This season oniZombie, every character has found themselves in deep trouble - that is, everyone except Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli). The charming forensic pathologist just sits back and cracks jokes as his friends and colleagues sleep with murderous brain dealers or work as hit men for an energy drink company.
TVGuide.com spoke with Kohli about whether we'll ever learn the innocent doctor's backstory, and how he hopes to parlay iZombie into a role in Star Wars.
Ravi is getting some screentime with Peyton (Aly Michalka) this week. What brings the two of them together?
Rahul Kohli: She's obviously going through a lot and her actions with Blaine (David Anders) have more of a negative effect on her work, rather than her relationship life. So it's more about her moving forward with her case and how that conflict of interest affects her. Ravi supports her as she spirals into a bit of a hole. It's not really to do with anything other than just being there for a friend. There are not really any romantic connotations involved in it.
Is the romance between them done, or is Ravi still carrying some feelings for Peyton?
Kohli: I think it's done, but I've been told to keep playing it. We've been playing it as exes who still care about each other. We're not too sure what Rob [Thomas] and Diane [Ruggiero] have in store for Ravi and Peyton, but for now they're good friends.
Even if Ravi doesn't have romantic feelings towards her, how will he react when he discovers Peyton hooked up with Blaine?
Kohli: I think he has feelings for her. I don't think they're mutual. But Blaine has become his sworn enemy a little bit. I've thought about it. I don't even know if he will find out, but I imagine he'll get pretty British on him. I mean, what do we do? We kind of head butt. It's sort of what we're known for. So I'm guessing a head butt or something.
I really loved when Ravi and Blaine had that brawl in the morgue. Are there any fun scenes between the two of you coming up this season?
Kohli: I'm not sure if they're going to be as physically demanding, but I just read a couple of scripts that are coming up and yeah, me and David have some really good stuff together. But in terms of scrapping, I don't think there is. But I haven't read the finale yet, so there's always time.
The Season 1 finale featured that epic Meat Cute showdown. How are you going to top that?
Kohli: I'm not sure. Critically and amongst the family, the finale was one of the biggest highlights of Season 1. I don't know if we follow that trend, if we always want to leave with a big sequence, because compared to the other comic book shows, we're not really an action-based show like Daredevil or something like that. Maybe we're the kind of show that always saves it for the finale. So hopefully, yeah, we're able to top the Meat Cute.
Last week, Peyton and Liv (Rose McIver) both hooked up with bad guys, and Major (Robert Buckley) was hooking up with one of the villains earlier this season. So is Ravi going to get a bad girl love interest?
Kohli: Probably not. Ravi's kind of the moral compass. In a weird way he represents the audience. He's the human character who everyone tells their dirty secrets to and stuff. I don't know if they want to corrupt him too much. I think everyone seems to like him being holier than thou. I'd love to play something a little bit shady, a little bit dark. I would pitch for it. But I think Ravi's going to stay clean.
Everyone seems to be getting into all this trouble except Ravi, who's just always out there alone in that field.
Kohli: Just in the field, digging for bones. The thing is with Ravi, he's sort of a divisive character because he's new to the serial parts and the procedural parts. He kind of tiptoes between the two. He lives with Major, he used to date Peyton, he's good friends with Liv, but he also works in the police department and he crosses paths with Blaine. So he kind of walks through the episodes allowing other characters to fill in what they're doing and stuff like that. I was told, based on what they want to do with the rest of the show, that if we go into our third season we want to delve into a little bit of Ravi's stuff. So they may break that formula slightly. At the moment that's just a conversation, but there may be more Ravi come next year.
Have you made up your own story about Ravi's past and what his life is like outside of Liv?
Kohli: Yeah, I did it for the pilot actually. I wrote a huge book for myself when I was making the character about everything: where he came from, who is family is, stuff like that. Obviously, none of that is canon. That was purely just for me to fill in the blanks. But I kind of like characters that you don't know much about and you just have them as they are. It works for villains especially, I think. For someone like the Joker or Darth Vader, they were at their strongest when you don't know their origin story. You, as the audience, get to piece together what this person's life is like outside from what you see in the narrative. Because sometimes if you explain too much about a character and how they got to be the way they are or whatever, it can weaken them slightly.
Is this all your way of saying The Phantom Menace shouldn't have happened?
Kohli: He shouldn't have been pod racing. I didn't need to see Darth Vader pod racing and making little trinkets out of japor snippets or whatever the hell it was. I love playing [Ravi]. I love exactly where he is and exactly what he does on the show. I know he gets a lot of fan support and people do want more, but I'm tentative about that because it's sort of like, if it ain't broke, don't' fix it... I'm not the gambling type. I'm kind of happy to keep playing it like this. The one thing I probably do hope for Ravi at some point is peril. I'd like to see him in more peril. I think people worry about Ravi. He's not the toughest guy on the show so the stakes would be higher if he was in trouble.
He is a smart guy though, so is he beginning to get suspicious of Major?
Kohli: I think he is. Going by Major's track history, already we know about the Meat Cute and I think Ravi knows about the Utopium binge that was happening underneath his own nose, now the dog coming and going and him being really flippant about it. I think Ravi has his suspicions. I don't think he would be able to piece together what the real deal is, but I think Major was unwise to fib to Ravi. He's not the kind of guy you want on your case.
Are we going to see Ravi make any progress in finding the cure anytime soon, or is he going to be stuck in that field for a while longer?
Kohli: We are. The cure's an ongoing thing and searching for the perfected version of it is kind of the Holy Grail of the show. It's what he's been looking for since the pilot, really. He's been trying to cure it since day one, the minute he knew that Liv was infected. Obviously, the cure can't be too perfect, because we'd have no show. But I've read what's happening in that department and the way the writers have managed to keep that situation ongoing, and at the same time pay off the audience without making them feel like it's a wild goose chase. They've managed to navigate it really well. That's actually coming up really soon. You'll see some really cool strides with that.
Two years ago, you were just a struggling actor and now you're a Tumblr tag. What has this experience been like for you?
Kohli: Tumblr's a weird thing, right? I get some people searching stuff and sending me stuff they've found on Tumblr. Tumblr's a really interesting place. I need to spend more time on there. Yeah, it's cool. I'm very lucky and I count my blessings. I'm not sure what I've done to deserve being in the position I'm in. I'm super, super lucky and grateful. But at the same time, self-belief is what kept me going for 10 years. Not making any money, but still believing that I have something to offer and can do this job... So it's kind of like a conflicting thing. There's part of me that's very Kanye, which is like, "Yeah, this is me! This is what I was going to do! I'm the best." And the other part's super grateful and like, "I cant believe that worked. Who do I owe?" You know what I mean? So I go to this kind of Harvey Two-Face mode.
Now you just need to get cast in one of the new Star Wars movies and your life will be complete.
Kohli: We are working on that. Yeah, that's the whole reason this entire thing started, back when I was 11 when I saw Star Wars. I need the circle to be complete, really. There's two things: get on Star Wars and be in a video game. Those are the two.
Well, David Anders worked with J.J. Abrams on Alias, so have you asked him to hook you up yet?
Kohli: Yeah, it doesn't work. Obviously, he's very cool with J.J. And J.J. is his Rob Thomas. David was very young and a lot of people at the network didn't feel that David was right for the character in Alias, but J.J. fought for him and gave him his break. Not that anyone thought I was wrong for Chakrabarti, but the character was a little bit older and they were looking for experienced actors and stuff. But Rob and Diane both fought for me and gave me my first break. So that's David's relationship with J.J. And yeah, if I was working with an actor who really wanted to work with Rob Thomas, I would hook them up. David's cool and he's always said that if he does ever has an opportunity to mention me, he would.
Watch Rahul Kohli and Robert Buckley give a tour of the iZombie set below.
iZombie airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)