To play Blaine, the very blonde, very charming, very bad villain of iZombie, David Anders got some hair care tips from another bleached supernatural TV baddie. Blaine has already drawn comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Spike—so it’s fitting that the man who played Spike, James Marsters, counseled Anders on how to make peroxide bearable. (Marsters’ trick? Sweet’N Low.)
We’ll truly meet Blaine in the upcoming series’ second episode—but before Anders takes over our @EWTV account to live tweet the show’s East Coast premiere tonight, EW spoke to the actor about, yes, his hair, channeling James Spader, and a the potential for romance between between his character and iZombie‘s undead, crime-solving heroine, Liv.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What were your first impressions of Blaine, and how did you get the part?
The show came about during the long and arduous pilot season, and it was really a refreshing, cool script. What struck me about it was the humor. That’s something I’ve been looking to do for the whole of my career, and Hollywood has kept saying no—so I’m glad they finally said yes.
What drew you to Blaine specifically?
In the pilot script, Blaine is barely touched upon. Rob had to actually write an additional scene for the audition process. That actual scene happens in episode two. So Rob kept saying that I had to take a leap of faith, trusting that I’d be a bigger part of the show than what the pilot suggests. I believed him, and I’m glad I did. They described it in the character breakdown as, they wanted a James Spader from Pretty in Pink or Less Than Zero. That’s more the direction I wanted to go with, Less Than Zero. I hope I bring as much James Spader to this role as they wanted and was possible. Of course it’s another bad guy, which I seem to specialize in. But he’s a funnier bad guy. It’s a lighter bad guy than I’ve played in the past, and Rob Thomas instructed me to chew as much scenery as possible. When there’s walls left standing after a scene, he says, “What’s with those walls left standing? Chew that up, buddy.”
At first, you think maybe he’s not going to be so bad. They definitely fake you out.
It’s a little sleight of hand. You don’t know if he’s a wolf or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I think that’s what Blaine’s trying to do.
How do you walk that line between the appealing side of Blaine and the purely evil side of Blaine?
I don’t know. I’ve been lucky. Even back to Alias, I played a character that people loved to hate. But people didn’t know if they wanted to punch him or go have a punch with him, have a drink with him. I hope that’s something that I’m doing with Blaine. I find that the writers really find an amazing balance between the lighter side and then the real mustache twisting, darker side of Blaine. I guess as an actor, you have to play the character like he’s doing what he thinks is right, and if the protagonists of the story don’t think it’s right that doesn’t really matter.
What has it been like joining Rob Thomas’ stable of actors?
It’s been great. Rob is very loyal to his stable, and we’ve had at least four or five actors that he’s worked with in the past—we’ve got Ryan Hansen; we’ve got Percy Daggs—in the first season of iZombie. It’s been an absolute treat.
I have to ask you about your hair. Have you gone full peroxide? Was that something you knew going in? Was that something you were excited for or terrified of?
I had done that to myself, like, back in the day, when I was maybe 12 or 13—but that’s the last time I had taken any peroxide to my head. During shooting, we had to re-dye, re-touchup the roots every month. It wreaked a bit of havoc. We found some solutions. My manager is friends with James Marsters’ manager, who played Spike on Buffy. He had to do that for many years, and we asked James. James said, “Dude, put a little Sweet’N Low in the mixture. It really neutralized the burn.” That’s what we’ve been doing. Thank you, James.
I was going to mention Spike because I do feel like the shippers are going to be all over Blaine and Liv. Have you touched on that? Do you ever see it going in a romantic direction?
Yeah. In the second episode, you don’t know. It’s like, could it go that way? Maybe it could go that way? But by the end, there’s no way it’s going that way, and we become nemeses. I know if we’re given seasons after this first one—knock wood—there will be storylines where we’ll be working together, as opposed to against each other. As far as romantically, I really can’t speak to that—but it’d be cool. Rose and I have a blast working together. We’d like to walk down that aisle.
Once the show gets going, I feel like people are going to grab onto that.
What would it be called? Bliv?
How will Blaine and Liv’s storylines come together?
Everything that Blaine is doing in this world is criminal. So of course the police storyline and Blaine’s storyline are going to come across each other and intersect. I can tell you this: throughout the first season, all of our regulars, all of our main characters, come across each other.
You mentioned that James Spader was a potential inspiration for the character. Were there any others?
As the look came together, as Blaine came together, the clothes became a big part of it—the hair, and the makeup, and then the clothes, which are kind of like rocker chic. I felt like I started to move differently, and people kept saying that I looked like Johnny Rotten. I think there’s a bit of a rocker front man to Blaine. I’m a big music fan, so that’s what I tried to do. Hopefully people buy it.
What was shooting like?
It was an absolute delight shooting. We formed this wonderful TV family. I’ve been lucky to find myself in a bevy of wonderful TV families, and this is just another one. We as a cast absolutely adore each other, and we’re still on the honeymoon. So talk to me next season; we’ll see if that’s still holding true. Kidding!
When I try to describe the show to people, there are so many layers to the conceit. What’s your short pitch?
My short pitch for people: “iZombie is the best zom-com-rom-dram in the history of television.”