Interview With Little Mosque’s Aliza Vellani on New Role on iZombie
Aliza Vellani no stranger in the Canadian entertainment industry, particularly as a result of her work on Little Mosque on the Prairie.Aliza has achieved continued success in the industry, most recently in her role on the new upcoming CW show, iZombie, which deals with a girl who becomes a zombie and uses her gifts to help the police solve crimes.
Read through the interview below for a more in depth overview on Aliza’s work on the show and her insights on her career in general.
Abbas Karimjee;.Since Little Mosque on the Prairie concluded it’s run, your career has led you to portray a variety of different roles. How has working on that show influenced the other opportunities that you have pursued?
Aliza Vellani: Actually Abbas, in the last two years, roles I have played have been doctors or medical professionals. So while it is quite different from my role as Layla, all of them have been in a similar profession. As to how Little Mosque has influenced other opportunities, the show gave me amazing experience in comedy that ended up helping me prepare for the role of Marcy in iZombie.
AK:We have discovered the synopsis of I Zombie, but in your own words what is the show about and in what way do you think it will captivate the attention of audiences?
AV: iZombie tells the story of a medical resident, Liv, who unexpectedly becomes a zombie after attending a party that takes a turn for the worst. As a way to adapt to her situation, she ends up working in a morgue to quench her desire for brains. After realizing a side affect of eating the deceased person’s brain is absorbing their memories, she teams up with a detective to solve homicides. While the series is an adaptation of the original comic book series, creator Rob Thomas has definitely added a light and heart-warming twist to the show. This series is bound to catch everyone’s attention with its science fiction theme and comedic wit.
AK:What can you tell us about the character you portray and how she will generally contribute to the storyline in the show?
AV:I play the role of Marcy who is a medical resident at the hospital where the main character, Liv, used to work as a fellow medical resident. How that relates to Liv’s new life…I mean undead life as a zombie? You’ll have to wait until March 17th to find out!
AK:How many episodes will you be in for the first season?
AV:In season 1, you will see Marcy in the episode 1 and return in episode 3.
AK:Were there any challenges involved in portraying Marcy and how did you overcome some of these challenges?
AV:The last doctor I played before this was ABC’s Motive, which as you know from our last interview, was a much darker crime drama than iZombie. There was definitely an adjustment to be made. The great part about working on this series was the comedic moments I got to play with on set. By incorporating both my comedic experience from Little Mosque as well as the dramatic experience from Motive, I was really able to play around with Marcy’s moments with Liv. That combination is what’s so unique about this series and it will definitely show when you watch it.
AK:What are some of your favorite memories from working on set, either on screen or off-screen with your fellow cast and crew members?
The coolest thing when shooting the pilot was when I got to shoot on location at my University! It was a pleasant surprise when I looked at the call sheet. I had just graduated from SFU and wasn’t sure when I would be back to visit. Months later, after getting my BFA in Theatre, I ended up working on an upcoming series in a hallway where I used to race breathlessly to get to Archaeology 136. The only difference was, this time I was racing down the hall as a medical resident and not a first year undergrad. It was surreal. It was great to share that moment with my fellow cast mates as well as crew members, who were all incredibly fun to work with. Just like the series, there were many fun moments on and off screen and it was nothing short of action packed! I cannot wait to work with them all again in the near future.
Reflecting on your career in general:
AK:How has working on a variety of different shows in a wide range of genres impacted your professional experience as an actor? From your personal experience, are there any typical challenges when adapting to a working on a new genre?
AV:What funny is how, so far, I have only worked on either sitcoms or medical crime dramas. iZombie was fun because the series was like a mix of everything: Sci-fi, comedy, and drama. I think the biggest lesson I have taken from working on this series in particular, was finding the lighter moments within a dramatic scene. It not only provides variety of tones and depth to the scene, but also reconnects the actor into the present moment instead of being driven solely by the dramatic content. Working on any series provides amazing perspective about story and I cannot wait for whatever I have yet to experience.
AK:Do you have any other projects you have been working on, which we can expect to see you on in the near future?
AV:So far, iZombie is the project to look out for but don’t worry. I have no doubt that you will be seeing me in another role very soon and I will be sure you are one of the first to know!
AK:What message do you have for fans that have been following your career?
AV:Thank you for the amazing support! I honestly cannot say it enough. I am able to follow a passion that very few people get to pursue and I am able to play incredible characters that hopefully you connect with as much as I do. Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today and without you, I wouldn’t be able to continue as far as I plan to go.