SurrealEstate’s Tim Rozon: “The magic of the show is that group”

There’s a certain amount of scrutiny that comes with making the jump from one landmark TV show to another. For Tim Rozon, you can’t help but wonder if that scrutiny was even more intense.

After all, the Montreal native most recently starred on Schitt’s Creek, Vagrant Queen and a little show you may have heard of called Wynonna Earp. I’m happy to say that he’s hit a home run with SurrealEstate.

Airing Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV Sci-Fi Channel, George Olson’s creation is a perfect vehicle for Rozon, an opportunity to stay in the genre space while playing a very different character. His Luke Roman runs The Roman Agency, a real estate company whose team helps sell homes that are haunted and therefore tend to stay on the market. Along for the ride are co-stars Sarah Levy, Adam Korson, Maurice Dean Wint, Savannah Basley and Tennille Read.

We spoke to Tim Rozon about SurrealEstate, which films in St. John’s, haunted houses and his co-stars.

Was this a career path that you expected, that you’d follow one show with demons on it to a show with other demons on it?
Tim Rozon: In a way, yes, because I remember the moment I had this conversation with my wife and I said, ‘My dream is to be on a show that goes to Comic-Con, like one of these supernatural shows, I would just love that. And fast forward a year later, there we were, Wynonna Earp, at San Diego Comic-Con, and since then I’ve got to be on Vagrant Queen, and now SurrealEstate, so surreal is the feeling.

Had you considered at any point maybe taking a break after being on several seasons of Wynonna, or was the thinking the opposite, ‘I got to strike while the iron is hot’?
TR: A hundred percent. At the end of the day, we’re actors, actors want work. To be honest, I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been. It’s pretty difficult, I’ll tell you, there’s so much competition and so many great actors, and I feel very fortunate and I don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure. And then, especially on great shows that you really want to be a part of, I’m very fortunate in that sense, I’ve got to work a lot, but I’ve also got to work on shows that I really loved being on, and that’s from Instant Star to Schitt’s Creek, Wynonna Earp, Vagrant Queen, right into SurrealEstate, so I’ve been very fortunate.

I really like the humour George has established in the world of SurrealEstate.
TR: Yeah, we really lean into it as we start going. I think we really figured out what George’s vision was around Episode 3. We get it right off the bat, but I don’t think we really leaned into it until after, because he’s such a good writer, sometimes it’s so subtle, and at first we just showed up, we don’t know… You don’t know what show we’re making right off the bat. How do you not lean into the humour when you have someone like Sarah Levy there?

You couldn’t have picked a better location for your next project. Had you been to St. John’s before? What was it like shooting there?
TR: It was incredible. I’m lucky that I had been there before, when I was much younger, filming a movie called Screamers: The Hunting, and we filmed that all over St John’s and across the island down in the mines on Bell Island. So I was all over, and also I was Screeched In at that time, which is great because I don’t think I could have handled it now. Before we started [filming SurrealEstate], I was in no way a believer in ghosts at all. After filming in St. John’s, so many guest stars experienced something with ghosts at the hotel that production had them staying at. It was this old Victorian house where they brought in all the guest stars, and they would do their quarantine there and start filming.

But, supposedly, this house was haunted, and the crew and everybody are just like, ‘Yeah, all Newfoundland… all things are haunted, we all know that. I’ve got a ghost in my house. I got a ghost over here. My mom’s house has a ghost.’ It’s like the norm.

And I’m a non-believer, but after hearing the experience of so many guest stars, Sarah and I are like, ‘I don’t know, there’s got to be something, I don’t think anybody’s lying to us.’ Some guest stars actually left that house, they wouldn’t stay there. They had negative experiences with ghosts, and some of the people that I talked to had said they had had experiences before, and other people were kind of like me, it was their first experience. Now, saying all that, I didn’t have an experience while I was in there for mine. I personally didn’t, but it’s tough to call everybody a liar.

You already mentioned Sarah, and the great cast for this show. I haven’t seen Adam Korson in a while, so it was great to see him onscreen. Maurice Dean Wint, a legend in Canadian television and in film. Talk a little bit about this cast of characters that you got to play with.
TR: Yeah, I’m so happy you brought it up, because this truly is an ensemble piece, and the magic of the show is that group. Each episode we go into a new house, which means we get into a new ghost, which is super fun, but it’s the relationships between that group of people and how they deal with it that I think is the real magic of the show. Starting with Sarah Levy, I found out she was cast right away, and that was it, then I knew, ‘OK, I need to do this project because, A) she’s a great actor and B) she’s a great person.’ So I just couldn’t wait to work with her again. You just knew, both of us were like, ‘OK, this is going to be so good and chill.’

And so, you got to spend five months together, you want it to be with someone you really like. And then, as far as everybody else, I literally asked George and [director and executive producer] Danishka [Esterhazy] after, ‘How did you manage to do this?’ Because this was during COVID, and we didn’t have screen tests and chemistry tests. We didn’t get to meet because of COVID, there were no read-throughs or anything, so we met on set and our first scene was in the big room, the Roman Agency with everybody meeting Susan for the first time, and right there and then it felt like magic. It really did it, just immediately you could sense everybody’s character, and we all could connect and figure each other out, and it was great.

And then, for 10 episodes, we got to create that bond and chemistry. I can’t say enough about the cast, as people and actors.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about a couple of guest stars, Art Hindle and Jennifer Dale, playing Luke’s parents.
TR: Yeah, they knew each other, which was great, and I knew Art because I used to watch his show, E.N.G., when I was a kid. I knew that show, trust me, I only had two channels, we didn’t miss E.N.G., that was on in my house. So I knew exactly who he was, he was great. And Jennifer… I won’t get into too much, because of what I’m allowed to say or not say, but of course I knew who that was too, so incredible. And they obviously know each other, which was very nice.

Surreal Estate airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV Sci-Fi Channel.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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