Instead of worrying about homecoming and grades, the teens of Daybreak are worried about how to survive after the apocalypse. The new Netflix series debuted on Oct. 24 and is the perfect combination of action and heart. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with star Austin Crute about playing Wesley Fists. This is Austin’s first leading role in a show so diving deep into the world of Daybreak.
Austin also discussed Wesley’s evolving dynamic with Josh, as well as his friendship with the adorable Alyvia Alyn Lind. Even though Daybreak is set after the apocalypse, the show is still incredibly relatable. Austin talked about how Daybreak explores the “political implications and the rawness of the world.” Check out our full Q&A below.
What stood out to you about the role of Wesley that made you really want to really go for this role and be a part of this world?
Austin Crute: I would say Wesley’s passion for self-regulation and wisdom is what drew me to Wesley. I had two substantial audition scenes. The first one was when I bully Josh pre-apocalypse. The second one was when I was teaching Josh swords post-apocalypse. It was really the Wesley teaching Josh swords bit that sold me on Wesley. The fact that he is so young but able to guide someone and himself to a place of emotional and spiritual just like zen and peace and just like guidance in that way, that attracted me because that is a parallel to how I was when I was younger.
For fans of the graphic novel, will the show stay true to them or will they veer off?
Austin Crute: It will definitely stay true to the graphic novel. It really, really does. I would say it expands it. The graphic novel is like a seed for this, and this is the whole tree and you can pick all types of fruit off it. I will say if there was anything that portrayed a graphic novel so accurately, it’s this show – from the fourth wall, to the undead, to following Josh around in the apocalypse and feeling like you’re a part of the action rather than observing a show.
Fans people who haven’t read the graphic novel, what can you tease about this series and how Wesley fits into the dynamic of the show?
Austin Crute: I would say that this show is the most fun, edge-of-your-seat, what is even going on here but I’m absolutely going to watch, piece of art that Netflix has produced to this moment as of yet. It is so engaging. I would say to go into it with an open mind and not really take it seriously, because I don’t think that this show takes itself that seriously. I think that it is a serious execution of a lot of different visions, and we touch on a lot of issues, politically and socially, that we are experiencing and facing today. If you’re someone who likes video games, comic books, science-fiction, you have to watch this show. You have to watch it.
Wesley and Josh, what can you tease about their dynamic as they work together and try and just stay alive going forward?
Austin Crute: I would say that Josh definitely has to warm up to Wesley because Wesley was his tormentor in the pre-apocalypse. They definitely gain a friendship and grow together. Going forward, there is a rockiness that starts to develop when Turbo starts to insert himself into the new life that they are trying to build together. We will see how Josh as the “leader” of this new pack deals with certain truths about Wesley’s past in the present.
What’s it been like working with Alyvia Alyn Lind? She is great as Angelica.
Austin Crute: Listen, Wesley and Angelica have an understanding. It may be a little bit of a blanket statement, but in Wesley’s words, “Cliches are tropes because they’re true.” I think that girls just get along with queer men on a different level because I feel like, for a man who’s attracted to a man, there are a lot of similar realities that women and queer men have to go through in order to attract or stay with a man. Even some level of misogyny is directed back at the man when he’s queer because you’re no longer one of the boys. You are one of the girls in a straight man’s mind. Aly is a little firecracker. She is just incredible, so mature, so articulate, so fun to be around. Angelica is the doppelganger of her. Aly can be so even-keeled and professional and mature and stuff when she wants to be, but then she can just calm down and be a kid when she needs to be. Angelica is a feisty, vulgar, and crazy. Aly doesn’t curse. She is so respectful. So it was funny and inspiring to see her play that character so well in the dynamic between Wesley and Angelica. Wesley and Angelica have a similar dynamic that me and Aly have.
What was that like diving into this post-apocalyptic world and becoming fully immersed in it?
Austin Crute: This is my first lead in a show, so this was my first time really immersing myself into the world of any production. Going into it from the audition standpoint, after reading it I stood there and I did what I was told to do until I think maybe it was episode 3 or 4 when I really started grasping the world they were setting up. The ghoulies can speak and there are irradiated animals running around. It was really cool. But it’s one thing for it to just be some cool world that you’re acting in, and another thing for it to be this comic book come to life type of world. I didn’t realize even being an actor in Daybreak how far they were going to go with that aesthetic, the sci-fi, video game, cartoon come to life aesthetic juxtaposed with the reality and the political implications and the rawness of the world.