One of the greatest charms behind the success of CBS' smash hit sitcom Ghosts is its ensemble cast. Led by Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar, the network's adaptation of the BBC One series of the same name wouldn't be what it is without the show's stars, like Asher Grodman — best known for playing '90s Wall Street bro Trevor Lefkowitz, the pantless spirit who lives a very humbled afterlife. But during the San Diego Comic-Con on July 21, Grodman revealed to convention goers that his big break almost never happened.
While talking about the audition process with his co-stars to a packed audience and media in the famed Ballroom 20, Grodman shared how excited he was when reading the script's sides, which are notably the mini versions containing only scenes scheduled in a given shooting day. "I remember reading for this thing and them being so funny and thinking, 'I just have to get out of the way' because what [the showrunners] Joe Port and Joe Wiseman wrote — it just works," he said, further sharing how when he got the job after the rollercoaster ride of will they or won't they cast him and finally got to set, the show's director Trent O'Donnell shared some interesting nuggets of information. "[He] showed me his notes from the casting session, and apparently, I was the first person to audition for it and next to my name it says, 'He's great. He'll never get it.'"
With some in the audience laughing and Grodman's co-star, Rebecca Wisocky appearing stunned at the admission, the 35-year-old New York native reveals because he was the first to audition, it seemed like an unlikely choice as that is a rare grab and one not common in casting. "[O'Donnell's] like, 'No way. It'll never be this guy' and somehow..." Grodman said before drifting off into his favorite line from Season 1's pilot episode, which finds his character Trevor leading the spirited ensemble in the Woodstone Mansion living room. "The writing was so funny from the second I read that first line — 'It was the summer of '98, my Lehman Brothers boys and I scooped a 'copter to beat the traffic,' I was like, these guys have it — they have it. It works," he said.
Grodman, who has been working hard in the industry for almost 20 years with an impressive catalog of short films, TV and movies under his belt, clearly proves he has "it" too. From a background in theatre with extensive work across the country with the American Conservatory Theatre, South Coast Repertory and Santa Rosa Repertory, Grodman has starred in dozens of acclaimed stage productions, including Amadeus, The Dodgers and Baby Doll. Holding an MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and a BA in Film and English from Columbia University in New York, the Ghosts star is a versatile talent able to blend into his work and truly be in it, while playing masterfully to the heart of a story.
With a passion for story to steer the emotions of an audience and Grodman's adroit eye for storytelling through perceptive direction, his distinct inventiveness led him to write, produce, direct and star in the multi-award-winning 2015 short film, The Train alongside the legendary Eli Wallach. In an interview with the Jewish Journal, Grodman humbly admits Wallach was a "joy" to work with and the 10-minute film celebrates the actor's legacy. "This guy had been around forever. He was incredible," he said in an interview last year. "The fact that he gave his time and energy to this little film was amazing. He showed up on set and he was telling stories the whole time. He was so generous. Everyone was just mesmerized by him."
As audiences continue to discover Grodman ahead of Ghosts Season 2 premiering this fall, the actor has led a vibrant filmography, with guest starring roles in Succession, Chicago Med, House of Cards, Elementary and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. When Grodman is not making his mark in film and TV, he is teaching acting for both theater and film at Hunter College in New York, and has instructed inmates in acting at Rikers Island.
When speaking with the Jewish Journal, Grodman shared his love for acting is something that truly excites him, which is a truth evidenced in every performance from The Train to the two shorts Pacifica and For Sale: Baby Shoes Never Worn, and even Ghosts. "You can be really down in the dumps and just be having a miserable time and then, read a good story and you're thrilled," he told the magazine. "The fact that you can tell that story to someone else — that's like one of the greatest thrills you could have. Then, in the midst of telling that story, you're bringing it to life, which means you're actually discovering each element of that story in real-time with someone else. That's make-believe. That's the stuff that kids do every day. So, part of it is just being a kid again. Even though it's 'pretend,' it feels sometimes more like real life than real life does."
Ghosts returns for Season 2 on Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS. For more on Ghosts and everything Season 2, stay tuned to the very latest about the show, news about the cast, and everything in between only on PopCulture. In the meantime, relive the first season of Ghosts on Paramount+ for free from June 3 to Sept. 2, 2022.