Anyone remember a little show called Dead Like Me? Long before Weeds, Dexter and Californication put Showtime on the map, there was DLM. The series — which also happens to be the first show Pushing Daisies' Bryan Fuller created — was beloved by fans and critics but still suffered the fate of premature cancellation during its second season. Today, however, more than four years later, a new direct-to-DVD movie has been released, giving dedicated viewers the chance to catch up with their favorite reapers and finally get closure. To celebrate the occasion, KTV reporter Marisa Roffman stole some time with star Ellen Muth (George Lass), getting her take on new cast members, her new onscreen boss and whether Dead Like Me could ever live on past this film…
Dead Like Me has been off the air for a long time. Was it tough getting back into the role of George?
EM: It wasn’t. I mean, I played her for so long that coming back to her was easy for me. You know, when [series executive producer, John] Masius came on board for the film, [he brought it] all there in his writing, so it was pretty easy to slip right back into it.
There were some cast changes in the new movie. Sarah Wynter is taking over for Laura Harris as the new Daisy, but Mandy Patinkin's character Rube is MIA. Did the reunion feel incomplete without him?
EM: As far as all the actors that are there, the dynamic stays the same, so it wasn’t like we had issues or anything. We all picked up where we left off and it was all there. There were a bunch of different changes made, [Mandy] was just one of them.
Did filming the movie have a different feel than filming the television series?
EM: No, the only part that was different really was Henry [Ian Cusick‘s Cameron] comes into the movie and takes over as boss and he tries to bring this New Age, mainstream tint to everything. He gets rid of the post-its, [he has us] using these new Trios and having these expensive meals, instead of [eating at] the Waffle House. He tries to bring a new dynamic to everything. And all of the reapers love it because it’s all very glamorous… except George who tries to keep everything the way our old boss [Rube] left it. So once again, I try and go against the big boss. And in the end, George is right, he’s not looking out for our best interests.
Yes, Rube and George had almost a parent/child relationship. But even with him gone, she's still rebelling, huh?
EM: Yeah, she doesn’t trust the new boss. It’s not necessarily that she wants nothing to do with him. There’s a weird alluring effect that the new boss has, whether [he's using] money to draw you in, or charm, which is how he tries to get George. He tries to lure her in with a sort of creepy [vibe]. I don’t think even he’s sure how he’s going to [get to her], because he knows he can’t get her in with money and he knows he can’t get her in with sex. And [at first], she's not even sure how she feels about him… it’s just weird. I don’t know how to describe it. He can’t quite grasp her and can’t quite get her on board with all the other reapers. She tries to tell the other reapers not to trust him and of course they don’t go along with her, they go along with what he’s trying to do because they’re [enticed by] all the candy that they’re getting with him, all the gifts or money or sex.
What about George’s family members? I hear they have a big part in the movie. Can you talk about them?
EM: I don’t really want to say anything about the family, because I think that’s the biggest surprise of the movie, so I think anything I would say about that would break the surprise.
Have fans been trying to get information from you about the film?
EM: Oh yeah. I finally put up a MySpace page, and I’m horrible with computers so it looks very unprofessional, so some people are kind of leery as to if it’s really me. And there are like five Ellen Muth imposters on MySpace too. But the people who do go on there and believe it’s me, they ask a lot of questions about the movie and I don’t really want to say too much about it, but they’re certainly interested and wanting and waiting to see what happens.
Most shows that are prematurely canceled don’t have the chance to do a movie to help wrap things up. Dead Like Me's devoted fan base definitely played a part in making this happen.
EM: Yes, I’d like to thank them, first of all, for staying on board with us as time has passed by. And I’ll work as hard as I can, if I can, to bring more Dead Like Me to the mix and to keep them informed about what we are going to do, if anything.
Yes, there are rumors that if this movie does well, there could be a series of movies or the television show could even be revived.
EM: Yeah, I don’t know. When we were doing the movie, Hudson Hickman, one of the producers, said that if it does well, he would love for us to do [more]. But it’s almost a too good to be true sort of thing. And I haven’t heard any more about that. So I really don’t know. And I don’t want to say, yeah, I heard that too and we’re really psyched and hoping, because I’m always looking at things as glass half empty. I would hate to get my hopes up and have it not happen. So I don’t want to say too much and have it not happen, and look like an idiot! [Laughs]
Would you be willing to come back if they were open to it?
EM: If it were to happen, I would be all for it. I would love for it to happen.
Are you psyched for the new DLM movie? Will you go out and buy it this week? Let's discuss…