‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas’: Jane Levy and Skylar Astin on Max & Zoey’s Ending
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas.]
Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas gave us exactly what we needed to kick off December: touching family moments, plenty of music (heart songs and not!), and an ending that left the door open for more.
While Zoey’s (Jane Levy) perfect Mitch Christmas didn’t go exactly as planned, the fantastical nature of the show allowed her to have another musical performance with her late father (Peter Gallagher). “We were in Vancouver and that was originally supposed to take place outside on the street,” Levy tells TV Insider. “They changed that whole thing the day before and when we shot it and decided to make it black and white, all of that was sort of a last minute decision. That was logistical based, and we all were like, wow, this is why filmmaking can be so exciting because we had to figure this out and it’s actually better than we originally planned.”
And speaking of that fantastical element — Zoey’s ability to hear people’s inner thoughts in song — Max (Skylar Astin) went into the movie with it, too, but he lost it during the couple’s duet of “Time After Time.” With that song, “we get to see Zoey and Max happy and it was a revelation of their love and commitment for one another,” Levy says. “I don’t think we’ve seen a heart song where two people have the same one where it’s that happy before.”
Astin added, “Zoey needed to know that Max is going to be there for her no matter what, forever, with or without the power, and I think Max needed that comfort after hearing ‘Wish You Were Here’ that ‘I’m going to be with you and I will be here for you with or without the power as well.'”
He said that filming that scene was “a blast” and “beautiful,” sharing that he and Levy rehearsed on one of their days off. “I don’t even think I had a speaker. We might’ve had AirPods in and people must have looked at us like we were crazy. I’m lifting her over my head. I don’t think people were complaining, but it definitely seemed a little flash mob-ish. That’s just a testament to Jane’s work ethic and my game attitude because we just wanted to get it right.”
Even though Max can no longer hear Zoey’s heart songs, their relationship seems to be stronger than ever as a result of his time with her ability. “I like the idea that maybe Mitch or the universe gave Max the power as a way to allow Zoey to finally be with him,” Levy says. “It also just gave them great intimacy and ultimately trust. Zoey was very afraid and she seems less afraid, and that’s beautiful.”
Astin says that Max is “a bit relieved” to no longer hear heart songs, especially once it got tougher than just hearing someone who needed an umbrella. Now, “maybe he finds his purpose a little bit more in support of Zoey. And since he’s one of the few people that actually knows about her superpower, now he knows what comes along with it and he’s able to lend even more support.” But since he did have it for that period of time, Astin, who does “think that they’re meant to be together,” wonders if there would have been “a little bit more of a learning curve for him to try as much as he could to understand this.”
But why did Zoey gain the ability in the first place? The movie suggests a few reasons but doesn’t settle on one, and Levy liked that. “Maybe I got these powers because the universe was trying to tell me to look up,” she says. “When I read that, I thought, look up from her computer screen and see Max sitting next to her and this person who, while you’re losing one love of your life, you’re gaining another. There’s deep sadness in that and then there’s also profound love.” As for her own theory, Levy thinks Zoey “got them because of losing her dad and instead of becoming more withdrawn from life to become more involved with it.”
Even though she doesn’t know, she does seem a lot happier at the end of the movie than we’ve ever seen her. “Zoey is flawed and messy,” Levy points out, but “she does have this wonderful community around her of love and support.” And one of the key relationships in her life is with her neighbor Mo (Alex Newell). “The show would not be the show without Alex as the actor playing Mo. He brought so much to it,” Levy continues. “I love their relationship. They’re just such an unlikely duo and Mo is a good friend in that he really tells Zoey the truth, like when Zoey’s being an asshole, for lack of a better word, Mo will tell her. That is the mark of a genuine friendship.”
While Max and Mo are in the know about Zoey’s powers, her ex-boyfriend, Simon (John Clarence Stewart), still is in the dark. “I could imagine that he knows somehow [since] he’s so deep,” Levy admits. “What if he has it too?
If Zoey’s does continue, the star is hoping to “partake in the musical numbers instead of just observe them,” she says. “It’s so fun to get to sing and dance.” Astin also enjoys the performances: “I love the opportunity as an actor and a singer to be able to repurpose songs that exist in the world and make them a narrative way to tell a story.”
Whether there’s another movie or even a third season, the movie has shown him “that our show can exist outside of the typical SPRQ Point, Zoey’s apartment backdrop. There’s other holidays that we can explore. There’s other locations we can explore. These characters are now minted in time, and so we could take them on vacation. We can take them through whatever life has to offer.”
Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, Streaming Now, The Roku Channel