In Season 2 of The CW series iZombie, Liv’s (Rose McIver) secret is now out and she will have to face new and even more powerful enemies, as relationships and friendships are challenged, and the line between good and evil becomes blurry. And with the zombies of Seattle mysteriously disappearing, Liv and Blaine (David Anders) reluctantly find themselves on the same side.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, executive producer/writer Diane Ruggiero-Wright talked about what makes Liv such a relatable character, what her journey is in Season 2, dealing with the fact that so many more people know her secret now, Clive Babineaux’s (Malcolm Goodwin) suspicions, whether Blaine can find redemption, having some fun brains to eat this season, whether Liv and Major (Robert Buckley) can ever get back on the same page, and the procedural versus the mythology.
Collider: What do you think it is about Liv that makes her a relatable character for an audience?
DIANE RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: I feel like everybody has a mid-life crisis. Something happens to you when you’re in your early to mid 20s and you realize that you thought life was going to be this one thing, and now it’s not that thing anymore. Every time she gets a handle on something, she eats a different brain and she changes again. She just keeps having to roll with it and modify, and that’s a lot like how people feel in their regular life. They just fix something, and then something else happens. I think that’s very relatable to people under 30 who are still trying to figure everything out. Liv, as a character, is extremely compelling, and the fact that she’s doing good, but that she’s also struggling and doesn’t always make the right decisions is interesting. Also, Rose [McIver], as an actress, is compelling. There’s just something about her. The instant we met her, we knew there was something about her that is magnetic and likeable. You just like her and want her to be in your life. You root for her, but not in a wanting to protect a kitten way. You root for her in a, “Yes, sister, do it!,” way.
What is Liv’s journey in Season 2, compared to Season 1?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: In Season 1, it was about keeping her secret and adjusting to this new life. In Season 2, people know the secret and she has to deal with the fall-out and find her life again. There are other challenges in the second season that make her have to be proactive than reactionary, which takes her to a different territory. She’s got a lot going on. Everything that you saw happen at the end of Season 1, you’ll see the fall-out for, at the beginning of Season 2.
How is Liv dealing with the fact that so many more people know her secret now?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: In the first season, Liv was like, “I don’t want to tell people because I don’t know how they’ll react. I want to protect them from it.” In her mind, the worst case scenario of what she thought is what happened. She was afraid that, if she told them, they wouldn’t accept her, and in Major’s case and Peyton’s case, that’s what happened. She told them, and her biggest fear that they wouldn’t accept her came to fruition. And then, her second biggest fear was that her loved ones would be hurt as a result of her zombie-ism, and her brother got hurt, Major got hurt and Major’s kids got killed. All her fears happened, and now she has to deal with it. It’s not her fault. This thing happened to her, and now she has to deal with the fall-out. But, she won’t be completely unsupported. She always has Ravi, which is great. And she has Clive. Not that he knows what’s happening, but she has him as a person in her life that’s a constant.
Will Clive Babineaux continue to be suspicious about what’s going on around him?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: He’ll continue to be suspicious, but he’s not going to go to the zombie place because how would you go there? I feel like, if there was one in front of him, he would believe it, but otherwise, you’re not going to do that math. We definitely spend a lot of time talking about if and when Clive will know. That’s something that we discuss a lot, but that I can’t really discuss with you. Clive reacting to Liv like, “What the hell are you doing?,” is so much of the fun of this show that, once he’s just like, “Can you eat the guy’s brain and tell me what happened?,” a lot of the charm is lost. But, we also want to preserve him as not being a total idiot. Eventually, it might be compelling to tell him. It’s just a matter of how long we can put that off and still be responsible storytellers.
How is being a human now affecting the success of Blaine’s criminal enterprises?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: Blaine is an ambitious bad guy. When he became a zombie, he found his niche. Now that he’s had some success, he will continue in new and interesting ways. He’s adaptable. I think he’s pretty damn happy about [being a human again] because he can eat and he can experience all of the things that he couldn’t experience before. Being a zombie is a drag. Not only do you have to eat brains, but you have to have all of those thoughts from all of those personalities. That’s such a pain in the ass. So, I think he’s relieved, especially if he can parlay the money he made into a bigger scheme. I think he’s going to be feeling pretty good about it.
Can Blaine find redemption?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: Look at Jaime Lannister. Tell me you’re not rooting for Jaime Lannister. He pushed a kid out of a window, and then the second he saved Brienne from getting raped, you’re like, “I love him!” I think anyone can be redeemed, if you do it the right way. On True Blood, you had these characters who just killed and ate and did everything horrible, and you’re still like, “I hope she’s with Eric.” I think if the audience has a compelling enough character and it’s written in the right way, they can be redeemed. I’m just such a huge David Anders fan that I would want to see him do anything.
Will we get to know more zombies in Season 2?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: We will definitely get to know more zombies of all different stripes this season. There will be more zombies.
How will Liv and Blaine feel about having to work with each other?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: I feel like any unlikely friendship or strange bedfellows is always really interesting. I don’t think either one of them really wants to hang out with the other, but the two actors together are great. They have a great chemistry and they have a great banter. Even if you don’t get along with someone and you fight with them, if you fight with them well, there is a strange comfort in that. Their animosity is fun.
How much worse is what they have to deal with this season, if they actually have to team up together against it?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: Oh, it’s worse. It’s pretty bad. If they have to team up, it’s bad. Otherwise, Liv would not do it.
Will Liv be having some fun times with the brains she has to eat this season?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: We’re definitely having more fun with the brains, and we’re trying to compliment the B and C stories with what the brain is. There’s an episode that I wrote where she’s on a frat boy brain. She’s having not pleasant things happen in her romantic life, but in her A story life, she’s on zombie bro brain and it’s a good time. We have a lot of fun brains this season. I think we’ve really found our stride with what works. Having them be clearly defined is really helpful. Last season, she did really well with the gamer brain, the cheerleader brain, and the stoner brain. Those all played really well. So, she has a lot of interesting brains this season. She has a grumpy old man brain, a frat brother brain, and a Real Housewives of Seattle brain. There’s a lot of fun to be had there. With every episode, she has some different thing to learn. She had to learn how to play flip cup and beer pong, and in another episode, she’s playing guitar. We’re building the perfect woman. With every episode, she’s learning something new.
Liv’s romantic life didn’t turn out too well last season. Will she try again this season?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: Yes. You can’t have such an attractive, compelling person out there and not have some of that, dead or not. There’s going to be romance in the future for her.
Can Liv and Major find a common ground, at this point?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: It’s definitely a journey. It’s not going to be instantaneous, but it’s going to be honest. I feel like I vacillate. One day, I’m like, “I completely understand Major’s side of things.” And then, the next day I’m like, “Would you forgive her already? She was in dire straights. What is your problem?” You’re going to make some bad decisions when something that crazy happens to you.
Do you enjoy finding a balance with the procedural element and the mythology of the story?
RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: Having the procedural [element] is really helpful because it gives you this foundation, and it gives you a ticking clock and a drive for the story, where these other pieces can fit. If we were just doing a soap opera, I wouldn’t know how to structure that. I wouldn’t know where to go, and I would fear repeating myself. Even though we started off with the procedural being 70% and the mythology being 30%, and now it’s more 60/40, I still think it’s helpful to have. And it’s helpful for the audience, too. It’s an easy access point.
iZombie airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.