Milo Manheim says he is proud that his Zombies movies and animated series send messages of tolerance, hope and friendship into the world.

"I find myself always coming back to the Zombies universe -- whether that's the [film] franchise or the series -- because, behind the trappings of crazy cheerleading and zombie chic and alien core, behind all that, is a family of all different people that embrace uniqueness and run towards acceptance and push positivity," Manheim, 23, told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.

"These are all things that I really care about. They're high on my list of important values as a human being, so I think that what I've learned about doing all of this is the audience is very smart, and these kids absorb -- and not even kids, whoever is watching these shows -- they feel [these messages]," he added. "Now, more than ever, we need to hear these things. Everybody could be re-reminded of these values."

New episodes of Zombies: The Re-Animated Series air Saturdays on Disney Channel and Sundays on Disney+

The cartoon features animated versions of monster and human characters from the 2018 live-action movie, Zombies -- and its 2020 and 2022 sequels -- as they magically get a do-over of their senior year of high school.

Manheim plays zombie football player Zed and Meg Donnelly plays his human cheerleader girlfriend Addison in the franchise.

Their co-stars from the films, including Chandler Kinney and Kylee Russell, reprise their roles of Willa and Eliza in the series.

"Each episode is its own little movie," Manheim said.

Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
"Each episode, we tackle a completely new idea and we really test the limits of animation," he added. "They really wanted to take advantage of the fact that we can do lots of things that we cannot do in real life here, so we put physics and magic and lots of things to the test."

The story lines also pair up characters who haven't typically interacted in the past.

"We get to explore different dynamics between characters that you don't really get to see as much of in the the franchise," Manheim said.

"So, I think the general randomness of the show is something to really look forward to, if you're a fan of Zombies."

Donnelly, 23, pointed out that the series is lighter in tone than films.

"In the movies, it's like there's so much [high] stakes happening and it's very dramatic, but, in the show, it's their day-to-day life in between those dramatic things happening," she said.

"It's just like an average day at Seabrook, and you never know what you're going to get. There's a lot of new characters, as well, which I'm really excited about," she said. "it's really funny. It's actually hilarious."

After years of working together in person, the cast mates recorded their voice performances for the animated version alone.

"It's a little strange, but we know exactly how our family is going to read their lines. I can be in a scene with Megan, and I can know she's going to do it this way," Manheim said. "Even though we are in the room by ourselves, it feels like we're all together."

The actors also have teams of writers, directors and recording technicians to support them during their audio sessions.

"We go through the lines together. They are so funny. They will always sort of let us know how the other person did it or whatever and it just feels like one whole thing even though we're recording separately," he said.

"Oftentimes, I'll hear other people's recordings, and it just brings a smile to my face and fills my heart with love because it is true. This is a very tight-knit group," Manheim added. "I don't think I've been a part of a project that feels so familial, so I think that's a blessing of this all."

Donnelly said she is still trying to wrap her head around the fact that kids are growing up with the franchise since many of them were in elementary school when it started and have now moved onto high school, while new young fans continue to join the fandom.

"It's really surreal," she added. "It's definitely a blessing and I'm so grateful."