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SurrealEstate's Tim Rozon On His New Supernatural Series And The Scary Side Of Home Equity - Exclusive Interview

Actor Tim Rozon is no stranger to working as part of an ensemble cast, having turned in fan-favorite work as Mutt Schitt on "Schitt's Creek" and Doc Holiday on cult hit "Wynonna Earp." Now, however, he's getting the chance to head things up as the lead on "SurrealEstate," which reunites him with fellow "Schitt's Creek" alum Sarah Levy as real estate agents who deal with homes possessed of a certain haunted quality that affects their market value.

Rozon plays Luke Roman, the enigmatic head of the Roman Agency, who recruits Levy's character and introduces her to the world of paranormal real estate sales. Like all good ciphers, Luke harbors his share of secrets, and a dark family history that complicates his relationship with both his business and the Roman Agency team.

We sat down with Rozon for a chat about what drew him to the show, the scares that come with stepping into a leading role, and his in-show reunion with both Levy and, for one episode, his "Wynonna Earp" costar Melanie Scrofano.

Tim Rozon on stepping into the lead on SurrealEstate

So, to start off, let's talk a bit about "SurrealEstate" and what drew you to the show. When you got the offer, what was it about it that really jumped out at you?

I mean, the script. Right away. George's script. George Olson is a genius. I thought it was very clever. And at the same time, I'm not going to lie — I was absolutely frightened of the workload. It was a big stretch for me. Some of the characters that I've had the pleasure of playing for the past almost decade now, they don't say too much — the Mutt Schitts and the Doc Hollidays. Where Luke Roman, he talks a lot. So, I was scared, to be honest, but at the same time, I was up for it. And I love being able to do characters where I can act, and as cliche as it sounds, just get away into. And Luke is nothing like anything I had done before, so I was very excited.

And then I had one question when the offer came, and that was who was playing Susan. And they said, "Sarah Levy." And then immediately I had to have it. I just texted her. And a lot of it goes to what I said about ... I was scared. This was my first time being the lead of a show in my career, in my entire career. It was a lot, so I was frightened and I told Sarah that, and she kind of felt the same. Knowing we had each other's backs and that I had a good person there that I really respect and like that I get to work with, it kind of put me at ease and made me excited.

The show still has an ensemble feel because of the Roman team, and Sarah's character is obviously prominent, but you are certainly at the head of that ensemble. Can you talk a bit about that experience and the chemistry of the cast coming together with you in that role?

Yeah, I would say that it's a complete ensemble piece, which came as a great relief. It is Luke Roman, his agency, but as the episodes go on and we delve into the other characters, I think the show is the relationship between that group of people. And I remember I asked Danishka and George, "How did you guys know?"

We cast this during COVID, at the peak of COVID, so there were no chemistry tests other than that they knew Sarah and I had worked together and I had the pleasure of working briefly, very briefly, with Savannah Basley. I didn't know Adam Korson or Maur Dean Wint. He and I were both on a show called "Diggstown," but we never worked together. But I remember the first scene we all did together was from Episode 1, when we're all in the agency and Susan comes in for the first time. And I remember just feeling something magic and saying, "Wow, how did they know that the chemistry would be there between all these people?" It's incredible. I really feel this is an ensemble piece and yeah, we have this thing between each other: One team, one dream.

Tim Rozon talks SurrealEstate's horror-comedy mix

The show follows this kind of "house of the week format," but we get dribs and drabs of Luke's past and kind of an overarching story. Can you talk a little bit about the balance that's going to shake out in the show with that, and what that experience is like given the work that you've done before?

I think the coolest thing is that it's not only Luke that's going to go through it. We've already seen Episode 4 was very much the Susan backstory, when we got some nice stuff with Zoe's character too. One of my favorite scenes of the season was Zoe and Susan talking about Zoe's first boyfriend. It was just a beautiful scene, played wonderfully by Savannah and Sarah. But I think that's the cool thing about the show is yeah, each episode's a new house, which is fun, because we never get bored and each house is different. Some of them are fun to deal with and some are not, but the internal demons that the characters deal with that will go on throughout the season are definitely cooler. Sometimes it's harder to deal with those demons than the ones we're actually trying to get out of that house or into the house or whatever we need to do to sell that house.

How do you feel about the balance of horror versus comedy in the show?

I mean, it's a joy because ... that's why I love doing sci-fi shows. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an actor because it's fun to play pretend, and that's what this show is. We're running around being chased by demon dogs and making jokes about it. And it's fun. So that's ... when it's not fun, I won't do it anymore. A show like this keeps me happy and excited and yeah, it's super clever. Plus, everybody deals with situations differently, and a lot of people go to comedy when they're scared or sad. Comedy is just a coping mechanism.

Was there a scene that particularly jumped out for you on the horror side that either was a new experience for you as an actor, or something that really made you think "This is going to scare the pants off of people," and you were excited to be part of it?

The next episode is pretty heavy and we deal with some pretty serious subject matter. So that was ... I won't get into it because I don't want to spoil things now because it hasn't aired yet. I'll say that. And obviously the finale is ... there're some twists. I think now I know because I've done it, but I was the audience at one point — I thought I knew where things were going and yeah, I was wrong. I was quite wrong. And those twists and scares and threats are real. I'll say that.

Tim Rozon takes us inside SurrealEstate's Luke Roman

Luke's very interesting because he starts off kind of as this cipher, he's very composed. And then you start to see the cracks come through as the show starts to go on, and more of a vulnerable human in there. What was that arc like playing throughout the season?

Yeah. Thanks for noticing. It was important for me to humanize Luke and have this vulnerability to him, because I think we even make a joke about it. Lawyers and real estate agents are just the dregs of society. Who's worse? Who's the bigger pariah? But Luke has heart. I think he has this ... I guess you'd look at it as a gift, although it could be a curse, where he can communicate with the afterlife, and he uses that to sell houses. But for me, the guy just loves what he does. And it just happens to be real estate. He loves it. I mean, at the end of the day, I think that's why he and Susan get along so well, because he knows she feels the same as him. They have other things going on, which is something that I think they can bond over, but they really just bond over their love of being real estate agents. They love closing a deal and selling a house. For me, I just wanted to play him as someone who loves what he does, but yeah, there's a serious vulnerability to this guy. He's been through some things.

What did you have to learn more about as you got into preparing for this show — real estate or the paranormal?

Both. Yeah, there were some doozies. Again I relied ... I feel bad for Sarah. She was my crutch. I'd call her, "Oh my goodness, did you see? What are we saying here? Do you know what this is?" But I learned a lot. I learned that houses that are perceived to be haunted, that will affect the market value of that house if you try and sell it. That's a real thing. I didn't know any of these things. So like I said before, I was scared of the workload, but I was excited to do it. And George and Danishka ... they were very available for any questions I had, so we were pretty lucky. Plus, we got a little cheat sheet of what some of the terms were. But then there's August, and August had to say all the equipment names. I could have been doing that. There were a couple of them I had to throw in there. There was an LRG, and a PK-something.

What was the direction that you got for the salesman part of Luke's character?

My father is a salesman. He just retired this year, actually. And he had been with the same company until he was 65, from 18 years old, as a salesman. Got up every day and put the suit and tie on. And I remember he was very happy, and loved his job. He'd always be ironing in the morning, waking up in a good mood, getting ready ... got to go close the day, son. And he was always a very confident ... he is still a very confident man — not cocky, confident. And that's what I wanted to bring to Luke. It was very important that he comes across as confident, but not cocky in any way. And I think the vulnerability to him helps a lot because you wouldn't believe he's vulnerable if he's just super cocky or you wouldn't maybe empathize with him, either. So yeah, I'm very lucky. He was a great salesman. I kind of used his confidence for Luke.

Tim Rozon on reuniting with Wynonna Earp star Melanie Scrofano

Not only were you reunited with Sarah Levy as you went into the show, but then Melanie Scrofano jumped in on Episode 3. Let's talk about that episode a bit and what it was like working with her in a different environment, and whether you had to adjust the dynamic.

It's just so easy to work with her. As nervous as I was on a new set, you kind of get through those nerves, and I had Sarah, but by Episode 3, after working with Mel for a week ... we'd been doing that for five years straight. So any nerve had gone and had left the building at that point. It was great to watch her do a different character, for sure. But then, to be honest, with Mel, I do the same thing I've always done. I connect and I don't disconnect because you can't disconnect with someone as good as Mel, because if you do, it's obviously going to come across as false. You need to react to her.

I've done my best acting, to be honest, by just reacting to what Mel does in a truthful way. It was fun to do with Luke, too, because I got to watch her react to some of the Lukeisms. It was fun. And I think it was great that she started on the show as an actor before jumping into the director's chair. Everybody fell in love with her in the five days we were shooting the episode. The whole crew was there, and you get to know everybody. Everybody loved her right away. And then boom, the next episode or two episodes later, she jumped behind the camera and she was in charge. I think it was a great transition and really, really good.

Was there a supernatural scene that you did as part of the season that really jumped out at you as a favorite, or one that was really challenging or tested you as an actor in a certain way?

One hundred percent. It's tough to say, you know what it is, but I work again with a younger actor, but it's a little more serious than it was in Episode 2. And I became a father a year and a half ago, so I'm affected differently now when it comes to stories involving kids, and to have a scene now with a little guy in pain hurts me in a way that it didn't hurt before. And then, the balance that there are some real similarities between the young kid and Luke himself. And I think we're really going to see Luke's vulnerability on the next episode. I think, to be honest, after he shows it, he's going to be a little more guarded in the last five episodes of the season, just because of how intense this week's episode is.

Tim Rozon's sci-fi and fantasy fandom

You mentioned earlier that you enjoy doing sci-fi and fantasy stuff, and that seems to have been kind of where your list of credits is going lately with "Vagrant Queen," "Wynonna Earp," and now this. Is that something that you want to continue to pursue, and what draws you most to these fantastical genres?

Well, like I said before, it's just how fun they are. I'm a huge comic book fan. I have been my whole life. I wish I was in the other room. I have my comic books on the wall behind me. Man, I should just move in there. But so yeah, I mean, I've just always loved that kind of make-believe genre, and it's so fun for me. But to be honest, I'm attracted to characters, scripts, different characters, different scripts, different stories. I'm just lucky, too, these opportunities come and this is a tough business, man. It's such a blessing, to work on shows and projects you really like and characters that you really love and with people that are great. I've been very fortunate. Just very fortunate.

Since you brought up comics, say you had the power to greenlight a comics project that you would star in. What would it be and why?

Well, can I greenlight it, but not star in it? How about that?

How about both? What comic character would you like to play? And then is there another project you'd just like to see?

If I could play a character, it'd probably be Gambit from the X-Men, just to get back that old Southern drawl for a minute. Gambit, Jubilee ... those are some of the minor characters that I feel really need their due, because they're super cool. But my favorite character, he's from the Fantastic Four, 48, 49, 50: The first appearance of Galactus, who brought over the herald himself, the Silver Surfer

I would love to see the Silver Surfer get made. I love that character so much that I would not want to be him. It's not me. I don't know who it's going to be, but I'd love to see the Silver Surfer movie. I want the love story aspect of it, that he becomes the herald to save this planet, but mainly to save the woman he loves. And then he can't remember it the entire time. I don't know if people know the story of the Silver Surfer, but he's flying around space, doing things for Galactus, but he doesn't know why he's doing it. He had a past. Very interesting stuff. Plus, he's on a surfboard flying through space. It's just the coolest.

New episodes of "SurrealEstate" air Fridays at 10/9c on SYFY.