On CBS’s hit-comedy Ghosts, Rose McIver plays Samantha. She and her husband Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) inherited a bed and breakfast that just happens to be inhabited by the ghosts of people who died on the property over the centuries. After a slip and fall, Sam awakens with the ability to see and interact with the left behind spirits. Not only does Sam possess the ability to see ghosts, she also sees and helps with the problems that haunt them. The scenario leads to plenty of hilarious moments, as well as a lot of opportunities to show its heart.
McIver is no stranger to the recently deceased. Before her work on CBS’s Ghosts she was the lead character in CW’s zombie-comedy, iZombie. Is the similar subject matter just a coincidence? “I feel like it’s got to be vampires next, right? Where to from here? I definitely can’t seem to get away from the afterlife, which is interesting. Well, the sort of purgatory that in-between seems to be where I’m sitting. I don’t know what that says about me,” said McIver. But, I do enjoy the heightened and stylized combined with the very grounded – that’s sort of my magic zone I like to work. I think it lends itself to being very funny. But (as you say) having heart and kind of asking the questions, it sort of scratches the macabre itch. I have as well.”
In comedy, there’s nothing like a strong ensemble. That fact is something McIver truly believes and credits for much of Ghosts success. “I look around the cast. And I feel like I have a front row ticket to this brilliant show every day at work. I mean, there is no weak link. There’s nobody who can’t carry the emotional content, or deliver on the rhythms, and just make us outright laugh on set,” explained McIver. “So it feels like and I’ve heard the Joes say (showrunners Joe Port and Joe Wiseman,) for them, it’s a relief to be able to delegate to any kind of member of the cast, and know that they can trust that it’s going to land. So I feel like we’re very, very lucky in that. I think the chemistry between this ensemble is a major part of what works. And I think it’s getting better and better.”
The series has found a special place in viewers’ hearts for many reasons. As discussed with Brandon Scott Jones, the storyline about his closeted gay Revolutionary War officer has really connected with a lot of people, including the actor.
But the series’ humor also has a healing aspect, as McIver revealed, “Some of the most moving comments that I’ve read on Twitter. Essentially we’re a sitcom that was supposed to just make people laugh. There’ll be people who’ve reached out to us saying, they have a family member who’s terminally ill, and to be able to kind of have a conversation in their family home about letting go and about sort of where you could be afterwards – it’s just sort of a little bit soothing or comforting to people to be able to have a sense of humor and make a topic that’s so hard to talk about. maybe a little bit more palatable, especially in this last couple of years, where it’s been a very heavy time.”
“I think that with Sam the more I understand her the more I love her. She is a bit of a misfit. She didn’t quite connect to her peers at school and had a bit of a troubled family life,” said McIver. “For Sam, this is an opportunity to kind of get the family she never had. She can be, at times, somewhat domineering, but I think she always has good intentions.” She continued, “I really enjoy wrestling the more I’m kind of discovering her people pleasing qualities and her desire to be liked when we see her with Jay’s sister. She’s just so desperate to be a cool girl and I understand that. I really get it. So I’m really enjoying fleshing out more and more as we go.”
Watch the full interview (above) where we cover much more including the chances of a musical episode, shooting in Montreal, her favorite storylines, working on Xena and much more.
Ghosts airs on CBS and is streaming in its entirety on Paramount+.