iZombie Season 3: actor Rahul Kohli talks Ravi’s headspace and more

Find out where we find Ravi at the start of iZombie Season 3

Ever since Netflix UK dumped the whole of iZombie Seasons 1 and 2 on the streaming site over Easter weekend last year, we’ve been kind of obsessed with it. For some absolutely unknown reason it took a while for the brilliant show to score itself a UK broadcaster, but this year we’re set to get every episode of Season 3 just a day after they air in the US.

To celebrate the show’s triumphant return we spoke to British actor Rahul Kohli, who plays fan favourite/medical examiner Dr Ravi Chakrabarti, about Ravi’s headspace, keeping his accent and what fans can expect from Season 3…

SciFiNow: Where do we find Ravi at the start of iZombie Season 3?

Rahul Kohli: We find him basically where he was left in Season 2. Our Season 3 premiere, the timeframe between the two seasons is about 60 minutes maybe, maybe even less. It’s a direct continuation, so where we left off was him finding out Blaine and Peyton had some sort of romantic liaison. He was also tricked by Blaine to stay in the car while Blaine saved the day, so he’s kind of in a mess up headspace, and not sure what the situation is. I guess that’s where we pick up with him, and with the aftermath of seeing them together and realising that they have history.

What’s it like playing what is probably the show’s fan favourite character? 

I don’t think know if there’s evidence of that! But it’s always awesome. The thing is, he’s one of those characters where, and they have them in most TV shows and films, there’s always someone who is almost written to stand out and be slightly different. It’s kind of a credit to the show, really. By different I mean he’s unfiltered, he’s the voice of the audience, and he was the only human that was in on the secret. At the beginning of the first season he was the one that the audience identified with and he held people’s hands through that. In terms of the fans, it’s great. Everyone has their favourites. My favourite isn’t Ravi, mine is Babineaux, and I identify with him the most. But it’s awesome! It’s great to know that people are responding to these characters.

One of the things we love about Ravi is that he actually seems British. American TV shows with British characters often tend to overdo it a bit… 

Yeah, they’ve done a really good job with that. I get to bring some stuff to it, so when I get my script and I see a word that I know he wouldn’t say, I’ll come back to it and say, ‘actually, can we switch it out for this?’ and if that still makes sense to the American audience then we’re able to switch that up. The writers do actually enjoy getting to write for a Brit, and they have their own knowledge.

It’s not all talking about tea and football, which is awesome! 

There was actually one line early on when Ravi did talk about the football stuff, and then we all went back and forth with some emails, punched it and got it all accurate and happy, so we get these little flourishes. But I think it was the accent that was a big deal for me. Not to knock anyone else, but I’ve noticed that there’s a tendency for British actors to come over to America and then all of a sudden sound like they lived in Buckingham Palace all their life, and that’s just not true. I noticed as well that with comedies and the most successful Brits abroad like James Corden, Ricky Gervais and Simon Pegg, they’ve retained a more real accent. When we did the show, at first it was a tough one because I found that I was having to go back and rerecord my lines because people weren’t really getting the accent and I was being maybe a bit too relaxed with it. But in the end we found a nice hybrid so that the American audience could understand what I was saying but it was still authentic London.

Ravi helps Liv (Rose McIver) solve murders and conceal her zombie identity

How have you found the fan reaction to the show?

We have a very loyal fan base. It’s not the biggest out there, we’re definitely one of the smaller shows in terms of fan base, but what they lack in size they make up for in loyalty. We get a lot of great cosplay. That was one of my favourite things, standing opposite my cosplay and a Liv cosplay. It’s so surreal when that happens. We get awesome photoshops. I’ve been pretty proactive with interacting with fans. But at the same time I think there’s also a shared frustration. I think that we on the creative side and the fan base are all sort of connected; we feel that the show is slightly overlooked, in a lot of ways. And I think that’s also brought us closer together. We feel like a little army, we’re the small show that could. We share that loyalty and that bond with our fans.

We find that people have either never watched iZombie, or they’ve watch it and they’re obsessed with it. There’s no in between. 

That’s kind of how I feel. I have a few relatives who didn’t want to deal with it, and I think it’s a generation thing, because of the brain eating, and I understand that. But in the general sense, I think most people that watch iZombie, most stuck around. There’s something there for someone to take away, because it’s a show with so many different elements. There’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s romance, there’s action, so there’s something in there that you’re going to like. The frustration we feel is, how do we make this bigger? How do we get this out to a bigger audience? How do we get more people watching it? Still, three years down the line, we haven’t really figured it out. I have a sneaky suspicion that we’re going to be one of those shows where it finishes when it finishes and we go about our lives and move onto different projects, and then there’s this resurgence. People will go, ‘oh, did you know there was this show on TV a few years ago?’ and then they demand that we come back and make another season or make a film. That’s how I feel it’s going to go down.

Could you give us a final teaser for what to expect in Season 3?

Season Three is slightly different to previous seasons. We don’t have an out-and-out Big Bad. We don’t do the same trick with one focal point, one villain. This one is more of a slow burner. It’s one where you’re not too sure who’s friend and who’s foe. It asks more questions and it’s not simply us versus them anymore, humans versus zombies. There’s a lot more factions within that who have different ideals and different morals and ethics, and how they want to go forward and coexist, or not coexist, and how that shapes Seattle. That’s sort of what we’re dealing with a little more this year.

iZombie Season 3 is available to stream on Netflix UK from 5 April, with a new episode landing weekly. Get a behind the scenes look at the series in the new issue of SciFiNow.