Heed Exclusive: Malcolm Goodwin on New CW Show “iZombie” & More!
Building that steam to reach your dreams can be hard but once you’re in it to win it, there is definitely no turning back. For actor/director/writer Malcolm Goodwin, the naysayers turned out to be his steam powered engine to a busy film industry career that has taken him from the streets of Brooklyn to films like American Gangster and, more recently, Breakout Kings. So when the blessings came falling down on him again, jumping onboard with CW’s new show iZombie was an easy transition for him.
It’s always inspiring to meet someone grateful for the things they’ve been able to achieve. As I spoke with Malcolm about his early impressions about the upcoming horror/action/comedy/drama, it was clear that he felt fortunate to be a part of the project. He’s fully invested in the show’s premise and dove head first in the comic the show is based upon. Looking up and down his long list of show and movie credits, it was interesting to see that this project was probably the first in the whole horror/comic genre. Admitting that he wasn’t a horror fan, he is familiar enough with the modern commercial zombie films such as 28 Days Later and World War Z. The real question was how the content of iZombie pulled him in to take a chance. Read on to find out!
BJ Brown: I saw that [iZombie] was at the San Diego Comic Con earlier this year. Was [SDCC] your first Comic Con?
Malcolm Goodwin: Yeah man, that was my first comic con ever. Obviously I’d heard about it throughout the years and, being an actor, I always thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to go out there with a show or a movie?’ That was something that was on my bucket list and man, it happened and it did not disappoint! It was definitely better than anything I ever imagined!
BJ: Was it overwhelming?
MG: It was overwhelming in terms of all the interviews. I’ve done interviews in the past but I’m trying to be more open. My friends know me as either being the loudest one in the room or I could be the quietest one. Most likely the quietest one. It really depends on the energy that’s around. The cast of people, the producers, the creators of the show…are like an extended family. But when you’re really happy and excited to talk about something…like Breakout Kings the interview circuit with that was great because I loved the show. I loved everything about it, and it’s the same thing with [iZombie]. I love everything about this show and I feel so fortunate so blessed to be a part of it. It’s definitely a dream come true.
I’m like, let me be transparent about living my dream. I’m a snotty nosed kid from Brooklyn, NY and I’m not even supposed to be here! If you told me this [would be happening] when I was in Brooklyn I’d be like, ‘NAH’, but I am here. Being an actor, being in entertainment and all that as a profession wasn’t even on my radar. I was like let me do some acting here and there just for fun for 5 or 6 years before looking myself in the mirror and saying “I dare you”… [daring myself to chase my own dreams].
You ever have those moments when you do your best when challenged or something goes wrong? I was one of those [kinds of people] that did something great to prove somebody wrong. It always came out of that. I was like let me take that feeling [of revenge] and bottle that up and actually make it come out of love…out of a positive place. So when I challenged myself it came from a place of love. It didn’t come from a place of anger. Let me give it 100% and if it doesn’t work then so be it. I don’t have to look back and say, ‘Oh man, I wish I would have…’ you know, a lot of woulda’s, coulda’s, and shoulda’s in regards , to my dreams.”
BJ: How did you come across this role?
MG: It came through an audition. It’s pilot season and everyone’s trying to get a TV show. It was my 4 or 5th audition of pilot season and you get the breakdown and the description was hilarious. [Clive Babinaux] is a cross between Shaft, Cleavon Little from Blazing Saddles, and Jordan Peele [Comedy Central’s Key and Peele]. So I read the script and I was blown away…I had to research it too. I had to Google it…I read all the comic books to get prepared for it…and like I said, it worked out!
BJ: How is iZombie going to separate itself from other zombie/comic shows like the Walking Dead and The Strain?
MG: Our show has a great fusion of comedy, action…there’s drama and it’s something I’ve never really seen on TV, honestly. Obviously there’s the whole zombie element of it, gore factor here and there, but it’s also just the dynamic between all the characters. It’s about a girl who’s a zombie eating brains and adding the memories of those people. What they do with that concept, I think, is going to blow people away! Every script I get I go, “What?! I had know idea it could go here!”. I think that’s going to be the constant draw of it.
BJ: Is there something you ‘geek out’ over?
MG: Technology. I’m a computer nerd and I’m a software nerd. I think people are surprised when they see how much of the tech side of filmmaking I’m knowledgeable about…I really really nerd out especially when it comes to software pertaining to the filmmaking business.
BJ: Are you working on other projects as well as iZombie now?
MG: I just sold two films. I’ve got a film I directed called “Pass The Light”. It’s a family film that comes out February 6th in 100 theatres throughout the country. We got a deal with DigiNext who signed a partnership with Carmike Theatres which is the 4th largest theatre chain in the country. I’ve been touring around the country for feedback and responses and it’s been incredible. The reaction has been absolutely incredible.
My boys in Brooklyn go, ‘Yo, is that about smokin’ blunts?’ I’m like, ‘No’, it’s about passing the positivity. It’s about people being good to one another and encouraging one another. Specifically young people getting behind each other. It has an anti-bullying theme to it too. So, it was great to work with those young actors and just do a film that’s positive. I’ve been a part of some pretty crazy films but it’s been really rewarding to be a part of a film that’s so positive and get these huge standing ovations all across the country. So we’re excited to finally get to share it on a nationwide level.
BJ: Has any of your experiences sparked that writing bug to write your own movie or show?
MG: Yeah it has. Between my business partner who is also my writing partner, we have tons of scripts ready to go. I’m in talks with agencies right now, particularly my agency that I’m with, in terms of representing these projects… I stay writing. Between takes I write down an idea. I always say my motto is, ‘Why not?’ So if I have the idea, why not try to make it happen. I’ve got stuff that I wrote in high school.
BJ: Do you ever find yourself going back and rehashing any of those scripts?
MG: Yeah. It’s interesting because you get better. You mature. There’s a couple of scripts while I was writing it I hadn’t lived enough life to tell this story for this particular character. I’m honest with myself in that way. I haven’t met anybody to where I can draw from their experience and apply it to that particular character. So that’s the patience. There’s been those moments, it happened the other day, where the answer just came to me on a script that I’d been writing for 10 or 12 years and I was able to figure it out. That’s what I need. That’s what’s missing.
There also some scripts I think are great just in tact because of where I was at in that particular place in my life. Being a young teenager it’s great to see that this [story] is told from a teenager’s perspective and that’s exactly where it needs to be told. In terms of the words that’s how we talked in high school! This is how we spoke so let me just leave it in tact.
BJ: Nostalgia is a powerful thing. It’s hard to capture that after the fact.
MG: Also the beauty about nostalgia especially when you have something documented it brings back those feelings you had. It also reminds you how far you’ve come or haven’t come. There’s something rewarding on both sides of that in terms of if you’ve come further, that’s great. You can acknowledge that and if you feel like you haven’t, at least having that thought you would change and go further. Yeah, nostalgia. You can learn a lot from it.
iZombie is set to debut from fresh form the pages of the comic to the TV screens of your homes in early 2015 on CW. Based on DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint comic of the same name, the show centers on ‘Olivia “Liv” Moore. Liv is an ex-medical student-turned-zombie working at a coroner’s office, “surviving” off of the brains of the deceased John and Jane Does, causing a panic within the city as dead bodies are mysteriously showing up with missing brains. Enter Detective Clive Babineaux (played by Malcolm), who is assigned to the case and, unwittingly, ends up seeking Liv’s help or several of the deceased unsolved murders. Liv, posing as a psychic as she can’t share her secret that she now shares the memories of the deceased once she has consumed their brains.
In addition to the show, Malcolm can next be seen in a strong supporting role opposite Liam Neeson in Warner Bros, Run All Night, a film about an aging hit man who is forced to take on his brutal former boss to protect his estranged son and his family. In the film, Malcolm plays ‘Colston.’ The film, set to be released nationwide on April 15, 2015, is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and written by Brad Ingelsby.
Pass The Light is his faith-inspired film that stars Cameron Palatas as a 17-year-old high school student who runs for Congress to counteract a congressional candidate’s use of religion to spread hatred and intolerance. It can been seen 1st quarter 2015 in Carmike Theatres across the country.