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Ghosts’ Asher Grodman Teases Woodstone Manor’s Holiday Special

Jan 3, 2023


Look, ma, no pants! Every day on the Ghosts set is National No Pants Day for actor Asher Grodman. However, he says that his parents aren’t phased by the fact that their son is the most-watched ‘suns out, buns out’ comedian in America. Instead, according to Grodman, after 20 years of unemployment, they are happy their son is finally successful at doing what he loves.

Ghosts is a single-camera comedy about Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), a cheerful freelance journalist and up-and-coming chef from the city, respectively. After inheriting a vast rundown country estate, they throw caution and money to the wind and convert the property into a bed & breakfast. However, they soon discover spirits of the deceased inhabit the estate alongside them. Among the residents of Woodstone Manor is a slick 1990s finance bro, Trevor “T-Money” Lefkowitz, played by Asher Grodman, who is intrigued, anxious, and curious about the opening of the B&B and interacting with the Livings through “a lot of pain” and “a lot of sweating” – hey, it’s hard work writing on mirrors and knocking over vases.
MOVIEWEB VIDEO OF THE DAY
After Ghosts’ Halloween-themed episode aired on October 27, Grodman caught up with MovieWeb about his real-world experience living in a haunted house, being able to play a character who shares the same cultural background as him, and what T-Money fans can expect before the end of Season 2.

Asher Grodman Grew Up in a Haunted House

CBS

MW: Do you have any personal experiences with ghost encounters?

Asher Grodman: No, but the story I will tell out of respect for the house I grew up in is that, technically, it is listed in a book as one of New Jersey’s haunted houses. My house was built in the 1700s. The story of the ghosts is that they were friendly ghosts – or at least patriotic ghosts – who guided the Revolutionary War soldiers through the swamp of New Jersey. When I was younger, people would come by the house – not very often, but occasionally – and say, “We heard,” or, “we read about this thing in a book,” or something. But that hasn’t happened – well, if it has, my parents haven’t told me. But a couple of times when I was a kid, I remember people coming by. So out of respect for the past and to be safe, I’m going to say I believe in ghosts, but I haven’t had an experience myself.

MW: That begs the question, are your parents excited that you’re on a show about a haunted house?

Asher Grodman: I think they’re more excited I’m on a show and have a job after twenty years of unemployment – I think they’re thrilled that this has worked. I’m on a show, and people are watching it. And the fact that being Jewish and being able to play a character who is Jewish but who isn’t defined by his Judaism is so cool for me. You would describe Trevor in countless ways before you got to the point that he was Jewish. I think that’s also a thrill for my parents. But yes, many thrills would come before representing the haunted-ness.

Related: The Best Jewish Comedy Movies

On Using His Jewish Identity as Inspiration

CBS

MW: Even before you disclosed Trevor’s Jewish background, I was going to ask for confirmation – because I don’t know if all fans realize Trevor is Jewish…

Asher Grodman: Oh yes. He’s very Jewish.

MW: Okay, then it was intentional that Trevor uses Yiddish words and phrases like “mazel”?

Asher Grodman: Yeah. There’s a lot of Yiddish we popped in throughout. It’s a very rare thing because often, in storytelling (especially in film and television), you’re trying to distill an idea or a character into something quickly visually digestible for an audience. Sometimes, you get down to the simplest common denominator, meaning nuance is lost. So Trevor was not written with the intention of, “We need to make sure we have a Jewish character.” Instead, he was written for many other reasons – and of course, inspired partly by a couple of characters in the BBC version.

His being Jewish became another flavor that added to his dynamics and complexity. So, having my identity and experiences being Jewish to pull on and play in this character is a joy. Mainly because when you’re Jewish, there’s no real – well, you don’t have to cast a Jew to play a Jew because Judaism does not necessarily define how someone looks – so it’s cool to be part of telling the story of a guy who shares my culture with me.

MW: Were you the impetus behind adding the Yiddish?

Asher Grodman: Was I the impetus? No. Our showrunners are Jewish, so I think there’s a nuance to him in their hands. But I’m certainly a fan of that – I’ve pitched throwing more in there at times. I think it’s a lot of fun. Especially, there is a stereotype of what a Jewish guy would be, and the fact that this guy is not that thing – he’s a bunch of contradictory things – is a lot of fun.

Related: Looks Like Moon Knight’s Marc Spector Will Be Jewish: ‘Wait Until the End of the Show’

Terror Management Trevor

CBS

MW: Can you speak to how the show dramatizes the equalizing effect of death? For example, Trevor, a hard-partying business executive, is now in the same position as Flower, a hippie who was mauled to death while tripping on LSD.

Asher Grodman: It’s very easy with this show to get philosophical. One of the show’s charms is that it’s like walking this fine line. You can go a mile to the right, and everything is fine – all the comedy and stuff like that. But all it takes is a two-inch step to the left, and suddenly we can get profound because we are dealing with existential and philosophical questions. We’re just right there on the edge of it. Those questions are always there in episodes like “Pete’s Wife” or “Trevor’s Pants,” where you’re talking about mortality, the world you leave behind, and what life is after death. There is something deeply human about that because our humanity connects the living and the dead.

Something fun about the show is that we don’t put a gravitas on the past. When we think, like, “Oh, my ancestor,” there’s a side to that, where if you sat down with your great-great-great-great-grandfather, that conversation might not be as fun as you think it is because ideas are kicking around that weren’t all the best ideas from our 2022 lens. So the dichotomy of those things is great about what the BBC Ghosts team came up with, and we get to see it play out with the whole relationship between Sam and Hetty, and how cool it is to meet your ancestor… but at the same time, do you want to be taking advice from your ancestor?

We’re not setting out to make political messages or social commentary, but Hetty comes from a time when she and many of her class despised the Irish. Many of us do not relate to that level of hatred and animosity these days. But it does make you wonder, what are the things that we feel strongly about today that a generation from now, people are going to look back and wonder, “What were they thinking?”

Related: Ghosts Star Rose McIver Opens Up About Show’s Very ‘Technical’ Filming Process

On Preparing to Go ‘Sun’s Out, Buns’ Out’

CBS

MW: When you got the role, what was your reaction when you realized it was “sun’s out, buns out” for the first two seasons?

Asher Grodman: Honestly, that never really phased me. If anything, I had never done a comedy before – I had been unemployed for 18 years before this, banging my head against the wall, trying to get a job left and right. So I was thrilled to be a part of something and have a job. And because I’d never done a comedy before, the fact that I wouldn’t wear pants was a relief in the beginning. It was a bit of a safety net. I was like, “Okay, well, if I can’t land this joke… they can just pull the camera back and show my bare, pasty thighs, and there’ll be a chuckle on that.”

Now, every once in a while, I get bogged down in how to play a scene and in all the minutia of trying to make this thing work. Then, every once in a while, I’ll see the show and be like, “Oh yeah. My pants are off.”

But I do remember when we shot the pilot. I booked it, and I was in LA in February and March 2020 to shoot the pilot, and then the world shut down. So then, six months of isolation came before we ever shot the pilot, and finally, we shot the Tara Reid monologue first thing – 4 a.m. on Monday. And suddenly, being in front of like a hundred and fifty strangers with no pants on… it shocked me. I learned early on that it’s hard to sleepwalk through work when you’re not wearing pants. It keeps you very awake and aware.

Related: The Best Ghost Movies Based on Books, Ranked

MW: I bet. When I watch it, I wonder if you must think about how you move your legs in every shot!

Asher Grodman: Well, sitting’s a thing. We have to hide some things, you know? It’s always vital for me to be in costume before we rehearse, so we know what we can and can’t do – for the safety of American viewers.

MW: How did you develop a lovable version of the 1 Oak bro?

Asher Grodman: When I first read this script, I was like, this guy is so specific. The guys who are writing this know this world. I went to college in New York, and I know these guys and that world a little bit too. I was drawn to the specificity and the strong point of view. The one thing I brought to it, I think, is that I always saw him as a bit of a puppy, and I saw the heart always looking for a good time. I’m helped with the character since the guy most likely to objectify you is already objectified because he’s not wearing pants – and he’s dead, so he can’t do anything to you.

Trevor wants to connect to everyone because, at the end of the day, that’s what partying is: having every one of your friends around you and having a good time. I hope there’s something relatable and something sincere in that. You know, he wants to connect to these people that he spends eternity with, but the difficulty is that none of them understand how cool his life was. So his life means nothing to them. I think there’s something in that.

MW: Is there anything you can tease?

Asher Grodman: I can tease that we’re going to have some visitors, both living and dead, to Woodstone. I can tease that Trevor will find a few ways to bring his experience of being alive into his experience of being dead and that there’s going to be a big old fun holiday special where some crazy stuff will go on. A Christmas/Hanukkah special.

Ghosts is available on CBS.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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