Rose McIver spent five seasons dealing with all the ups and downs of being one of the living dead with her series “iZombie.” Her new show, the CBS comedy “Ghosts,” has her among the living but she’s again working in a very supernatural world. And, like “iZombie,” her new job comes with a lot of dark humor.
In the series, McIver plays Samantha who, with Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), an up-and-coming chef, moves from the city to a huge rundown country estate they inherited. They want to turn it into a bed & breakfast but that proves upsetting for the spirits of deceased residents who now call it home.
The series, which launches with back-to-back episodes starting at 9:01 p.m. Oct. 7 on CBS, is adapted from the BBC One 2019 series of the same name.
McIver credits growing up in New Zealand with giving her a passion for these kinds of roles. Many of her early acting jobs were on the sword and sorcery series “Hercules” and “Xena: Warrior Princess” that were filmed down under.
“I think I always grew up with an appreciation that as an actor you get this chance to like go into this other world, whatever that might mean,” McIver says. “I mean, as much as I have been able to hopefully play some grounded versions and some more heightened or stylized things, I kind of feel like the best part of the job is being able to get in and dress up and become something that isn’t just you every day.
“So, the escapism that comes in a show like this, and the humor, particularly right now, I just feel like something that I want to put on. Something that makes me laugh and something that kind of is a great escape from whatever the day may have been.”
“iZombie” gave her the biggest outlet for working in escapist entertainment. Her character of Olivia Moore was a zombie who took on the personality, memories and traits of a person when she ate their brains. McIver played a frat guy, killer, racist old man, hopeless romantic, fashionista and online prankster.
She is not a zombie or spirit in “Ghosts” but she is definitely a part of the supernatural world. A freak accident leaves Samantha with the ability to see the ghosts in her new home.
The close-knit, eclectic group includes: a saucy Prohibition-era lounge singer (Danielle Pinnock); a pompous 1700’s Militiaman (Brandon Scott Jones); a ‘60s hippie fond of hallucinogens (Sheila Carrasco); an overly upbeat ‘80s scout troop leader (Richie Moriarty); a cod-obsessed Viking explorer from 1009 (Devon Chandler Long); a slick ‘90s finance bro (Asher Grodman); a sarcastic and witty Native from the 1500s (Román Zaragoza); and a society woman and wife of an 1800’s robber baron who is Samantha’s ancestor (Rebecca Wisocky).
Once the ghosts realize that someone can hear and see them, they go from trying to stop the renovations and begin pressing Samantha to give them a connection to the living world that they never had.
There is one big difference between starring on a TV show about zombies and one that deals with ghosts. No one asks if you believe in zombies but questions about whether or not ghosts are real always pop up.
McIver is still trying to make up her mind as to how she feels about spirits.
“I don’t know the long and the short of it. But I haven’t witnessed or experienced something myself, but a lot of people I love and trust have,” McIver says. “I’m definitely open to it.
“I feel like there’s vibes in places for sure, and this house has a vibe.”
“Ghosts” has McIver back in a very familiar genre for her but she has done roles that had nothing to do with the dead. She had a recurring role on the Hulu series “Woke,” opposite Lamorne Morris, and starred in the Netflix films “A Christmas Prince,” “A Christmas Prince: A Royal Wedding” and “A Christmas Prince: A Royal Baby.”
Despite a broad range of roles to her credit, McIver keeps coming back to the supernatural world.
“Honestly, I’m starting to wonder if I am ever going to get a regular job not playing somebody at least half dead again. I guess I found my niche,” McIver says. “I’m really excited to be back in a genre kind of theme. Such as much as it’s hopefully grounded and is this species that we can all relate to as humans.
“One of the things I get most excited about, and I was so fortunate with ‘iZombie,’ is to see people dressing up. To see people getting lost in another world. I think some of the fans in this kind of theme are the most dedicated, creative, imaginable people out there. I feel really lucky that this world would take me back again.”