Robert Buckley ‘iZombie’ Interview: He’s Not Playing Just the Handsome Ex-Boyfriend

Robert Buckley 'iZombie' Interview Season 1
Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite and Rose McIver as Liv Moore in ‘iZombie’ (Photo: Carole Segal © 2015 The CW Network, LLC)

Robert Buckley was leery his character in iZombie would turn out to be a one-dimensional, clichéd ex-boyfriend sort of role when he first read the script. But after speaking with co-creator/executive producer Rob Thomas, any hesitation he had about tackling the role of Major Lilywhite in The CW series was put to rest.

“When the script first came through and I read it, I was very sort of cautious because it seemed to me that role could have very easily been just the guy who’s there to come on for one or two scenes an episode to be like, ‘I love you!’ And she’s like, ‘But we can’t,’ and then the audience goes, ‘Awww,’ and that’s it,” explained Buckley during our interview at the 2015 WonderCon in Anaheim, CA. “I got the chance to talk to Rob on the phone and I said, ‘I want to make sure that’s not what you have in mind for this role because if so that’s not what I’m looking to do.’ He was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no. This guy is going to have his own world independent of Liv.'”

“We were at the San Diego Comic Con walking between panels and he was like, ‘I want to pitch you an idea I’ve got for the finale,’ and absolutely…absolutely…he told me and it was so cool. From the point of view of the show, wanting people to enjoy the show and for the show to be good, as an actor, as my inner eight-year-old, all of it – it was such a cool concept that I was like, ‘If we do half of what he’s pitched, it’ll be awesome.’ And, we did all of what he pitched. The episode ending up being that we had to add an extra day because there was so much to it. In all the shows I’ve worked on, this is the best finale I’ve ever been a part of. Not lip-service, genuinely. It’s strong.”

“We did South by Southwest and Rob and his wife were kind enough to have us over to the house one night, and we watched episodes 12 and 13,” said Buckley. “I mean, they knocked it out of the park. They finish strong.”

Buckley also provided a little insight into Major’s arc in season one and what audiences can expect. “There has to be an organic move or transition for Major to go from…he has to change lanes from being the potential romance and ex-fiance to whatever you’re going to be having him do. You can’t just sort of have that happen on a dime. So, there’s not as much of him. But as we start to see in episode four, there’s some signs of his life changing. Ravi’s going to move in with him; he’s seeing a new girl. Once we start to find out about what he does and his job, that’s really where his story becomes his own. He doesn’t exist in relation to Liv (played by Rose McIver), he has his own stuff. Obviously I’m biased and selfish, but it was for me so exciting. The second half of the season is when it got good for me,” explained Buckley.

– More iZombie interviews: Rose McIver / Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright / Malcolm Goodwin / David Anders

Watch the full interview for more from Robert Buckley on shooting in Canada, the challenges of working on iZombie, and the source material:

-By Rebecca Murray

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