Rahul Kohli's Ravi is a major part of iZombie's appeal.
The actor, who took the part as his first major American role, came on board and became the show's resident fanboy, speaking the language of those the show had to work to win over in its first season, since it diverged so much from the comic book source material.
During our visit to the set of iZombie last week, we spoke with Kohli -- actually, to be honest, we visited with him on the set of Minority Report, but that's neither here nor there -- and he, in between jokes and digressions about pop culture, told reporters plenty about what's coming up for his character.
What was your reaction when you were told that in the Bro episode, they were going to put makeup on you and write on your head.
I loved it. I don't know what's going on recently, but I didn't realize I love cross-dressing as much as I do. We've been doing these behind-the-scenes videos and it was like, "Oh, I'm in a skirt. Okay, I'm Wonder Woman." And when we did the make-up, I love being dolled up and made up. Since I was a kid, I've loved costumes and stuff like that.
So yeah, I loved it, and it made sense that she would mess with Ravi like that. She wouldn't do it to Clive, because he's a bit scary, so yeah, it made sense.
With December coming up and everything, isn't there a need for you to be Luke Skywalker again?
[Laughs] Yeah. iZombie has been really sweet to me, giving the Star Wars shout-outs, but we'd better be careful because of Disney with their rights and stuff. I would like to literally have a Stormtrooper helmet in Ravi's office, but The CW doesn't want that fight.
I feel like I saw a behind-the-scenes photo of you on the toilet. What was that about?
Yeah! Every season so far, we've found a really manky toilet for me to pose on. So when we were at the Asian DVD store [in Season One], the toilet there was really nasty and so we all posed on it, but then my picture went out becuase I dropped my pants and I was sitting there. And then when we were on set yesterday, we found another manky toilet, so we took the picture, but that has nothing to do with the show. That was us pretending it was a spoiler.
Ravi has things happening with Stephanie already. He's a fast mover. What's Peyton going to do with that relationship?
Mess it up! No, I'm kidding. Let me tell you a story. Ravi/Peyton was going to be this whole, fleshed-out thing they were going to do in Season One, but it became a distraction to the main storyline and started getting chopped and chopped and chopped. And of course, Aly, since she wasn't a series regular, we weren't sure she could come back, because since she's so good we thought she might be a lead on another show. So the Ravi/Peyton thing just kind of died.
This scene Rob had written, if you read it, it's a good-bye scene. It read like she comes back and it's platonic, and she's like "Can I have a hug?" and I'm like "Oh, friend zone. Cool." Me and Aly did it, and I don't know what we did. We did not do what we were supposed to do. It had all this subtext and longing looks and hugs and all of a sudden Rob e-mailed us a few days later and said "uhhh, that's not the plan -- but now it is the plan!" So we kind of gave ourselves more work. We were really happy with that. We kind of resuscitated their relationship. So right now, they're figuring it out organically. It's not something they planned over the summer: "Oh, let's bring Ravi and Peyton back together." So I have no idea where it's going, but I know it isn't as dead as it was supposed to be.
As a scientist, is Ravi jealous at all that Liv gets to have these new personalities every week and experience these new things?
No, they're horrible! They destroy all her relationships. Ravi is happy where he is, and I think he enjoys watching her take on the personae. It speaks to his humor. She's like a kinder egg, I guess. You never know when you open it up, what toy you're going to get to play with this week.
She's going to be eating magician's brain. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Yeah! Well, I know that Rose, the most jealous I've been on the show -- I've been jealous for a few reasons: one, when Major got to shoot up the Meat Cute. I was super jealous because I know I could kill that scene. I was jealous that i didn't get any guns and I didn't get to blow up zombies.
The other time I was really jealous was when Rose went in for magician training. She had a whole afternoon scheduled with a magician and she came back and she had all these tricks she was showing us, and because it was Rose, and she can be like this, she wouldn't show us how she did it. And that pissed me off even more, because she had this amazing trick she did on us, and I think she did it on Jimmy Kimmel and it bothered the hell out of us that she wouldn't tell us how she did any of it.
So we all wanted to go to magician training but yeah, it was super fun. She was great. So any of the tricks you see her do, she's really doing them.
Are we going to see any progress with the cure?
Oh, yeah. As far as I know, I guess Ravi's main storyline is to do with the cure. All the other stuff is just distractions and interruptions. But he's back to square one, conveniently, because we don't want to cure it, really, otherwise we can't go another season. But he's lost his cure, he doesn't have access to tainted Utopium; he scavenged all there was from the boat party. So he's trying to replicate it, he's trying to perfect it, but at the same time he's keeping a very close eye on Major and Blaine becuase he doesn't really know what's going to happen.
And it's great because to be honest for the viewers, Major and Blaine -- I don't know if they've stressed it enough yet -- are time bombs. And so's the rat, really. The rat's going to be the canary in the mine and anything that happens to the rat is going to be happening to those two.
That's very much his story and it also gave us a way of making sure that Blaine and Ravi butt heads as much as possible. They sort of become nemeses for a while.
Major has turned into a serial killer, and Ravi's living with him. Does he start to get any clues as to Major's crimes, and that he's using the drugs?
I think he knows!
...Oh! That serial killing. I thought you were talking about...at first he was a mass murderer, but now he's a serial killer, yes. So [Ravi] knows he's a mass murderer but he doesn't know he's a serial killer.
Honestly, and this is not me because people are watching if I say spoilers -- I don't know. [This episode] is Four, right? We've just shot Eight. So you guys, we're not that far ahead. But yeah, obviously they're in close proximity so Ravi is always privy to information on what's going on with Major -- but the dynamic this year seems to be that my character is messing more with Blaine, Liv, Clive, rather than Major. He's more with the Max Rager lot, so I don't get to see Buckley as much as he'd like. I'm alright with it.
How has it been to open up the world a little bit and interact with more characters than just Liv and Clive?
It hasn't been smashed open. What's happening now is that the world has opened up and we're getting to see more of what Seattle's about and how everything's entwined and they're creating a living world. Within that, yeah, I'm not necessarily always in the morgue. It's great for all of us because this is our second season, this is our Empire Strikes Back. We want to do things and we want to explore different flavors, and we're all fish out of water this season.