ComingSoon Senior Editor Spencer Legacy spoke with School Spirits stars Spencer MacPherson and Rainbow Wedell about the mystery drama series. The duo discussed the series’ appeal and channeling Jack Nicholson. The series is now streaming on Paramount+.
“In the series, Maddie, a teen girl stuck in the afterlife investigating her mysterious disappearance,” reads the synopsis. “Maddie goes on a crime-solving journey as she adjusts to high school in the afterlife, but the closer she gets to uncovering the truth, the more secrets and lies she discovers.”
Spencer Legacy: Spencer, the Xavier scene that really stood out to me was the scene with the mouse and the brick. How long did it take you to really nail that intimidating expression that your character makes there?
Spencer MacPherson: The director, Max Winkler … I think his favorite actor is Jack Nicholson, and he kept saying like, “Give me the Nicholson, give me The Shining!” [Laugh]. So, I mean, that’s my impression, I guess, of that.
Rainbow, the concept of someone solving their own murder is so interesting. What drew you to School Spirits when you first heard about it?
Rainbow Wedell: I think that for sure. I think having a different spin on a crime drama. The fact that Maddie’s solving her own murder, I find really fascinating. Also, it was just super well-written. I just read the first episode and fell in love. Once we got all the cast together and I met everyone and we started filming, it just solidified how incredible the opportunity to film such an amazing show was.
Spencer, for those first couple of episodes especially, you have to seem off-putting and kind of guilty because the audience doesn’t know the whole story. How’d you go about implementing that assumed guilt into your performance?
Rainbow Wedell: Ooh, assumed guilt?
Spencer MacPherson: Yeah, I think how guarded Xavier is is a huge misdirect, you know? As an audience, you’re wondering, “Well, what is he hiding? What is he guilty of it?” That guardedness comes from a place of — without giving too much away — his dad and his family relationship has kind of made him someone with a lot of walls. But it’s cool to see the flashback sequences because it makes you second guess. You’re like, “Wait, is this … I mean, he seems normal enough, but … “
Rainbow, Claire’s character is pretty multifaceted. We don’t see as much of her in the first three episodes, but what stood out to you about her that really made you want to take that role?
Rainbow Wedell: I think the fact that she is definitely not what she seems to be in the first couple of episodes, or as you know the high school cheerleader trope. She definitely has a lot more layers and a lot of secrets about her and a there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye — especially in the first three episodes.
Spencer, the scene with you and Maddie’s mom at the house is very intense. What was filming that back and forth really like?
Spencer MacPherson: The actress who plays Sandra — Maria Dizzia — is so incredible. I’ve seen her in a bunch of stuff, so I was a little bit intimidated at first, but she’s such a great actress and so cool. I really love that scene — it’s one of my favorite scenes. I think it turned out really sweet and beautiful. It’s these two people that are just pariahs and broken and they’re unlikely friends.