Interview with Actors from ‘Zombies: The Re-Animated Series’

The high school friends group from 'Zombies: The Re-Animated Series'.
The high school friends group from ‘Zombies: The Re-Animated Series’.

Disney’s Zombies: The Re-Animated Series is the latest in the Zombies franchise. An animated musical action comedy, it follows the lives of high schoolers Zed (a zombie), Addison (a human), and the rest of their friends.

The overall concept for the show is that the friend group uses the technology of A-spen (an alien who had joined the group in Zombies 3), and they decide to start their senior year over, having fun and hanging out.

I had a chance to sit down with Chandler Kinney (who plays werewolf Willa Lykensen) and Kylee Russell (who plays zombie Eliza Zambi) and talk about the upcoming series.

Since the point of the show is reliving high school, I asked the two what they would do differently if they had a chance to redo it.

“I would have more fun,” Kinney said. “I would play a bit more, take it a little less seriously. I was very much the teacher’s pet, you know, head in my book, very academically inclined and needed to get straight A’s. And then, out of high school, I was like, was it that deep?

“I mean, school is important: stay in school and do your homework,” she was quick to clarify. “But also, I think this is exactly what the Zombies franchise embodies: that there’s so much more than just the task at hand. It’s about the friends that you make along the way and the journey that you have and the lessons that you learned, and so definitely embrace that side of high school a little bit more.”

As for Russell, she said, “I think for me, high school was a lot of fun, and I was definitely a social butterfly. But I internalized everything and would always overanalyze everything about myself. So, I wish I could have gotten out of my head more and just been more okay with who I am and more comfortable in my own skin. Because now that I look back, I’m like, ‘oh, there was nothing wrong with me like, I was fine.’ But back then, I thought everything was wrong with me. So I would hope I could change that.”

I then asked the two what their favorite part of their character was.

“I love Willa’s strength and fierceness,” said Kinney. “She is a leader. And she’s so unapologetically herself. I think she embraces her individuality and just playing her has inspired me so much and has made me a more competent person. I love getting into my Willa gear for the live-action movies or even just in the headspace for the animated. I definitely always walk off-set at the end of the day or walk outside of the booth feeling more confident. So that’s something that I really admire about her.”

“I love Eliza’s intelligence,” Russell added. “I love that she’s sarcastic and funny. And that she’s a great loyal friend. She’s a joy to play. And she’s just cool.”

The two have played their characters both in the live-action movies as well as animated (there are also a series of animated shorts that premiered July 21, 2023). So I asked if they had a favorite or a preference between the live-action or the animated, and whether they approach the characters differently depending on which format it is.

“It’s definitely using different muscles,” Kinney said. “I think they’re so different that they’re hard to compare. And so I can’t really pick a favorite. I definitely was nervous going into this. Very excited, but it was a new experience: I’d never really done voiceover that much. And so flexing different muscles, trusting the creative team and the magic of the animation and the animators, even our executives. They will watch us in the booth, and they’ll see the way we move our bodies and see the facial expressions that we make. Aliki [Theofilopoulos], one of our executive executive producers, I remember, in our first couple sessions, she would draw our facial expressions, and then work with the animation team to bring what we were actually doing to life. And just trusting that magic has been such a cool experience for me to see.”

“This may sound horrible, but I do have a favorite,” Russell said. “I would say, animation is definitely my favorite. Every time I go into the studio, I’m genuinely having the time of my life. And although I am using different muscles for sure, I love the challenge. I love being pushed out of my comfort zone. And it’s just a very freeing experience.”

I then asked about their character’s growth and what they were hoping to see.

“I’m just really looking forward to people seeing these characters in different ways,” Kinney said. ” I think they are challenged in ways that they aren’t in the movies and you do get to see the different layers to them. The different sides are very multifaceted and multi-dimensional and you totally get to explore that a lot more in the animated series. I think with just the structure of a series you don’t have to stay true to the plot. Sometimes we lose the plot entirely, and it’s like, what are we even talking about? And that’s one of the best things to play and also to watch. It’s so much fun. So, I’m excited for that.”

“I just love the randomness and the comedy,” Russell added. “I feel like because we’re all having so much fun doing it that I hope and pray that everyone has so much fun watching it. It’s just fantastic.”

I finally asked if they had a favorite character other than their own, and they both said Bucky Buchanan (played by Trevor Tordjman). I asked why. “Bucky says all the intrusive thoughts that I think we all have at times,” Kinney said. “He just has no filter. I think it’s so fun to watch and traverse. He’s a comedic genius. So it’s brilliant.”

Zombies: The Re-Animated Series debuts June 28, 2024, on both The Disney Channel and Disney+. I had the chance to screen the first two episodes in preparation for this interview, and it’s a cute kid’s show that is fun.

For more information, visit the official page.

Author: Angie Fiedler Sutton

Angie Fiedler Sutton is a writer, podcaster, and all-round fangirl geek. She has been published in Den of Geek, Stage Directions, LA Weekly, The Mary Sue, and others.

She also produces her own podcast, Contents May Vary, where she interviews geeky people about geeky things. You can see all her work (and social media channels) at

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