Canadian actor Munro Chambers is best known for portraying Eli Goldsworthy on Degrassi and Wilder on The Latest Buzz. His new action film Turbo Kid premiered at Sundance and has received raving reviews from fans and critics. The theatrical release for Turbo Kid is this Friday in select theaters!
Read our interview with Munro below. We discuss Munro’s current projects and take a look back at his Degrassi experience.
Turbo Kid is coming out on the 28th! Can you tell us a bit about playing The Kid?
“Well playing The Kid was a lot of fun for me, because it was like going back to my child hood. I think every kid who is like 14-15 … they always have that idea of becoming a super hero. I know for me it was waiting for Professor X to knock on my door and tell me I have a special gift. He’d tell me to go to his school and teach me how to master my gift. [Laughs]. I loved playing a character for every kid out there wanting that chance to become a super hero! The Kid gets that opportunity.”
How long did it take to film Turbo Kid?
“We filmed it in a month!”
“Yeah it was a really, really quick shoot. Everything had to go down quickly, and that is just a credit to the film makers and the crew and the cast. We rallied together through the cold winter, and the long days and the tight days to get it done.”
In the movie, The Kid loves comic books, so what is your favorite comic book?
“X-men. I have always been an X-men fanatic. I grew up reading them and even as a kid I would trade them with my buddies. I loved doing that.”
You are more of a Marvel fan than DC?
“For the good guys, yes. I always like the Marvel heroes. But I’m a fan of the DC villains.”
How would you describe Turbo Kid in three words?
“Three words, gee I can barely even try to describe it in a couple of sentences. [Laughs]. I would say it’s a bloody love story.”
Is there a scene that you are most excited for people to see?
“The final battle. The Kid and Frederic battle Zeus and his minions of people. It is a really cool action sequence. It was a lot of fun to make.”
Did you get to do any of your own physical stunts on the set?
“Yes, I got to do all my own stunts except for a few very specific things. There is a fall that was twenty feet and my stunt man Bruno did that. He was amazing. I didn’t do any of the major bike tricks. We had a really great BMXer from Montreal and he did that amazing stuff.
All the fight sequences and most of the falls were me. It was amazing cause I got to really be in them. I really loved that environment.”
You also worked on Riftworld: Chronicles, can you tell us a bit about that?
“Riftworld is awesome! It is set in Toronto, and is also a Toronto based web-series. That was a lot of fun. My character Wes is great. He’s kind of like The Kid (from Turbo Kid) meets Wilder (from The Latest Buzz), who was a gamer. Wes is kind of a stoner, and he is really into the world of the wizards and fantasies. I am too. I am a big fan of Lord of the Rings! Wes is just a really fun character.
Riftworld: Chronicles is about this wizard (played by Tahmoh Penikett) who uses a portal and finds himself stuck in Toronto after one of his spells goes wrong. He has trouble using his powers and can’t return home. He meets a journalist (played by Erin Karpluk) who thinks that he is a nutcase, yet she agrees to help him. It’s just a really really fun project.”
What is the difference for you filming a web-series versus a movie or show?
“They are different. I find web-series more intimate. I have done a couple of web-series now. One was a look into the life of Eli on Degrassi while he went to University. That web-series was a lot more intimate with the crew. Of course the budget is not as grand as it would be for television.
Television is more structured, especially Degrassi, its such a well oiled machine. There is a set day and they run it really well.
Turbo Kid was a more collaborative process. It wasn’t as set in stone. To make a scene sometimes you’d have to sacrifice a lot from the script. In TV and even in web-series the real work happens before you step on the set. There is a lot more thinking in your head.”
Do you enjoy doing one medium versus the other?
“Actually for right now, I’m enjoying doing films because it’s something new. I have not done one in eight years. Before I did the TV series in Canada, I was doing a lot of films. They were fun, but I was really young when I did them.
Then, during my time on Degrassi I did a film. It took a lot of time to get back into that film mindset. It took me a while to take the lead on a couple of projects. Films have a totally different atmosphere. You have this team camaraderie for only a month.
For a series, especially on the last couple of series I have done, you work together for three to five years. It is just a completely different experience. So right now I am really enjoying doing film.”
Do you enjoy watching yourself on the screen, or do you not watch yourself at all?
“No, that is my torture! You want to hurt me badly, you make me watch my stuff. I cannot watch myself. [Laughs].
I force myself to watch. It’s a necessity in this business. You always have to learn, you always have to be better and you always have to strive to be better. There is no such thing as perfect in this industry I find, and that is the beauty of it. You can always improve.
I’ve watched Turbo Kid! I am very proud of the stuff that we have done. I think that every actor when they look at themselves, there is always this “I could have done this, I could have done that” mentality. We tend to think “that was not the best I can do”, but growing is part of the experience and part of the process. That in itself is kind of fun.”
The intro theme for Riftworld and Degrassi are both awesome songs. Do you have a favorite TV theme song?
“I’m leaning towards Riftworld! The Degrassi song had been there for so long before I joined. Riftworld’s is kind of reminiscent of Game of Thrones! It’s definitely a fun song.”
How did it feel joining a show that had already been on the air for nine seasons?
“It was different, especially for my character coming in, we were doing one based on a new generation where the generation before us was graduating and ending their run. It kind of starts the show brand new because when I joined they changed from Degrassi: The Next Generation to Degrassi.
For me personally, it was not that hard of a transition because there were many crew members and actors that I had worked with before. It was not a hard transition for me. Walking into a room where it is such a well oiled machine, I had to get used to that system. The way that they run that ship it was not that hard to get used to it.”
From the beginning did you know how long Eli would be on the series? What did they tell you?
“Not really. I signed the contract, but you never know. With Degrassi anything can really happen! I didn’t know. I just took it episode by episode. I hoped they would throw me some really good story lines, and they did. I was blessed by the writers and got the really juicy story lines. It worked out from there.”
Do you have a favorite story line that Eli went through?
“I liked when he was writing for the school play. I liked when he was off his meds and him and Clare were not it a good place. I liked when he wrote his script. When he was not in control, that was a lot of fun for me, to kind of dip in to his disorder. I know people who are Bipolar, so I really wanted to portray it the right way. I also liked when Eli was dealing with Cam Saunders suicide. That was really fun arc for me too.”
You would find out things as you were reading the script. Did you ever read a script and wonder if Eli survived? Were you worried he wouldn’t live through the series?
“[Laughs]. There were many times. Eli throughout the series, except at the end, was really out of control. There were many times where I thought he could be dead. When he was dealing with his Bipolar and going off of his meds and all that stuff he could have easily took the wrong turn.
I think that every season I was kind of thinking ‘this could be my last season’. [Laughs]. I think that his relationship with Clare really kept me around. The fans loved Eli and Clare, Eclare. I think it was really fitting, since Eli so many times could have taken his own life or could have died, I think it was really appropriate that he got to find Cam Saunders. I think Eli was the one person who if Cam talked to him it could have turned things around. It is a really sensitive story and it was beautifully written and performed.”
As Munro are you team Eclare?
“[Laughs]. I think at first I really was for them. Aislinn and I talked about it throughout the series. They have been through so much so many times. Clare and Eli are so opinionated and have a strong hold on each other mentally. It’s like ‘come on guys, just relax’. By the end I think we just wanted them to be happy. Alone or together.
I was rooting for them in the beginning, then in the middle I wasn’t so sure. They are that it couple in high school, you know, they should either break up or get married, one of the two. I went back and forth throughout the series.”
How do you feel now that Degrassi has come to an end?
“Bittersweet! It really was a great time. It was amazing for me. My time at Degrassi on and off set was incredible. The people I met and the people I got to work with were amazing. It is the end of an era, and I’m really excited to see what will happen with the show, especially now on Netflix.”
What is your favorite genre of television to watch?
“I love everything! I like to get my hands in every pot if I can. I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan (but I haven’t seen season 5 yet). I love Breaking Bad. I am also a sucker for a reality show, like The Challenge. That’s my guilty pleasure. I like anything that can intrigue me. Sometimes it is really fun to watch complex stuff and really smart things. But it is also fun watching really dumb stuff. I think that it is all good.”
Do you have a favorite cast member from The Challenge?
“I know people do not like him sometimes, but CT is kind of the underdog, he’s only won once. He’s the big alpha-male, I do not understand how he has not won more. I like Leroy, but he also does not win, he never wins.”
Being a Canadian actor do you feel any pressure to go work in LA?
“No, not at all. For me, I will work anywhere. I’d like to work everywhere. Industries in different countries have their own benefits. Some are more strong in theater, others are stronger in film. I know they say that LA is kind of the mecca, but I think if you want to be an actor you should work anywhere you can.
You work wherever you find scripts that challenge you, that can be fun. Working in LA would be beautiful and amazing, but I think if you just get to work, that’s the pleasure. If you get to be a working actor, especially from Canada, that is the challenge and the goal. It doesn’t matter where you work, as long as you are working.”
Besides Riftworld and Turbo Kid do you have any other projects that you are working on?
“I just finished up a movie called Country Crush. It is a musical. It is a country musical actually. It’s an original country musical.”
Do you sing in it?
“Yeah, I am the lead with Madeline Merlo. It’s really the classic story of pretty girl meets country boy and somehow they try to find harmony.”
Tell us what makes you nerdy?
“My love for Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, X-men, etc. I am a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings series. I love the movies too. Mainly I nerd out over fantasy based sagas. I love that stuff! I cannot wait to see what they do with the Star Wars movie.”