The Syfy series, “Z Nation” returns tonight with the premiere of season 2. To ring in the new season, I had the opportunity to interview Pisay Pao, who plays Cassandra.
Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Yes. I was born in Thailand but I have lived most of my life in Seattle, Washington where I got to spend a lot of time outside in nature, being imaginative or inside doing something creative like dancing or painting. When I say those things out loud it, sounds pretty normal but I actually felt really different growing up. I do not know if it was because of my background or just wanting to separate myself from the crowd but I think that is what pushed me into acting and pushed me towards the role of Cassandra. From the very beginning I felt and knew she was going to be a unique character to play.
What is it like on set not only when the cameras are rolling but also while they are off?
It is honestly a mix bag. I think that is why I love being on set so much. You never know what to expect but it is usually the funniest, most magical, unbelievable moments. Like when Anastasia and Nat start singing Whitney Houston in the makeup trailer or when we are shooting on a farm with kittens and they are all running away from the zombies on set. Those moments make up for the long and sometimes frustrating days – like when we lose power for 3 days in a row because of thunderstorms. The cast and crew are completely passionate and professional about their work though -another reason why I love being on this set specifically.
What is a typical day of shooting an episode? How is it shooting in Spokane?
The only thing typical about shooting Z Nation is that it is at least a 12 hour day or more and that there is always zombies on set. Otherwise, there is nothing typical about the show or the way we shoot it. We move really fast and things are constantly changing. It definitely keeps us on our toes so I can not imagine how the audience feels. As far as Spokane goes, it has been amazing. I can not believe all the places we have substituted it for and people have been really gracious and welcoming.
What are some of your hobbies? Favorite places to shop and eat?
I love hiking, watching movies of course, cooking for friends and family, dancing, making stuff with my hands like, sewing my own costumes or writing letters to my fans with personalized stationery. I probably sound like a dork -which is good. Dorks are underrated. As far as favorite places to shop and eat? I live in both Seattle and LA, so that list could be very very long but here goes…
Shopping: Nordstrom, Goodwill and any vintage stores. I love the flagship Nordstrom. The selection is unparalleled and I feel like the vintage stores here are the most reasonable priced I have seen compared to other metropolitan cities.I love mixing old with new.
Food: Momiji, Walrus and Carpenter, Il Corvo, Cafe Presse, Spinasse & Juice Box
Shopping: The Grove -it is an experience really. The downtown H&M and Abbott Kinney which is also an experience because it is the only place I know in LA where you can jaywalk and people don’t look at you like you are crazy or try to run you over.
Food: Pine & Crane, Sqirl, Gelina, Sugarfish, Alimento, & Bestia
For someone who has yet to see Z Nation, how would you describe the series?
Z Nation is about a group of survivors transporting the only known human to have survived a zombie bite from NY to a blood lab in California. That human is Murphy (played by the talented Keith Allan) who is a complete jerk (the character not the actor). Still we all somehow love him and we love killing zombies so we have a heck of a time finding thousands of different ways to do just that, like our infamous liberty bell scene. It’s a ton of fun.
For someone who has seen their fare share of movies and series within the zombie culture, what separates Z Nation from other programming?
I think the biggest thing that separates Z Nation from other shows is that it does not take itself too seriously. We make a lot of jokes and reference a lot of different parodies but the show never becomes a parody itself. People really care about the characters and the storyline.
Z Nation is on Netflix and season one can be binge-watched. What series out there have you binge-watched or would like to binge-watch?
I love Once Upon A Time, Grimm, and Gotham. I could not stop watching True Blood when it was on. I would totally binge watch The X-Files again. You are probably seeing a pattern here. I really dig the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I can not believe I am on a show on Syfy network!
What can fans expect from season two of Z Nation?
Bigger, better, badder. Seriously a lot more zombies, and zombie kills and a lot of new and interesting characters to mix up the group dynamic. Karl Schaefer (the show’s creator) never wants any of else to feel safe, which is very heartwarming.
If you weren’t acting, what is another profession you could see yourself doing?
I’d like to be an International spy. Either that or own a restaurant and write children’s books.
Thank you Pisay for your time, how can people find you and is there anything you’d like to say to our readers? Welcome to the Blended Family!
Thanks so much. Thank you for reading. I can not wait for people to see the new season. People can find me on Twitter or FB @pisaypao. Thank you Blended!