When the charming comedy Ghosts premieres Thursday night on CBS, audiences will be in for more than just spirited laughs from the ensemble cast. The Joe Port and Joe Wiseman-created sitcom adapted from the BBC series of the same name will see married couple Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) inheriting a country estate with dreams of transforming it into a B&B. But after an accident, Sam can see all the ghosts taking up residence in her new home — including a '90s Wall Street bro, played by actor Asher Grodman. Oh, and he just happens to not be wearing any pants.
In an interview with PopCulture.com ahead of the series premiere on CBS, Grodman, whose character Trevor mysteriously died without his pants on, admits it somehow became harder to not wear clothes because of the pandemic. "Because we were in LA in March of 2020 about to shoot this thing on a Monday and the Friday before that Monday, the world shut down and so we were all sent home and then I was like a 30-year-old guy living with my parents for 11 months out in New Jersey. So that was a big rollercoaster and I wasn't seeing people. I was just with my parents as we were all quarantined to different corners of the world."
Grodman admits jumping from that habit back into TV mode suddenly became a significant shift in his routine. "Suddenly shooting the thing, six, seven, eight months later, with 150, 200 people after having only been with like three people for 11 or however many months and not having any pants on was a big change," he said. "But I discovered that the secret, oddly, is to take your pants off well before you have to shoot because they give me pants to wear to stay comfortable and if you try to take them off right before cameras start rolling, it feels so awkward. But if you're just kind of walking around set without pants on for a little bit, you get a lot more comfortable. Everyone else is uncomfortable, but you're going to feel a lot better."
Sporting nothing but a blue shirt and tie with a suit jacket and argyle socks, there's a sense of mystery behind Grodman's character Trevor. While fans will not immediately learn the circumstances surrounding his death, they will recognize him as a Wall Street bro exhibiting toxic and obnoxious behavior above everything. However, there is an endearment behind pantless Trevor's bravado that Grodman states is interesting. "I think there's oddly something to the fact that he doesn't have his pants on that takes away a lot of his power that he would have," he said. "This dude might be insufferable if you know him in real life, depending on what your relationship is with him. But seeing him on a television show when he doesn't even have pants on, suddenly he is brought down a few pegs."
Grodman says at the core of Trevor is a guy who is misunderstood. "It's very easy, as actors, we get breakdowns, like, 'This is the play, douchey Wall Street bro.' And then all the actors start playing douchey, and that's great, as an idea. But honestly, you can put a costume on me and write a couple of jokes and you're going to know that he's 'douchey.' [But] everyone has a different definition for what that even is," he said. "At the end of the day, you have to find something about him that's human and my instincts were that this guy just wants to have a good time. He's stuck for eternity with people who don't understand the greatest things that he did in life. So, he is in this endless struggle to try to have a good time. 'We're stuck in this house forever; let's do something!' And I think that is relatable. I hope — I should say, I hope that is relatable."
While Trevor won't be manspreading anytime soon since, as Grodman puts it, it's "definitely a bigger problem" in his character's case; he is trying his hardest to woo new house inhabitant, Sam (McIver) despite her being married to Jay (Ambudkar). The New Jersey-born actor praises McIver, stating she's "amazing" in just about every way. "I've seen Rose do scenes with eight imaginary people, all of them with disembodied voices, like we're in another room, shouting out lines and she's talking to us, never missing a beat and doing it all in one take," he said, adding how she and Ambudkar are also a "great lens" for audiences to experience the ensemble. "Rose is so incredible as an actor. I can't even begin and she's even better as a kind of the leader of the group. We just got so lucky with her. So any opportunity Trevor has to flirt with Rose I'm thrilled with because I get to work with Rose."
Seeing as Sam has all the power in this relationship with Trevor, Grodman adds his on-screen counterpart is just "trying to get a word in edge-wise" most of the time. "And then there are little moments that'll happen where Trevor gets to surprise people here and there and then we kind of see what direction those go in," he said. "But there's some fun stuff coming up for all of the characters because we got one hell of an ensemble and they're so talented. A lot of things to play with."
Assuring audiences that there is "something in there for everyone," and we will see more of Trevor's backstory with information about his life, how much is still up in the air at this point since they're still shooting. But Grodman most humbly credits creators Port and Wiseman and everyone in the writer's room for their clever, witty writing. "I never know where we're going next, and I find every week I'm just eagerly anticipating our table reads to see what they've come up with. Our creative team is amazing, and then the actors are incredible. Because even if you read a thing and you're like, 'Oh, okay, so this is this,' and then you put it in the mouths and the impulses of the ensemble, and suddenly it's coming out in ways that you never even imagined. So it's a dream come true. We got a great team here."
Thanks to a diverse cast, the show opens up to meaningful conversations that Grodman states align perfectly with comedy. "Essentially, there's something about comedy that relies on a little bit of truth and a little bit of recognition. Kind of what's universally true and so, because comedy can bring us together, a lot of the issues that may be introduced to us as black and white or two opposite ideas, they're not so opposed anymore," he said. "We're kind of starting from a place of similarity and so you could find more similarities."
Adding how the show essentially takes old ideas and perspectives to explore what is happening, Grodman says the common theme of Ghosts is that we're all just people. "The theme of the show is that, yes, they're ghosts — but they're really just human beings who are stuck in this house for a very long time and so when you realize that, 'Oh wow, there's a lot of these old thoughts that we have that we don't have anymore. It makes you kind of wonder, huh?' What are some of the thoughts that I have right now that in 20 years we're going to be like, why did I think that?"
Though adapted from the BBC series with a few similarities riding out between a few episodes, Grodman reveals it's the witty take on American history that will set the show apart from its across-the-pond sibling. "I don't want to get political or get too deep on anything, but the journey through American history is a unique one and that's not to make any kind of political statement at all. But we've been through a lot and we've had a lot of these ideas. There's a big chunk of time in this country where people just hated the Irish. And we look at it now we're like, 'Huh, that was crazy!' So it's kind of like looking back at old impulses and being like, 'Oh, okay, we don't have to deal with that anymore.' And so I think we're very much in our own area," he said. "And even like, we have Vikings in the show. We've got Indigenous people in the show. I mean, it goes back so far. Two characters in the show pre-date America. So it's a lot of fun, and I think our uniqueness will come out of the history of where we are."0comments
Reaffirming how Ghosts' bottom line is how "we can all just have a good time," Grodman states it's something e all need after the last year and a half. "I also think there's an element of, by definition, the show is basically bringing people together," he said. "Because it's essentially the greatest abyss in our understanding of the universe, right? The abyss between the living and the dead and we're putting the living and the dead and locking them in a room together. So if the living can relate with the dead and they can all get along and find something funny to laugh at, that's a good sign."
Ghosts premieres Thursday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. ET with a one-hour block featuring two back-to-back episodes on CBS and streaming on Paramount+. Those interested in seeing all Paramount+ has to offer can click here for a free streaming offer. Disclosure: PopCulture.com is owned by ViacomCBS Streaming, a division of ViacomCBS.