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The cast and crew of iZombie took the stage at WonderCon, trying to keep the momentum going of the new show (it’s only three episodes in) the CW hopes to become a cult hit a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Veronica Mars.
It does help to have Rob Thomas, the creator of Mars, as one of the exec producers of iZombie, which is based on the Vertigo comic created by Chis Roberson and Mike Allred.
Thomas said the network didn’t pitch him and frequent partner Diane Ruggiero as a zombie show, something which would have been understandable in the aftermath of the mega success of AMC’s The Walking Dead, but instead as something along the line of female empowerment.
“It was, ‘CW and its next kickass female lead on the network. Do the next Buffy or Veronica Mars,’ ” Thomas said. “It was the opportunity to do that.”
(Thomas did reveal that he did have a zombie project years ago, titled Death Valley, but scrapped it when he read on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, when it was still a daily, a headline that heralded Frank Darabont setting up Walking Dead at AMC.)
Thomas said the show presented him challenges he hadn’t faced before. “As a writer, most of what I’ve done is quippy people in rooms,” he explained. “We try to write fast and funny dialogue. But this is the first time in my career where I’m dealing with blood and violence and special effects.”
The panel, which was populated by star Rose McIver as well as Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley and David Anders, was light on its feet, with questions such as, “Do you believe in psychics?” and “What reality show would your character want to be on?” but did tackle topics such as how McIver prepared for her part of a zombie who works in a morgue (she uses the hour and 45 minutes she spends in make-up and hair to get into the character, and said she relies on the energy of her co-stars).
Thomas and Ruggiero did touch upon why they made the alterations from the comic in the translation to the small screen in a discussion about how important it was to stay faithful to the source material.
“The places where we deviated from the comic book, there was a logic for us,” he said. As an example, he said, “In the comic, the main character is a grave digger. But it wouldn’t have given us a case of the week.”
Also, they ditched the comic’s many other monsters, such as Werewolf-types, because as Thomas pointed, True Blood had a monster universe “already covered.” Still, the iZombie comic’s creators have given a thumbs-up to the show, and Allred even designed the title sequence.
Goodwin said that Oldboy, based on a manga series, took great liberties and is considered a great film. The Watchmen, he said, was frame-by-frame faithful, and many didn’t like it.
“This has the color and DNA of the comic, and that’s [the] best compliment to Chris and Mike,” Goodwin added.
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