“I love that it starts there. I was like, yes, let’s get right into it,” Peyton List said of the new Paramount+ series School Spirits (which premiered March 9 with the first three episodes) kicking off with her character, Maddie, already dead.
List, Milo Manheim (Wally), and Nick Pugliese (Charley) all didn’t know much about their characters’ trajectories when they first signed on, they shared when they sat down with TV Insider’s Damian Holbrook.
“I thought it was a comedy just reading the first episode and talking to the production team about it. We don’t really know too much about the show getting involved because it’s a murder mystery and they want to keep it that way for us as well,” Manheim explained. “I was surprised to figure out how dark the show is and how real it is. We cover topics that need to be talked about, but also Wally keeps it very light-hearted. But he’s also very complex and there’s a lot more to him than I had thought.”
Pugliese echoed that sentiment, adding, “What was most shocking was how deep Nate Trinrud and Megan Trinrud, the writers, go with it. It gets heavy for everyone.”
List likened Maddie’s circumstances to that of anyone in high school. “I was really trying to figure out what happened to this person. I feel like you already feel that way in high school. You’re already trying to figure out so many things. You’re already so confused, just about where you stand with people and what your life is,” she said. “And then she just has to watch all these people who have wronged her, while she’s still trying to figure out how she died. It was weird for me. I definitely feel clearer finishing it.”
School Spirits is a murder mystery: Maddie investigates her own mysterious disappearance, leading to more secrets and lies being uncovered. No one got it right — nor was anyone as invested in trying to solve it as Manheim. “I put in work,” he said.
Watch the full video interview above for much more from the cast and the mystery, theories, their characters, filming, and costumes.
School Spirits, Thursdays, Paramount+