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Rahul Kohli Talks Next Exit, Ghostbusters, And Star Wars - Exclusive Interview

In Mali Elfman's genre-bending new film "Next Exit," which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and is currently seeking distribution, science has proven the existence of ghosts. To further research this phenomenon, the Life Beyond study is recruiting volunteers to be killed and become ghosts. This serves as the setup for a road trip romantic comedy about two prospective volunteers for the study, Rose (Katie Parker) and Teddy (Rahul Kohli), who travel across the country together on a journey to die while forming a connection that reignites their will to live.

"Next Exit" joins a growing list of horror and horror-adjacent credits for Rahul Kohli, who has previously played Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti in "iZombie," Owen Sharma in "The Haunting of Bly Manor," and Sheriff Hassan in "Midnight Mass." Looper spoke with Kohli about how his work with Mike Flanagan led to the starring role in "Next Exit," his upcoming work in "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed," and who he'd actually want to play in the "Star Wars" universe (it's not Ezra Bridger!).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

An original take on the undead

The director of "Next Exit," Mali Elfman, previously produced Mike Flanagan's film "Before I Wake," and you've acted in multiple Flanagan series. Is that Flanagan connection how you got involved in this film?

Yes. Mike, along with two other people, sent me the script from Mali. I was shooting "Midnight Mass," and Mike Flanagan, Rose McIver [Kohli's "iZombie" co-star who plays Heather in "Next Exit"], and my manager all separately sent me to script. Mali had seemed to triangulate a way to make sure that the script was put in front of me. Mike is absolutely a big one-third of the reason I was aware of "Next Exit."

This movie offers an interesting science fiction twist on ghosts. You've done multiple movies and shows with ghosts, zombies, and vampires. What's your favorite type of undead being, and what would you personally want to be if you were undead?

My favorite type of undead [is] the one I haven't done, so it's the same answer for both [questions]. I like the werewolf, and that's what I'd like to attack. I'd like to play a werewolf. There's something about the kind of Hulk-esque, Jekyll-and-Hyde beast that appeals to me. I'd probably go with a werewolf.

Mike Flanagan reunions and Ghostbusters games

You're currently filming "The Fall of the House of Usher," right?

I am, yeah.

How's that going?

It's going well, we're nearly close to wrap, but it's been ... It's my family. It's my intrepid family with Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy. It's like riding a bike.

You're also doing voice work in the upcoming "Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed" video game. What can you tell us about the game?

There's no release date, but I was lucky enough to be asked to voice Tobin, which has been in the "Ghostbusters" lore since 1984, when [the original movie] first mentioned "Tobin's Spirit Guide." It was an honor to be the first person to voice him, I believe. That's been a complete fanboy thing for me. "Ghostbusters," along with "Masters of the Universe," were my first two loves as a toddler. To be a part of that legacy doesn't feel real.

Have you been able to play any of the game yet? Were there any demos or anything you've been able to try, or have you just done the voice work?

I can't really say much. I've just been doing the creative side of things.

Rahul Kohli does not want to play Ezra Bridger

You are a very big "Star Wars" fan, and there have been stories of you campaigning to play Ezra Bridger from "Star Wars Rebels" in live-action. Have there been any calls from LucasFilm or anything?

I don't think I campaigned. There was a leaked story a couple of years ago that Disney or LucasFilm were looking for South Asian actors in their thirties to portray Ezra. I tweeted it with [the looking eyes emoji]. Then, while I was filming "Midnight Mass," I was watching an episode of "Rebels" for fun. I was heading to the gym, and I tweeted that I was getting in "Lothal orphan shape" as a joke. Then people thought that I was coming out as Ezra. Then there was fan art, which was very flattering, and that's been the extent of my "campaign." 

I have no interest in playing the character. It was just a bit of fun that got carried away because "The Mandalorian" was out. People would probably assume that I was going to appear in that particular season and that's pretty much it. I don't campaign for roles. It's flattering, but ...

If you were cast in a "Star Wars" film or TV series, is there any particular character or type of character you would want to play?

The characters that I would love to see on screen were the [Star Wars Expanded Universe] characters that are now legacy characters. Dash Rendar and Kyle Katarn were two characters I was very fond of as a kid. I'd love to see them be brought back into the new "Star Wars" canon. If I'm not working on a Mike Flanagan show and Disney is okay with my social media presence and tweets, then I'd love to play one of those two.

The other day you were tweeting that you had never seen "The Princess Bride." Have you watched it yet?

No, I haven't. I will eventually because I'm about to work with Mandy Patinkin on a new show. At that point, I probably should.

What's the show you're doing with Mandy?

It's called "Career Opportunities in Murder and Mayhem." We made a pilot and it was green-lit. It's for Hulu, and we begin production next month.

"Next Exit" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Release plans have yet to be announced.

This interview has been edited for clarity.