While loosely based on the Vertigo series by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred, The CW’s “iZombie” will share more than just its name with the comic book when it premieres March 17. Last year during Comic-Con International in San Diego, co-stars Malcolm Goodwin and Rahul Kohli visited the world famous CBR Yacht for a chat with CBR’s Kiel Phegley about their roles as a homicide detective and a doctor, respectively. They talk about their real-life experiences and how they’ve been able to use them to bring something to their on-screen characters, the blood and guts necessary in a zombie TV series and much more.
On the detective and the doctor roles in “iZombie” and their experiences working on the show so far:
Malcolm Goodwin: I’m a rookie homicide detective, pretty much desperate to get my first collar. I’ve been on the job a couple weeks, and have been unsuccessful in solving a murder, so when I go and investigate the victim in the pilot episode, unbeknownst to me, Liv ate her brain, and she inherits the visions and memories of that person. They passed that off to me as psychic powers so I use that to help me solve her murder.
Rahul Kohli: My character, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, is the forensic pathologist at the Seattle police department, and he’s quite a smart guy. He loves his mysteries, his mythologies, and stuff like that. He starts to notice — when he is required to go back to an old case, and he opens up one of the victims, he realizes that brain has been removed. He is able to piece together and discover what’s been going on. He’s Liv’s boss, and he brings it to her attention, but whether she’s unsure as to how this is going to be received — that’s the only person that knows her secret — but being the guy that he is, it’s an incredible medical anomaly, he is just absolutely fascinated. He absolutely love it and just wants to study her. It’s one of the biggest medical finds of the last fifty, sixty years.
On what kind of experience they had with police work and medicine or whether they came to the show cold:
Kohli: I’ve got doctors in my family, so when I was given the script I wanted to know as much as possible about how things work. And obviously, being from the United Kingdom, the medical system is quite different, so I did as much research on how things are done in Washington state, in terms of what happens when there’s a murder victim, who gets called, how that system works. I then kind of overdosed on autopsy videos. I went on some dark stuff and found out how to do autopsies in theory, and I interviewed a few pathologists in the UK. I didn’t get a chance to do it in the UK, but I’m hoping to go to a live viewing and do that as well for character research.
Goodwin: I watched a lot of “Shaft” and “Blazing Saddles.” That’s how the character was sort of described. Cleavon Little meets “Shaft.” But, throughout my career I played the bad guy, I’ve also played the good guy, so I just kind of used those elements of prior work into this, but a lot of “Shaft.” A lot of Richard Roundtree.
On how they anticipate fans will react to the show’s unique tone:
Goodwin: When I read the script I was absolutely blown away by it. It does have the procedural element, but it’s also funny. I think someone said it’s like a “Zomedy” or something like that. It has that flavor too. But it also has a lot of heart. You really care about what Liv is going through, trying to adjust to being this zombie. And Clive, he’s new at being a detective. He’s not that good, so you get to see him kind of grow and get better at his job. And also with your character…
Kohli: For me, when you see the script, as an actor, there is so much variety from page to page. Like I’ll have quite heavy medical sort of drama to deal with, and at the same time we’ve got this supernatural-esque element of it, and then the comedy element of it, and then the kind of coming of age. It’s quite versatile and no two pages are quite the same — it still tied together, it was still a concise piece, but it’s so different and has so many different flavors.
Goodwin: Very colorful characters, and detail.
Kohli: I wouldn’t watch it with your kids, but it’s got a great age appeal. It really can sort of…
Goodwin: Appeal to a large audience.
On the most disgusting thing they had to fake doing or undergo for the show:
Goodwin: Have I done anything gross? No. No, I think I’m good. I had to look at some dried up dog food or something like that. [Kohli laughs] My character manages to stay away from the grotesque parts of the show.
Kohli: I haven’t yet. Most of the stuff I did was in the morgue so we had cadavers, and there’ss a jar with a foot in it, but I haven’t yet taken a bone saw to anything — yet. The grossest thing I had was my beard, I guess, I had from the show. I had jam in it. That’s probably as gross as it gets.
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