Continuing on with our New York Comic Con 2019 Daybreak coverage, our second roundtable interview was with the legendary Matthew Broderick and Krysta Rodriguez. We were fortunate enough to chat with them about this new apocalyptic Netflix series. The duo, who happen to be the only two main adults in the show, discussed what it was like to film the series, their favorite scenes, and more!
Check out our transcript of the interview below!
NYCC Press: What was the audition process like for Daybreak and what is your worst audition horror story?
Rodriguez: [Laughing] Well, actually just told this audition story at the other table because it’s crazy. This is very different from any audition I’ve ever had and I live in New York, full-time, and they were auditioning in LA. So when that happens, you have to put yourself on tape, and the character that I play is the witch, and she is very unlike anything I’ve ever read, and I was a little nervous about knowing how to play it. When that happens, I try to find an action that I feel like the character would be doing and I happen to be eating pistachios at the time and I was like ‘You know? This woman is hungry!’ She is a ghoulie, she wants to eat people and she can’t, so maybe she’s constantly trying to eat other things. So I grab a handful of pistachios, shells and all, shoved them in my cheeks, and did the whole scene with pistachios falling out of my mouth, like stuck in my teeth and stuff. And I legit sent it to my agent with the headline “Don’t ever show this to anybody” and then three days later they called with the offer to do it. So there was no callback, there was no test, there was no meeting of anybody. They were like, you went for it and do it. So it’s definitely the fastest and most ridiculous audition I ever had and did not feel like it was going to pan out. In fact I thought it would come to haunt me forever and here I am! So that was great!
My horror audition story is actually kind of a weird story. I loved the show The Comeback, it was a Lisa Kudrow show, from its inception and she had this great episode where she’s an actress and she has one line in the series and she spends all weekend trying to give different — [to Broderick] Did you ever watch this show? — different versions of the line and it’s, “I don’t want to see that.” So I had an audition for a movie where I had one line and I came in and I did the line and the director was like super bored and he was like, “I mean, do you want to do it another way?” And I was like, “I don’t want to see that.” It was like 2005, the show got canceled, no one ever watched it and I was like throwing out this super insider-y thing and the guy was like, “What?” and I was like, “Comeback? No Comeback fans? Nobody? Ok, cool!” and then he was like, “Do you want to start?” and I was like, “These pretzels are making me thirsty!” which is a Seinfeld reference of when Kramer only had one line in a movie and he [the director] was like, “Are you done?” and I’m like “Yeah, I gotta, I gotta go,” and that was it. So I learned not to make super insider-y sitcom jokes at audition because people aren’t funny! They don’t get it!
Broderick: I didn’t audition for it [Daybreak].
NYCC Press: Do you have a worst horror story audition?
Broderick: I’ve had some very awkward hotel room meetings.
Broderick: No not like that, there were no bathrobes but—
Rodriguez: Where you have to keep it going?
Broderick: Yeah or just, “Well, just read it with me,” on a couch and some sweets and terrible, halfway through I know I’m not getting it but I’m still doing it. I had a lot of those. I can’t think of a single horror story right now.
Rodriguez: He’s had a great career!
Broderick: I’ve done the thing where you start and they say, “Thank you!”
Rodriguez: Yikes! Have they ever answered the phone? That happened to me once, where they answered the phone in the middle of it.
Broderick: Where they answered the phone? No. I was reading a monologue from a book and the producer, it was just the producer, and he didn’t appear to speak English even, and I was doing this long monologue and I just looked up for a second from the book and I saw him doing that [looking at his watch].
NYCC Press: [To Broderick] So this is your first role as a series regular on television. What was that transition like and what was it like going back and playing a role where you are back in high school?
Broderick: Yeah, it was the first, I believe. It was sort of like doing a movie but it just goes on and on.
Rodriguez: The endorsement for television! It’s like a movie but it goes on and on!
Broderick: Well I mean the experience of shooting it is that you don’t go home and, I mean you, I don’t know how to explain it!
Rodriguez: But we were also on location. It’s even a different animal to be away from home when you’re filming something, too.
Broderick: Yes, so we were in New Mexico, but it’s very nice to already know your character and everything and get to just keep doing it and not have to start fresh all the time. So I think it’s a very nice idea to do a part that continues. And the back in high school thing, it didn’t feel like I was back in high school, it just was a part, I don’t know how to explain it but it did not feel like going back to high school. I was a principal in a school, I don’t remember high school. I remember doing Ferris Bueller, which I guess is what you mean, but it didn’t seem related to it to me.
NYCC Press: What was the most challenging aspect of filming?
Rodriguez: Yeah, I was going to say Albuquerque.
Broderick: Dust and wind.
Rodriguez: It was dusty, windy, it was cold. It’s a desert but it’s cold, it snows, you know. I think it was elements, for sure. We had a great team out there.
Rodriguez: It was an amazing crew of people.
Rodriguez: But you know, we had to do a lot of. A lot of stuff we’re inside for, school or—
Broderick: Yeah, and beautiful, huge sound stage. Albuquerque has become very—
Broderick: Yeah, I mean it was like making a movie in a big Hollywood studio. There was no feeling of ‘second city’ or anything like that at all. It was very, very sophisticated.
Rodriguez: But yeah, I definitely think the challenge would have been that, is wind and things like that.
Nerds and Beyond: Is there a specific scene that you’re excited for the audience to see?
Rodriguez: I do have a couple. One of my favorite parts about the show is that I have this really lovely relationship with Angelica, played by Aly Lind, and she’s twelve and we form this special bond because I’m a biology teacher and she’s basically a prodigy and we save the world together and so there are some scenes of us becoming a partnership and one in particular where, even when I read the script I thought ‘oh, this is going into a genre thing that’s sort of like a trope’ and then they flip it on its head and it becomes sort of a beautiful, somewhat feminist manifesto of these two women who are grasping to each other and learning to be themselves and not have to be a certain way anymore and the apocalypse somehow has afforded that opportunity to them, where they don’t have to fit into any sort of societal mold. So, there are a couple scenes of that, that I’m really excited about and then later on in the season I have an episode. We each get one that tells the story from our own perspective and so episode seven is where I get to tell my story, the witch gets to say some stuff! [To Broderick] Do you have a favorite scene that you’re looking forward to?
Broderick: I can’t think of one. I like the scenes with you and I in the same episode.
Rodriguez: Episode Seven. We have a torrid back story. We have a deep history in this show, yeah.
Broderick: And I have some nice scenes with Sophie and Colin and I can’t think of a favorite one, you know.
Rodriguez: You have some good stuff being able to like be a good mentor sometimes, but also be funny, like you have some really funny stuff.
Broderick: Yeah, hopefully it’s funny.
Rodriguez: It’s funny. I’ve seen it, it’s funny.
NYCC Press: What aspect of your character did you like the most or surprised you guys the most?
Rodriguez: I loved that no one ever told me like ‘whoa! Ok, that’s too gross’ or like ‘you’re going way too far now.’ Everyone was just like ‘more, go, do it!’ and it really encouraged me to just like, I mean I lick the floor at some point, it’s just ridiculous and when you have people around you that are like ‘have a ball!’ you really get to embody everything about the character. So I was really surprised that I would enjoy what at first seemed to be like this zany sort of like wacky character on a kids’ show, turns out that it’s not. It’s a really cool and interesting show where I get to do whatever the heck I want which is great!
Broderick: Yeah, I had a well-liked principal of a school but then he kind of gets to, you know there’s been some anger that has pent up over the years with kids and budget cuts and what it is to run a school and he gets to express some of that.
Rodriguez: Yeah, I think both of us, as the administrators of people of the school, have a disillusionment. We start wanting to save the world, you know. And then a disillusionment with how it’s run bureaucratically and we take different approaches to solve that.
NYCC Press: What was it like being one of the very few adults in the show, surrounded by so many children?
Broderick: Well I didn’t, I mean [laughs]. She’s [Rodriguez] pretty much an adult so. [To Rodriguez] You are an adult.
Rodriguez: I am the adult, I’m a full-fledged adult, yes!
Broderick: You’re not as much of an adult as I am. But you’re an adult.
Rodriguez: No, but I’m not as much of a kid as they are [laughs]!
Broderick: Right, so I found it possible to talk to Krysta [Rodriguez] and Jeff [Fierson] and various directors and I would hang out around on the monitor and talk adult language and then I would go back on to the scene and people were talking about things that I mostly didn’t know what anybody was talking about!
Rodriguez: Yeah, this was the first time I really felt like an adult, too. Because of the way that the kids talk now that I had no idea.
Broderick: I had no references in common, nothing!
Rodriguez: I was like is he speaking in? I don’t know what he saying, at all! And that was the first time I really had that panic of like ‘oh shit I don’t know any of this!’
Broderick: But I have kids, but I think your own kids—
Rodriguez: New York kids are different too.
Broderick: They also, they know you don’t know anything so they explain everything—
Rodriguez: And they don’t want to tell you half of it.
Broderick: But actual kids, they don’t give a damn—
Rodriguez: They just rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle! But yeah, it definitely, like after a while you’re like there are really no other adults here. It was noticeable!
Broderick: A lot of young people! But it gave me a new perspective!
Rodriguez: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, they [NYCC Press] turned it off already, you don’t have to take it back!
Stay tuned for our third NYCC 2019 Daybreak roundtable interview with Austin Crute and Alyvia Alyn Lind!