NYCC Interview: Colin Ford and Sophie Simnett Discuss ‘Daybreak’
Nerds and Beyond had the wonderful opportunity at New York Comic Con 2019 to participate in the press room for the upcoming Netflix series, Daybreak. This new post-apocalyptic series, based on the New York Times Graphic Novel Bestseller by Brian Ralph, premiered today, October 24! We’re excited to bring you the first of five NYCC interviews with the cast and executive producers of Daybreak.
First up, we have transcribed the roundtable interview that we participated in with Colin Ford (Supernatural, Under the Dome) and Sophie Simnett (The Lodge)!
NYCC Press: Our readers are aspiring actors and submitted some questions for you guys. How do you get on Netflix? How did you hear about these parts?
Ford: I have an agent and a manager, and so I got a breakdown email that I had an audition. But for someone who is trying to break into the industry, I would suggest that they get with an agent and a manager. That’s who sends me my appointments.
Simnett: Because I’m based in London, I did a lot of my own work, like films and theater. All of the networking, meeting people, going to the theater, meeting people at functions snowballs into meeting agents and meeting people who are interested and believe in you and have seen you act. So you go through a couple rubbish agents. I go to my agent now who is fantastic and then did some English work and then eventually got an American manager when I got a bit more international and got the audition through him. I self-taped it from England and then got the job. Someone hired me, somehow, and now I’m here!
NYCC Press: You guys break the fourth wall, which is shown a lot in the trailer. What’s that like?
Ford: It was new for me, not something I’ve ever done before. It was interesting, the first time I spoke with Matthew [Broderick], we had a scene together and I think it was him who broke the ice and said, “Hey, so like what’s breaking the fourth wall like? What’s talking to the camera like?” and I was like it’s really interesting, I’m getting used to it. One of the weirder things about it is the fact that you can see yourself in the reflection of the lens and before I could even say ‘before you can see yourself’ he was like, “The fact that you can see yourself in the lens” and I was like yeah, man, how’d you know? And he was like, “That was one of the things I had to get over as well,” so it was interesting to see that he dealt with the same thing that I was dealing with at the beginning, but I really like it. I think it’s a nice way to invite the audience on the journey that we’re coming on to kind of set up the show and explain the way. This apocalypse is different than most apocalypses so it kind of sets up the world that we live in.
NYCC Press: How did you guys prepare for the roles? Did you watch a lot of apocalyptic movies?
Simnett: I hadn’t, and I love all kind of films, but apocalypse and zombies was never something that immediately was attractive to me and I wanted to go in to this really fresh. I don’t think I was ready for when we turned up on set and there’s like two hundred school kids dressed as ghoulie jocks, running around with knives coming out of their elbows and golf sticks. So that kind of stuff is crazy but I mean, it’s high school; we’ve all been there. It was interesting to go back, and we were just talking about it, when we stepped onto the set, they built this high school and so much of it was done for us. We were there already in the world. We were in Albuquerque, we were in the full desert where the apocalypse would be most sort of brutal.
Ford: Absolutely. It was definitely easy to escape in the scenario that the crew created for us. They created such a beautiful set for us, such amazing costumes from Michael Ground, our costume designer, so it was really easy to once the cameras were all set and we were in this apocalyptic environment, it was easy to press play and just kind of play.
Nerds and Beyond: We remember you, [Ford], as Sam Winchester on Supernatural, and he also dealt with his share of apocalypses. So how is your character on Daybreak different from Sam?
Ford: I think that Sam and Dean, it’s their duty, it’s their job to save the world. At least they think it is, especially after their father left. Whereas Josh, I feel like when he’s plopped into the apocalypse, he goes from being a ‘C’ student, an average guy in school, to being the best version of himself and I think that’s kind of the shift, you know? Sam and Dean are always striving to save the day and Josh just wants to fit in. I think that where Sam and Dean are much more leaders in their own right, Josh is a leader by his peers, his peers would call him a leader but I don’t think he would ever self-describe himself as a leader. So I think that’s where they [Sam vs. Josh] are a little bit different. I think he’s a little more timid, and when the apocalypse comes he just wants to find Sam [Simnett] and live the best version of his life that he can live.
Simnett: But it’s interesting that the wants of Josh, as much as he changes before and after the apocalypse, his needs of just wanting to fit in doesn’t. So it’s kind of like showing how you adapt to that in a different environment, it’s a basic idea of change, just in an apocalypse.
Ford: Absolutely! I think that he wants to fit in somewhere, he wants to have a home and it takes other people being like ‘hey, we’re here, we want to be part of your family’ for him to be like oh, this can be home for me.
NYCC Press: Is there anything you guys can tease about your characters’ journey for the show so far?
Simnett: I think that you can’t guess what’s going to happen in the show, like it’s so bonkers and every characters’ journey just goes in a way that we had no idea. We were getting the scripts whilst we were filming and we were phoning each other like ‘Did you read the episode? Do you know what happens? This is crazy!’ and it’s nice to know that each character gets their own story told in the episodes to that’s something definitely to look forward to.
Ford: I’m trying to think of something to tease. I was going to say [whispering to Simnett about whether he should say something]. You never know what might happen to something if they get bit by a ghoulie.
NYCC Press: What do you think makes ‘Daybreak’ so unique?
Simnett: I think that [looking at Ford], what? Huh?!
Ford: I think we were going to say the same thing, I think we were going to say the fact that–
Simnett: Are we now?!
Ford: It’s not like anything we’ve ever seen before. There’s nothing like it out there. The only way to describe it when people ask me, quickly I give them three movie titles, Mad Max, Zombieland, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Which don’t go together!
Simnett: It’s genre-bending, like it’s a coming of age story, it’s a samurai saga, it’s a comedy, it’s a drama, it’s an action film, you know, it’s got a pulsating score. It does have everything, it’s something that we’re all really proud of because of that. I think that’s really the main thing.
Ford: Originality is so like …
Simnett: And the characters are so unique!
Ford: They’re like uniquely relatable, though.
Simnett: If all of us ever walked down the street, people would be like ‘where are they going?’ Even when we were in Albuquerque, they’d be like ‘who’s this group of people?’ We don’t match, but we all do and it’s that beauty of not everyone has to be the same to come together. That’s what’s really nice about the show.
NYCC Press: After your experience with the show, what would you pick for your weapon of choice for the apocalypse?
Ford: [To Simnett] What would you pick? You wanted numb chucks before.
Simnett: I did, yeah! But they weren’t in the show.
Ford: But you can have them now!
Simnett: I really wanted numb chucks in the show, ok! I really pushed for it! Yeah, I think I’d have them. Although, I just feel like it’s so quick, you got to have something which you can do quickly, even if you have a sword or something, you got to learn.
Ford: I feel like if you have a sword you also got to have like throwing knives as well.
Simnett: I’d have a sauce pan!
Simnett: Like a frying pan.
Ford: Oh, I like that!
Simnett: Like the girl in Tangled! She’s getting stuff done. She’s not messing about.
NYCC Press: What tribe would you guys be in?
Ford: I think I would be part of the Daybreakers.
Simnett: Yeah, I mean we know them the best and they’re the most interesting in that they’re eclectic, they’re everyone.
Ford: They’re unique. It’s kind of like the Island of Misfit Toys.
Simnett: And everyone’s there because they’re searching for something that can be satisfied in the tribe.
Ford: I think everyone is looking for family, right?
Simnett: It’s a family tribe […] it is cool, when they were casting all the tribes and everyone was coming in, it was like oh, that’s exactly how I imagined the tribes […] it’s interesting to see. I bet there’ll be some sort of BuzzFeed quiz which is like ‘what tribe do you belong to?’ and I’m going to take it and be like I wonder what tribe I’ll be!
NYCC Press: How many tribes are there?
Ford: There’s a lot.
Simnett: And they grow, like there’s more and more.
Ford: There’s more that we don’t see as well and there’s definitely much more room for Daybreak to grow.
Simnett: Yeah, we were just in Glendale so …
Ford: There’s quite a bit we haven’t seen yet but I’d say that there’s a good ten tribes.
Simnett: Plus! Remember when they did that list on the board? It was crazy! It was exciting hearing them create ideas and what’s next.
Stay tuned for the more Daybreak interviews. Next up is Matthew Broderick and Krysta Rodriguez!