great job and everything. I think this has been the best thing for her. It’s really shaken her up. Obviously it’s been very compromising in many senses, but she’s found new parts to herself. She’s become a lot more interesting, and complex, and courageous. I think it’s been a real character-building experience.
What about her relationship with her family?
She’s put people in difficult situations, she’s been put in difficult situations, and I think there’s going to be a lot to struggle with forgiveness, and being able to be connected, and genuine, and intimate with her family, because a secret like that is – I don’t know, a terrible secret to keep – it would suck. I don’t like it. I like being able to be open and honest with the people that I love and I definitely tried to bring that to them as well. That’s a painful thing to have to pull from people.
It is tough for her blending in, so to speak, because she looks so different. The show’s zombies aren’t like other show’s zombies, but her pallid complexion is so different.
I actually love that Liv just acknowledges that she looks different. She’s not the same. It’s so fun for me to book a show that is on a network that has a lot of really beautiful women that look a certain way [in the US the show airs on The CW, which has a young-skewing audience and a program slate tailored to that demographic] and they have approved and been so supportive of this character who just embraces who she is. She looks different and that’s great. And I think that confidence gives her a lot of beauty. I hope she just owns it.