Image Source: Getty / Araya Doheny / WireImage
In our Q&A series POPSUGAR Crush, we get to know some of our favorite celebs’ more intimate details — from their ideal first date to their most romantic gesture. This month, we’re crushing on “School Spirits” star Milo Manheim.
Milo Manheim is playing dead. Literally. In the actor’s new Paramount+ series, “School Spirits,” Manheim embodies an ’80s jock à la Emilio Estevez’s Andrew Clark in “The Breakfast Club,” ruling over his high school hallways with equal parts charm and vapidness. The twist, though, is that Manheim’s Wally is deceased — long deceased. Wally is one of a handful of ghosts trapped in the afterlife. And while he’s seemingly made peace with being confined to the bleachers and reliving his football heyday, Wally is forced to buck up in the first few episodes of “School Spirits” that are now streaming: he must help the newest teenage ghost investigate who is responsible for ending her life.
“Wally just might be the most fun role I’ve ever played,” Manheim, a Disney Channel alum, tells POPSUGAR. “He’s such a goofball. He’s like the golden boy, but everything is kind of a joke to him, so he just moves through life doing whatever he wants. But then when Maddie comes along, he kind of changes his tune a little bit.”
Image Source: Ed Araquel / Paramount + © 2023 AwesomenessTV Holdings, LLC
At 22, Manheim wasn’t around for the decade his character lives in, so he turned to a vast archive of entertainment for research. Of course, he streamed some classic movies — like 1989’s “Say Anything” — but the actor says true inspiration was found in music like “What I Like About You,” The Romantics’s 1980 hit, and Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself.”
The series filmed in Vancouver, Canada, and the cast lived in the same building during the process, Manheim reveals, which led to a “family” feel among the group. “We didn’t really get sick of each other, which is crazy, so many of us,” he reflects. “But we just always were hanging out and I made some friends that I, hopefully, will have for the rest of my life.” Life and the afterlife, which Manheim admits he doesn’t necessarily believe in.
“I’m sorry. I don’t believe in ghosts,” he tentatively reveals, laughing. “I’m sure many people in the cast do, but I don’t. I believe in energy for sure. I think there could be bad energy around or like good energy, but I don’t know. I have yet to have an experience with a ghost. And if that happens, I’m sure my answer will change, but so far I need to be boring.”
Boring is something that Manheim is certainly not, though. The actor has a big heart — and big dreams. And as his star rises, he’s channeling some memorable career advice he received from a former NYU professor named Andy Schneeflock: “Don’t be interesting, be interested.”
Read ahead for more from Manheim, including his current streaming fave and the one celebrity he’s been crushing on for a long time. And stream the first three episodes of “School Spirits” on Paramount+, with new episodes dropping every Thursday.
What are you currently binge-watching?
I just started “The Last of Us.” I’m only one episode in and love it. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve also been watching some reality TV up here. I’ve been watching “Physical: 100” (on Netflix). I think it’s just such a crazy concept for a TV show. And I’ve been watching a lot of “The Office.” I’m constantly watching “The Office,” it’s my comfort show. And I’m in Spain right now . . . so watching “The Office” makes me feel a little bit more at home.
When you’re not working, what is your favorite form of self-care?
My favorite form of self-care is being with the people I love, my friends, and probably just seeing a movie. I know that it’s like, I’m making movies and then with my time off I go see them, but really any time spent with my close friends is time spent well. We could literally be sitting doing nothing and I’d still have an amazing time, and that’s how I relax.
What is your go-to coffee or tea order?
I don’t drink tea that much. I know I’m missing out on tea a bunch, but honestly lately with these night shoots on this movie that I’ve been doing, I’ve been ordering lots of double espressos with un poquito leche, as they would say here [in Spain].
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Selena Gomez, hands down, no need to think about it. She’s still my celebrity crush.
Have you met her?
I’ve talked to her one time. I was probably 9 years old. I don’t even remember the event. I think it was the Kids Choice Awards. I was about to pass out meeting somebody. My legs were buckling and I was afraid that I would fall over. And that sounds so dramatic, but that’s never ever happened to me at any other point in my life. And I feel like if you ask anybody that’s met me one time, they would tell you that it’s Selena Gomez. I mean, my whole high school definitely knows that it was Selena Gomez. I made that very clear. Selena, I love you.
What’s your ideal first date, with Selena or whoever?
There are lots of fun activities to do on a first date, but a lot of them, you don’t really get to know the person because you’re preoccupied watching a movie, or going to a cooking class or something. Those are later date things, where you can just enjoy each other’s company. But I think maybe — call me boring — but I think a nice dinner and then getting ice cream after and catching a view is a good first date. On your first date, you’ve got to get to know the person, that’s the most important thing.
What’s your biggest turn-on or turnoff?
I think my biggest turn-on is when somebody is funny and when they’re kindhearted. Somebody up here said, “There’s a difference between being nice and being kind.” And I think when you’re with somebody that has a good heart, you can feel it. I just gravitate to those people so strongly. My biggest turnoff . . . I think it’s the way that if you treat people poorly — if you treat a waiter poorly, I don’t know, that just really bugs me. My favorite thing in the world is people. And every interaction I have with another person, I’m trying to make it a cool one, a memorable one, a funny one. And if you’re not interested in people, I’m not interested in you.
What’s your favorite romantic comedy?
I really like “Love Actually,” but I think I like “Crazy Stupid Love” the most. I love that movie and it has Steve Carell in it and it has Ryan Gossling in it and I love them. It’s a great movie all around. I also want to say “Tangled,” because that’s a romantic comedy and it’s one of my favorites.
What’s your biggest personal goal for 2023?
I think this will be the goal I have for the rest of my life, which is just enjoy the moment, and be a little bit more present. I think as an actor, that’s something I’m really trying to do: really be present and not be distracted by the past or the future.
But I think it’s kind of a superpower. If you can take a moment and just live in it and it stretch out, it’s kind of like time control. Life just becomes slower when you really take in every single moment, and I think that that’s what I want to do. I want to be on my deathbed being like, “I took everything out of life that I had to offer.”
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