Created by brother-sister duo, Nate and Megan Trinrud, the first three episodes of School Spirits are currently available to stream on Paramount+. The show centers around teenager Maddie Nears, who wakes up in the afterlife with no memory of how she got there. Eternally trapped in high school and forced to haunt the halls as a ghost, Maddie joins forces with both the living and the dead in an attempt to solve her own murder.
Kiara Pichardo and Kristian Flores play Maddie’s best friends, Nicole and Simon. Pichardo has worked on projects such as The Society and Mother/Android, while Flores has previously been featured in Witchblossom and Grimcutty. The rest of the main cast includes Peyton List (Cobra Kai), Spencer MacPherson, Rainbow Wedell, Sarah Yarkin, Nick Pugliese, and Milo Manheim.
Stars Pichardo and Flores chat exclusively with Screen Rant about their characters’ friendship with Maddie and their different reactions to her disappearance.
Kristian Flores And Kiara Pichardo Talk School Spirits
Screen Rant: If you could only use one word to describe your character, what’s the first one that comes to mind?
Kristian Flores: Bullet.
Kiara Pichardo: I want to say determined? Determined.
There are scenes where Maddie can see Simon and Nicole, but they can’t see her. During filming, how difficult was it to ignore Peyton when she was trying to get your characters’ attention?
Kiara Pichardo: With me, it was a lot easier, I think, then for Kristian, because I didn’t have to communicate with her. So I just have to make sure I don’t look at her as she’s passing right in front of me with the camera looking at us. But I think Kristian has a different take on it.
Kristian Flores: I think that it’s one of these shows where you don’t really know if you’re doing a good job. You’re filming, and you’re trying things, and you’re attempting different choices, and you just sort of hope for the best. So it’s definitely a lot of risks, but it was very fun to do.
Maddie is obviously very important to Simon. He seems the most outraged over her disappearance. How much are we going to learn about their history?
Kristian Flores: You’re going to learn so much, but I think that what you could look most forward to is just an extension of their friendship—how much they’re willing to do for each other. Because there will be flashbacks, of course, and we get to see that they met each other so young, and they were friends for so long. They’re kind of like twin flames. She’s, in a way, my soulmate, but in a friendship way. We’re probably going to see…what are the limits to actual true love in terms of a male and a female platonic bond? The show was written by a brother and sister, so it’s almost that.
What about Nicole and Maddie? What really sticks out to you about their friendship in the flashbacks?
Kiara Pichardo: Although they’re all friends, I feel like Maddie, for her, was kind of a rock. She’s this Latina who probably lives in a household where photography isn’t a real job—a full-time job, you know? She has this one person who really believes in her and motivates her into leaning more into her talents and going to art school and pushing her to things that she probably thought she could never do. Losing her probably messed her up so much that she didn’t want to believe it, which is why she’s all like, “No, she’s alive. You have to stop saying that Simon,” and just really being that beacon of hope, so she can find her friend.
How might that affect the dynamic between your characters? Do you think Simon and Nicole can be friends without Maddie? Or is she the glue that held everyone together?
Kiara Pichardo: I saw the episodes play out as we were filming it. I think Maddie kind of was the glue. We were just sort of friends because they were friends. When the whole disappearance happened, we sort of didn’t really see eye to eye on finding her, so we kind of veer off into our own paths in trying to figure out what happened to her. We kind of reunite towards the end, but we do have a little separation thing going on.
Kristian Flores: I think it’s one of those beautiful demonstrations of real life where people want the same thing, but they do different things to get it—different strategies. It’s like husband and wife, we’re not husband and wife, but a husband and wife—they want love, but then they think of it differently. “I can’t confess to you [that] I can see Maddie. You can’t tell me all the things you know because we’re not there all the time.” We want the same thing, but we have different ways of getting it and I think in that relationship you see that a lot.
About School Spirits
SCHOOL SPIRITS is centered around Maddie, a teen girl stuck in the afterlife investigating her own mysterious disappearance. Maddie goes on a crime-solving journey as she adjusts to high school purgatory, but the closer she gets to discovering the truth, the more secrets and lies she uncovers.
Check out our other interviews with the cast of School Spirits:
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The first three episodes of School Spirits are available to stream on Paramount+.