Born in Auckland, actress Rose McIver has become a recognisable face through multiple hit projects over several years.
In fact, it wasn’t until writing this very article that I, the writer, realised how far back McIver’s filmography goes.
From beginnings in New Zealand to her current role on Ghosts, let’s take a look through Rose McIver’s career so far.
Rose McIver was born in Auckland on October 10, 1988 and raised in nearby suburb Titirangi.
McIver comes from an artistic family; her father John being a photographer and her mother Annie being an artist.
Aside from acting, McIver was interested in performing as a child. She studied ballet and jazz dance until the age of 13, according to People.
She started performing as an infant, initially appearing in commercials. By the age of three, McIver appeared in her first film The Piano, later released in 1993.
From 1994-1997, McIver had a supporting role in fantasy television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys which began as a made-for-TV films.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, McIver also guest-starred on many New Zealand-shot series including Mercy Peak, Xena: Warrior Princess and City Life.
Although McIver was still years away from being famous Stateside, she scored roles in two Disney television films early in her career.
The first, Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook Off, premiered in 2003.
This movie followed a teenage baseball player who discovers he has a passion for cooking, but keeps it secret from his family and friends. McIver had a co-starring role as Hannah, one of Eddie’s teammates.
Despite being set in the United States, Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook Off was actually shot in New Zealand.
McIver’s second Disney film was Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board.
This film premiered in 2007 and was a sequel to 1999’s Johnny Tsunami. McIver played Val, Johnny’s best friend in the film.
Johnny Kapahala was also filmed in New Zealand.
While still a teenager, McIver also landed lead roles on shows filmed in New Zealand.
In 2006, she played the lead ‘Garland’ on Maddigan’s Quest, which was set in a post-apocalyptic future.
The show aired for just 13 episodes but was also screened in Australia and the United Kingdom.
McIver also had a supporting role as ‘Constance’ in another short-lived series, Rude Awakenings.
In 2009, she guest-starred on Legend of the Seeker, a fantasy series created by Sam Raimi. Although filmed in New Zealand, the show’s writing staff were based in Los Angeles.
By this point in her career, McIver seemed ready to take her next big step.
McIver starred as Summer Landsdown in Power Rangers RPM, the 17th season of Power Rangers.
In the season, McIver returned to a post apocalyptic setting, as the backstory involved an AI computer virus having destroyed or enslaved most of humanity.
Summer was her team’s Yellow Ranger and a socialite.
One of McIver’s co-stars on RPM was Eka Darville, who later went on to star on Jessica Jones as the character Malcom Ducasse.
As is customary with Power Rangers, the actors stay for one season only before passing the baton to a new cast.
Therefore, RPM finished just before the end of 2009, wrapping up after 32 episodes.
The Lovely Bones
2009 proved to be a good year for McIver’s career, as her highest-profile project at that point premiered.
She had a supporting role in supernatural thriller film The Lovely Bones, which starred Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon.
McIver portrayed Lindsey Salmon, sister to murdered teen Susie (played by Ronan) while Wahlberg, Weisz and Sarandon played their parents and grandmother, respectively.
The film also featured Stanley Tucci in an Academy Award-nominated performance as George Harvey, the family’s neighbour who murders Susie.
In interviews from the film’s release, McIver said she had read the original novel as a teenager.
American Days – iZombie
By the 2010s, Rose McIver made the move to the US and started booking projects over there.
Notably, she landed recurring roles on TV series Once Upon A Time and Masters of Sex.
In the former, she played iconic Peter Pan character Tinkerbell and appeared on-off from 2013-2017.
Additionally, McIver guest-starred in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
However, her biggest breakthrough came when she landed the lead role on The CW’s iZombie.
The show premiered on March 17 – St Patrick’s Day – 2015.
Cast as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a doctor turned zombie, the character helped solve crimes by eating victims’ brains and temporarily absorbing their memories and personalities.
McIver’s co-stars included Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley and David Anders, among others.
iZombie aired for five seasons, ending in 2019.
A Christmas Prince
Stepping into romantic comedy territory, McIver played the lead female role in Netflix’s A Christmas Prince.
In this festive film trilogy, McIver portrayed American journalist Amber, who travels to the (fictitious) nation of Aldovia.
After a case of mistaken identity (which Amber plays along with), she ends up falling in love with the nation’s prince/heir to the throne, Richard.
McIver and fellow principal actors Ben Lamb, Alice Krige and Tahirah Sharif reprised their roles in two further films, released in 2018 and 2019.
As of late 2021, McIver stars in the CBS sitcom Ghosts, which has currently aired two seasons.
The show has also been renewed for a third season.
Adapted from a successful BBC series of the same name, Ghosts follows Samantha (Rose McIver) and her husband Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who move into Woodstone Mansion, a sprawling property Sam inherited from a recently deceased relative.
However, after Sam suffers an accident and is technically dead for three minutes, she gains the ability to see the ghosts who remain bound to the property after their deaths.
They range from a Viking, a 1920s singer, a 1960s era hippie and a 2000s era stockbroker, among others.
In her role as Sam, McIver follows in the footsteps of Charlotte Ritchie, who plays counterpart character Alison in the BBC version.
McIver discussed her experience on Ghosts in a 2022 interview with Variety.
“When I play a character, I don’t think of it as becoming somebody else. That adds an extra layer of work that, personally, I don’t feel like I need.
“What I like to do is strip away whatever doesn’t serve Sam in Rose. I’ll come to the character and be like, ‘Which parts of Rose really resonate with Sam? What can I kind of hone in on in myself that feels like her?’
“And there’s lots of things. Sam is desperate to be liked. She’s a total people pleaser and wants to get it right — and doesn’t always get it right.
“I can completely identify with those qualities. I think a lot of actors can — it’s probably part of why we ended up with this job.”Rose McIver (Variety, 2022)
Ghosts has proven to be a hit, with legendary Star Wars actor Mark Hamill known to be among its fanbase.
As for what the future holds…time will tell.
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