Since the American adaptation of BBC’s comedy series Ghosts started on CBS last year, Román Zaragoza has been playing regular character Sasappis, reprising his role in the newly-released Series 2, with the next episode airing in the US tomorrow, 6th October. Amongst Román’s screen projects, he worked alongside Cobie Smulders in the TV series Stumptown and appeared in a number of episodes of Austin & Ally as Miles for Disney. Also a stage actor, Román was part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival from 2017 to 2019, and he graduated in Film Production, having attended California State University Northridge. We caught up with Román about being part of the CBS comedy series Ghosts, playing regular character Sasappis in the American adaptation of the BBC series and his time filming as Miles in Austin & Ally.
You play Sasappis in the CBS comedy series Ghosts – the American adaptation of the British show of the same name – what is the character like to play and can you tell us about him?
It is such a blast to get to play Sasappis and to see him grow through these two seasons. I feel honoured to be bringing some Native representation to network TV and feel very proud to have a Native writer, John Timothy, and a Lenape consultant, Joe Baker, on our team as well. I love the care and attention that has gone into bringing Sasappis to life, from the writing to the costume to the storytelling.
Was there anything that encouraged you to be part of the show, and what was it like reading the script for the first time?
I was really drawn to this show and character at first because the character breakdown specified for the actor to use their own voice and to not add some accent, even though the character lived during the 1500s. I did not want Sasappis to be some stereotype and seeing this detail, then reading the script, got me incredibly excited about this show. Also, the BBC’s Ghosts is amazing, so it was a no-brainer.
What is it like to be a part of Ghosts and how is it seeing the response to the series?
It is a literal dream come true. I get to go to work every day with a family I love. I get to laugh and joke around all day. And then on top of that, audiences love it?! It is beyond anything I could have dreamt. I am so grateful for our amazing fans. They make it possible for us to do this.
How is it being on set of Ghosts and working with the rest of the cast?
Our set is the best. Our crew is amazing, and the cast is truly a family. We are all living up here in Montreal, so we have all gotten so close because we don’t have any other friends. Also, I have been picking up some French.
Why would you recommend watching the show and who do you think it will appeal to?
I would recommend watching Ghosts because it has heart. We bring the comedy, but also hit you with the feels. The writing is top-notch, the cinematography is always beautiful, and we have some veteran comedic actors. I think this show appeals to all ages and backgrounds. I have heard so many stories of families that watch it together. Watching TV has become such a solitary event, but I feel like Ghosts is bringing us back to watching television with our loved ones. Just trust me. Binge it. You’ll have fun.
What can viewers expect from the new release of Series 2, which premiered on September 29th?
I am so excited for people to see all of the fun we have in store for Season 2. We have some hilarious storylines coming your way. We have some exciting guest stars and we dive deeper into the relationships between all the ghosts.
Is there anything you enjoy most about working on Ghosts and playing Sasappis?
I most enjoy working with our amazing Ghosts family. Every day is so much fun and playing Sasappis has helped me grow personally. He is unafraid to be blunt and honest and to say how it is. I have also been excited to bring more of myself to Sasappis as we discover more about his backstory and tendencies.
You appeared in a number of episodes of Austin & Ally as Miles, can you tell us about this?
I loved working on Austin & Ally. I first worked on that show – which was so fun – when I was a senior in high school and it was my first time being on TV. I am grateful for the lessons I learned from those rockstars.
Do you have any favourite memories from working on your screen projects over the years?
I had the amazing opportunity to work with Cobie Smulders on Stumptown in 2019. I am a diehard How I Met Your Mother fan and, more importantly, Cobie Smulders had been a childhood crush of mine. So, to work with her was a literal dream come true. She is so kind, talented, and authentically an amazing person. I really hope I get to work with her again.
What was it like working with Oregon Shakespeare Festival from 2017 to 2019?
Working at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for three seasons was an experience I will forever cherish because this place had such an effect on me and my craft. I fell in love with Shakespeare and learned so much about the art of acting and performing. I was surrounded by a sea of talented artists, and it inspired me to find my voice. I am grateful for the friends I made there and the work we created together.
You attended California State University Northridge, and graduated in Film Production, how was your time there and what encouraged you to attend?
To be completely honest, California State University Northridge was my safety school. I thought I was going to get into UCLA for Musical Theatre because that is where my oldest sister, Danielle, went to school. Spoiler alert, I didn’t get in and only got into one school. My college counselor in high school told me to try Film at CSUN and it was the greatest thing that could have happened for me. I had to take a few years off from school when I went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but I graduated from CSUN last year and my senior thesis film, This Is Their Land, is currently doing a festival run.
Where does your love of acting come from and is it something you always wanted to do?
My love of acting started very young when I watched my father play Chief Sitting Bull in the 1999 Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun. My father is a big reason why I fell in love with acting. Acting was something that was part of my life before I could remember. However, I really decided this was what I wanted to do when I was about 16 or 17. It has been a bit of a journey to get here, but I am grateful for all the ups and downs that have gotten me to where I am today.
Do you have any favourite TV shows and films to watch and how do you like to spend your free time?
How I Met Your Mother, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation, The Office… pretty much I have always dreamed to be in an ensemble sitcom. So, I am seriously living the dream.
What are you hoping the upcoming year brings for your career and do you have any upcoming plans you can tell us about?
I would love to do Ghosts for many, many seasons, but also would love to do some dramatic films to show my dramatic chops as well. Also, I want to get back on stage and work on some new plays. I love working on new works. And lastly, I want to continue making my own projects and telling stories of the oppressed. Film has the power of creating change and I want to be part of that movement.
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