Daybreak: Cody Kearsley talks the difficulty of playing Turbo

DAYBREAK -- Photo credit: Ursula Coyote/Netflix -- Acquired via Netflix Media Center
DAYBREAK -- Photo credit: Ursula Coyote/Netflix -- Acquired via Netflix Media Center /

Cody Kearsley didn’t have it easy playing Turbo in Daybreak. In this exclusive interview, he talked developing the character with an animalistic influence.

Cody Kearsley doesn’t talk too much in the Netflix Original Daybreak. You may think that’s easy to do, but it requires a lot more work to develop a believable character through body language and facial expressions.

Kearsley discussed the development of the character in Daybreak during an exclusive interview with Netflix Life. We also got a chance to talk about the roles he’d love to play in the future.

Netflix Life: What was it about the role that drew you in at first?

Cody Kearsley: I always prefer playing the villain. No one ever things that they’re the bad guy in their story, so just giving him life and empathy and trying to figure out how he can, you know, impale kids on spikes and blow them up, just how he can justify that, was really interesting. And also, the fact that he didn’t speak at all. Developing the body language really excited me.

NL: Right! what was it like? I mean, many people would think it must be really easy with barely any lines to learn, but you have to do it with body language and facial expressions—and then no one can see your face!

Kearsley: It did require character exploration of what it’s like to build an army, what it’s like to have survived all these obstacles. Instead of building a character’s voice, I did a lot of animal work.

What I started doing was kind of goofy, but it was like lion work. In my body, I was trying to be more like a lion. In my head, I was trying to be more like an eagle.

He’s a quarterback, always surveying everything. So, I came up with this kind of Griffin-like body and eagle head. It was very powerful.

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NL: You certainly had that confident look needed to be a leader. But there are so many layers to him. He’s not your stereotypical villain. And it couldn’t have been easy with all those burns. What was the makeup process like?

Kearsley: Long! Sometimes I’d be there for three hours. And at night, it would take me about an hour to get off.

NL: Did it help you get into character?

Kearsley: The first few times, yeah. It was great to get into costume. I’d put the makeup on and have my Turbo music playing. I was imagining what it would have been like with real burns if it was actually happening and the burns healing from when the bombs dropped. It got me into that zone of pain and determination.

But after a while, I ended up bringing my Nintendo Switch. I needed something to pass the time.

NL: I bet! One of the things I loved was seeing his relationship with Wesley. He was very protective and jealous, but he loves Wesley so much. We didn’t get this stereotypical jock relationship. They had this real friendship and then this real relationship. At what point did you find out Turbo and Wesley would be together? Was it a shock to find out?

Kearsley: I knew at first that he was fluid, but I didn’t know he was with Wesley. I really enjoyed the Romeo and Juliet-like story, with them both on opposing sides and sneaking around. It was a nice layer over the war. We had to figure out what was more important.

NL: And then there was Mona Lisa, who was supportive but kept Turbo focused.

Kearsley: Yeah, that was so much fun when she slapped me.

NL: Did she actually slap you?

Kearsley: Oh yeah! I don’t like the fake slaps on TV. You can see when they’re fake, so I told her to go for it.

NL: So, what was your favorite moment filming Daybreak?

Kearsley: There were so many, but I think it was when Turbo got the kid to read out lines his father said. Although, my first day stands out.

I’d never been one something this scale. We had planes and drones, and there were 200 plus people on set and 100 extras. The first thing I shot was when we were throwing the blood balloons at the apartment. That first scene will always have a special place in my heart. I remember the whole morning.

NL: That was a fun scene. Really set the tone for Daybreak. So, finally, if you could do any role ever, what would your dream role be?

Kearsley: Oh, that’s hard. I don’t know if I have a dream role. I love exploring anything different to me, such as a different culture or time period. I’m interested in anything that’s not my personal life. You know, I’m going to think of 10 roles once we hang up!

I like to play characters that I don’t understand what their circumstances are like or what it’s like to be in their shoes.

NL: Oh nice! I do like seeing actors get the chance to really act and push themselves. 

What have you thought of Daybreak? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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