In the show “School Spirits,” Kristian Flores plays Simon Elroy, a high school student struggling to cope with the sudden death of his best friend, Maddie (Peyton List). Flores was drawn to the role due to its complex themes and its ability to tap into his own life experiences. He explains, “I lost a lot of things and people early on. So when I take a project, I don’t want to dance. I call it dancing — when I read a script and the character isn’t really doing anything. I like scripts that have something to say . . . I’d say that ‘School Spirits,’ at least, just cuts right into the meat. In the first five minutes of the show, you know it’s going to ask good questions and that the creators are up to something.”
The show follows Maddie as she discovers that she is a ghost trapped in high school forever. It is not just a teen dramedy or an exploration of the paranormal, but also a layered tale about trauma, friendship, and love that transcends life. Maddie worries about her alcoholic mother and Simon worries he will never see his friend again. For Flores, playing Simon was an opportunity to explore a kind of love he had been avoiding. He says, “Sometimes you get hurt a little bit too much to want to love again, right? But Simon is just the purest example of unconditional love, because his whole objective is to find the truth in the show. Kind of taught me that you could really love again.”
Flores also shared that he has made a decision in his life that changed its course forever. He says, “A teacher told me that we only have five to eight events in our life that change the course [of it] forever. I think this was the most important for him. There’s a decision I made that kind of changed everything, which was I stopped watching movies and TV shows. I noticed that it hurt my acting, in a way. Alfred Hitchcock said, ‘The more virgin our eyes are, the more we have to say.’ And that sort of clicked in me.”
When not filming, Flores spends his time writing and engaging with different forms of creativity. He has written two collections of poetry and is the author of a novel called “The Happy Ghost.” He is also an art enthusiast and if he were forced to stay in one place forever after he dies, like in “School Spirits,” he would pick the Louvre. He explains, “I would have to be in that museum forever, because that takes months — no, I think it actually takes years to fully look at every single painting and sculpture with enough time to understand it. How cool [would it be], just to watch dates, people go on dates, and people cry in front of these French paintings?”
Flores is open to the possibility of ghosts and life after death but is uncertain about what actually happens in the afterlife. He also spends a lot of his time volunteering by raising money for homeless shelters, food banks, and disaster relief efforts. In 2017, he was awarded President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award for his contributions to UNICEF. We can expect to see him more on our screens in the future as he looks for stories about “textured human behavior, or any kind of layered emotion” and searches for people who share his vision for making important films. The first four episodes of “School Spirits” are now streaming on Paramount+.