EXCLUSIVE: ‘iZombie’s’ Malcolm Goodwin Talks Candidly

by Eric Joseph
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Yours truly with Malcolm Goodwin.

Yours truly with Malcolm Goodwin.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I absolutely love iZombie, a show that I believe had one of the strongest seasons over the past year of any based on a DC Comics property. In fact, the very gentleman featured in this interview seemed to be quite amused when I told him that I refuse to leave for the nightclub I frequent on Tuesday nights until after iZombie has concluded.

This past weekend, I had the honor and privilege of chatting with one Malcolm Goodwin at Motor City Comic Con. Many of you no doubt know him as the show’s male lead, Detective Clive Babineaux, a character I’ve always admired due to his strong moral center and commitment to justice.

Below you will find some insight into how Malcolm landed the role of Clive, what he wants to see in Season 3, and much more.

DCN: Would you like to talk about how the role of Clive Babineaux came up and how it is to essentially be the lead male on the show?

Malcolm Goodwin: I came up during pilot season. Pilot season is a big [time of the] year for actors who go out and try to become a series regular on a TV show. And I get the breakdown of iZombie, about this crime solving zombie. It sounded weird at first until I read the script and the comic books; I was completely sold and on board.

I went into what pretty much took three auditions. The last one you do a studio test, a network test, and it’s a long day. It starts about 9:00 in the morning and at 9:00 at night I found out that I was, in fact, Clive Babineaux.

DCN: No lost nights of sleep then?

MG: Yeah, and that’s rare. Usually you have to wait a few days to find out, but they knew that night. So literally, I left the audition as I’m driving and I had a test for another TV show the next day. So I had cut all my hair off for that particular character and then while I’m in the barber chair, I get the call that I’m playing Clive. And so I’m like, “Holy smokes, I cut my hair! When does this film?” They were like “in two months.” I said, “I’ll grow it back. I’ll be fine.”

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DCN: iZombie has that cop procedural quality of which there are so many on TV, but it has this fantastical element that fits perfectly with the way the show is. It never feels forced. Do you feel more freedom with the fantastical elements than if you were to be cast on a normal procedural?

MG: You know, I do because, first, it’s a testament to the writing that Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero-Wright, and the rest of the writing staff do with all the characters. But Clive doesn’t know he’s on a zombie show. You know, Clive is solving crimes. In his head, he’s on a procedural show and trying to make a name for himself, trying to bring these murder victims’ killers to justice. He doesn’t know all this other stuff is going on.

I always say Clive represents a real person in the real world. He watches The Walking Dead. He watches Game of Thrones. And he knows zombies to be not undead but very dead. But there is freedom in there in playing. Obviously, me being the actor, I know this is a zombie [show]. It gives me room to play with the reactions more so because it does have that fantastical element.

DCN: Comic book shows often have that last guy or girl who gets in on the secret. Clive is kind of the last guy. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak, what do you think the dynamic between he and Liv will be like in Season 3?

MG: You know, I think it’s gonna be interesting. It’s definitely gonna change because Clive gave up a lot once he learned her secret in terms of his relationship with Dale Bozzio, his career. He was doing well, had a chance to become an FBI agent. He had a bad reputation at the police force – it’s going to be even worse.

I think he didn’t have an opportunity to really process what happened. Literally, he gets pulled into the zombie apocalypse. So there’s A LOT to process.

DCN: Zombie New World Order!

MG: Now there’s a zombie New World Order. His favorite singer was killed, Rob Thomas.

DCN: I liked the line “This is how a skull breaks.”

MG: That was a great line. And the guy’s jamming at the end while on Rob Thomas brain. He’s a great guy. He was so game. But I think it’s gonna be interesting to see how Clive processes everything. He hasn’t had the chance. We haven’t seen him process anything. How does that affect the relationship? I don’t know. That’s an element that’s gonna make Season 3 a must watch.

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DCN: I think my favorite brain Liv ate so far was the stalker one because that made for a hilarious episode. What kind of brain do you want to see Liv eat in Season 3?

MG: MacGyver brain. You ever watch the TV show MacGyver?

DCN: Yeah, I think they’re bringing it back as a reboot.

MG: You know what? That’s why it’s in my head. They are bringing it back as a reboot. That was one of my favorite shows growing up when I was a kid. We used to watch that as a family. It would be cool to see her take a stick of bubblegum, a water bottle cap…

DCN: Maybe she’ll get the mullet too.

MG: (Laughs) Yeah! And then get a Ding Dong and create a bomb out of it or something like that. I would like to see her be creative to get out of a hairy situation, just MacGyver a situation would be kind of funny.


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