Mad Max is pretty tough, but would he have survived high school? A nuclear apocalypse seems easy next to the ravages of teen angst. Netflix’s new original series Daybreak combines the two when high school kids fight to prove their mettle after a nuclear explosion takes out Glendale, California.
Colin Ford (Supernatural) plays Josh Wheeler, a new kid at school who has a hard time fitting in. The apocalypse actually helps him, because without classes, teachers, and cliques, the teenagers can just form apocalyptic wasteland gangs. The show cuts between Josh’s time in high school and the apocalyptic present, with Matthew Broderick playing the Glendale High principal.
Ford spoke with Rotten Tomatoes by phone about his apocalypse fantasies, speaking directly to the camera just like Broderick’s Ferris Bueller, and what he likes to watch on television and streaming.
I’m not really like a big cable guy. I have cable, but I’m really bad at DVRing, so I kind of watch stuff a little bit later. I think whenever shows drop, I’m quick to watching them. When the new Ozark season came out, I finished that almost immediately.
I do [have a DVR] at my mom’s house, but I’m traveling a lot so it’s rare that I’m at it. I’m a big fan of Fox’s show The Masked Singer. That’s my guilty pleasure show. That one’s pretty funny. I like seeing which celebrities are underneath these ridiculous masks. I also watch The Rookie. That one’s a cool show. I like that. There’s another show with Stephanie Szostak on it, who played my mom in a film years ago. She’s on a show called A Million Little Things, so I love supporting her on that show.
Probably No. 1 is The Society. I have a friend, Kathryn Newton, in that and I’m a big fan of that show. I just watched the final season of Orange Is the New Black, and I actually still have one episode left, so I’m excited to see how that ends. I know people are probably way past this but I just recently caught up on The Assassination of Gianni Versace and loved that. I started rewatching some of the Breaking Bad episodes for when El Camino came out, so that I had a good grasp on what had happened before. That was such a fun rewatching experience, because El Camino was crazy. I loved watching that.
Daybreak, my show. I’m really excited about that. I have a friend, Kodi Smit-McPhee who’s in the show, in a film that comes out on Netflix on Friday called Dolemite Is My Name so I want to see that. I’ve only seen the first five episodes of Daybreak actually so I really am looking forward to seeing the last five episodes.
Colin Ford: I think that you’re the first person to understand and tap into my idea of the apocalypse so kudos to you. I think that I would thrive in the apocalypse. That was a great apocalypse. What about The Walking Dead–style apocalypse or is that too dangerous for you?
I don’t think zombies are any worse than I Am Legend, because they both have monsters. For me, it’s all about going out and gathering supplies in the empty supermarkets and malls.
Yeah, I think that Costco would be my first go-to spot.
Was breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience a challenge? Did you talk to Ferris Bueller about it? Did he give you tips?
It’s funny that you mention that. One of my first conversations with Matthew Broderick on set went as follows: We were sitting in our cast chairs. So he asked me, “So you’ve been talking to camera?” I said, “Yeah, I have.” He said, “How are you finding that?” And I said, “Well, I’m finding it well, thank you. One of the more challenging parts about it is the fact that you can see your reflection.” Before I could even finish my sentence he goes, “…the fact that you can see your reflection in the lens.” I was like, “Yes! You immediately start to want to analyze what you’re doing.” He’s like, “Yeah, you’ve just got to block that out and get past it.” So it was really endearing to hear that he’d undergone the same experience, that I was normal for having an issue with that and I worked through it.
You’ve got to let it go and shake it off. There’s really nothing you can do to avoid it and sometimes you can angle your body in a way that you kind of miss the reflection so sometimes you try to do that, but with natural movement you slip back into frame and you just got to move past it.
What can people look forward to in Daybreak?
Something that is kind of cool about Daybreak is everyone is decked out in the clothes that best describe how they feel on the inside. Everybody went out in the apocalypse and grabbed a cool weapon or a cool vehicle that made them feel like themselves. The apocalypse allows everyone to be the version of themselves that they always wanted to be. It’s all about finding your tribe, and I hope everyone at home is inspired after watching it to find their own tribe.
Has Supernatural asked you come back for one last flashback as young Sam?
Oh, man, wouldn’t that be amazing? I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up or deter anybody, but no, I will not be coming back for the last season as of right now.
Daybreak is now streaming on Netflix.