SurrealEstate is halfway through its first season-the first five episodes are streaming now on Syfy and CTV Sci-Fi’s websites–and yesterday, I caught up with series star Tim Rozon to chat about the show. In the first part of our conversation, we talk about vulnerability, characters, and found family.
He was wrapping Wynonna Earp when the SurrealEstate script came his way, and once everything clicked into place, he moved very quickly from playing 19th century gunslinger Doc Holliday to 21st century real estate agent with a twist Luke Roman.
“I was just finishing Wynonna when this became available. It was a strange time. We didn’t know, but we had a feeling that it could be our last season, so I was trying to say goodbye to my character,” he recalls.
“This came along and there was a lot there [with the character]. I put myself on tape and read a couple of times. I found out Sarah Levy was Susan and then that was it. I wrapped Wynonna, shaved my mustache, flew on Friday, landed in Newfoundland on Saturday, and started Luke Roman as soon as my two-week quarantine was over.”
“It’s been almost a decade since I’ve played a role without facial hair. I went to my first wardrobe fitting and they gave me Luke’s suit and I just started feeling the character immediately. The crews are amazing; so much goes into the production and the writing. I just had to just trust what everybody was doing and the character was kind of there.”
“And then when I did the first scene with Sarah Levy, we started connecting, and we already had a history [from Schitt’s Creek], so there was a built-in safety net there. And then I felt lucky that I found Luke sooner than I would have found other characters.”
One of the fun tricks of Luke’s look is that while your first impression might be that he’s a slick shark, he’s extraordinarily empathetic beneath that polished exterior. “That’s what drew me to Luke. I didn’t want to play some wooden character. There’s a huge vulnerability to Luke. I’m good at getting in touch with the vulnerable side of myself, so I loved that about him,” Rozon shares.
That said, he did get a kick out of Luke’s style and credits the wardrobe team. “I trust in what they’re going to do because they’re the head of their department for a reason,” he explains. “I’d always go in my trailer and there’d always be something super great and amazing. Definitely nothing I would wear because I wear a black shirt and black jeans. So I trusted them and they were always correct.”
That vulnerability cascades beyond Luke to the rest of the team, and Rozon loved that aspect. “In that first episode, if you watch that scene with Luke and Megan, when she says, ‘Can I trust you,’ they were making that light banter up until that point. And he didn’t hesitate for a second before he said, ‘Yes.’ That was the quickest ‘yes’ he’d ever said. And it was the truest thing he said to her up to that point. Boom. That was it. And she knew she could, and then they went off together.”
“I think that’s the key to who Luke is. He is a vulnerable guy, but he knows when it’s safe to let people in and when it isn’t. He chose his time with Susan when he could let her know that he knew some things about her already that they had in common.”
“This group of people, not only are they different, they’re dealing with their own internal struggles and demons [as well as] the paranormals and the demons of the houses. They’re finding peace for the houses working with each other, but they’re also finding peace for themselves by working with each other, through their relationships.”
“August and Father Phil are a great combo. Susan and Zooey in episode four were just really beautiful. I thought the vulnerability of Zooey opening up about her ex and Susan being there for her and connecting through vulnerability was really beautiful and heartwarming and probably my favorite moment of the show.”
“I love that about the show. There’s a superficiality that they bring [as real estate agents] but deep down, they all have this vulnerability. We saw that last week with Father Phil. How beautiful was that. That’s the kind of bond they have together and they all pick the moment when they know they’re safe with each other and can be themselves and let their vulnerability come through.”
Rozon praises series creator George R. Olson and his co-showrunner, Danishka Esterhazy, for building the found family of characters that makes up the Roman Agency. “We are lucky to have [George] as the showrunner. He’s a brilliant, very smart guy. And he understands the characters,” he points out.
“[One of the things] I loved about this show so much was the different relationships and how they change throughout the season when they need to rely on each other at different times to get through different situations. George and Danishka get a lot of credit. She directed almost half of the episodes. She was our co-showrunner and she just was always available to answer our questions, explaining the dynamics of the group. She had it broken down by episode one. We were really lucky to have them.”
“I was immediately excited when I knew Danishka was a part of it. We got two episodes on Vagrant Queen. She was one of my favorite directors and now with this, she’s number one. I love her demeanor of positivity and professionalism. And she’s really, really good.”
“The crew immediately respects her because she knows everything about almost every department. You love that in a director because they have to have a certain level of confidence for everybody else to just free fall and trust them. And it’s very easy to free fall because you know she’s got the net, she created this incredible net.”
SurrealEstate airs Fridays at 10 pm/9c on Syfy in the US and CTV Sci-Fi in Canada. The first five episodes are now streaming on the networks’ websites, and you can catch our previews and an interview with Tennille Read and showrunner George R. Olson here. Check back tomorrow for a preview of Friday’s new episode. I’ll have more of my conversation with Rozon next week.
[Updated 10/8/21: The entire first season of SurrealEstate is now streaming on Syfy and fuboTV in the US and CTV Sci-Fi and Crave in Canada.]
Photos courtesy of Syfy.
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