Daybreak’s Colin Ford grew up skating in LA while Austin Crute calls samurai Wesley a pioneer of queer representation for millennials
Netflix’s new post-apocalyptic meta-comedy ‘Daybreak’ has received praise far and wide. The show features a world where all the adults have either died or turned into “ghoulies” after a nuclear attack, and all the kids are now part of Mad Max-like tribes, fighting to survive.
Show protagonists Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) and Wesley Fists (Austin Crute) recently joined Mea WorldWide (MEAWW) for a chat about the show. They spoke about training for their parts, learning about Samurai culture, behind-the-scenes details and more.
While Ford describes ‘Daybreak’ as ‘Mad Max’ meets ‘Zombieland’ meets ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, Crute admits he did not know anything about Ferris Bueller before the show and got to learn all about the various easter eggs and references only while shooting it. But the 80s high school movie with a cult following is not all they learned about.
“I learned a lot about Samurai culture and Japanese culture,” said Crute who plays a jock-turned-ronin (a samurai without a lord or master during the feudal period of Japan) in the series. He learned about Bushido, the unwritten Samurai code of conduct that suggests a true warrior must hold loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion and honor as important, above all else.
“I literally sat there and memorized -- I probably could tell you all the little things right now; all the tenets,” said Crute. On the kind of stunts they had to do for the show -- and the show has a lot of choreographed fight and chase sequences -- Ford said, “We both had some different training, like I had a little bit of sword training but not as much as Austin.”
He added, “Josh is a skater in the apocalypse; I grew up skating the streets of ... L.A., and I thought that if acting didn’t work out, at 14, Pro Skating looked like a promising career. Obviously, it wasn’t as good as Josh’s, so Tom Ryan, my double, helps me out, making my moves look super cool! But skating is something that’s been a part of my life and I’m super happy to bring it on camera.”
Crute, on the other hand, had two body doubles: Brendan Shaw and Antwon Lamar. “They both doubled me; like they switched off. Brendan was my main double and he was teaching me all types of stuff with that sword,” said Crute. But for him, the main challenge was football training, after all his character is a jock in the series; and Crute revealed he is no football player at all.
“That was like the most daunting training for me because I went to UNM (the University of New Mexico) and I went to their line-backing coach and he actually taught me all the stances and all that stuff,” he said. “I would say that that felt more unnatural to me than the swords, even though I had never touched swords before.”
On playing a queer character on the show -- yes, Wesley’s character has many, many layers -- Crute said, “I think that there are so many characters that play on the tropes of what a gay or queer character is supposed to be, and I think Wesley just kind of like, ‘s-word’s on all of that… He’s not queer enough for the queer people; he’s athletic enough for the athletic people, but if he was not mean in the pre-apocalypse, would he have had that hold that group of people? It removes some of the stigmas; millennial kids today aren’t trying to get labels… and I think Wesley is kind of the pioneer representation for those kinds of kids. The millennial queer high schooler.”
‘Daybreak’ is out on Netflix.