In this Exclusive Interview, Cody Kearsley chats about his time on hit TV shows Riverdale and Daybreak. Cody also discusses his new film River Road, which streams on Apple TV from August 3.
Although known for playing ‘Moose Mason’ on Riverdale, Cody Kearsley has taken on other big roles. He co-starred as “Turbo” in Netflix’s short-lived apocalyptic comedy-drama Daybreak, appearing opposite Matthew Broderick among others.
More recently, Cody plays the lead role of “Travis” in River Road, a new thriller feature directed by Rob Willey. The film becomes available to watch on Apple TV from August 3.
In addition to this article, you can also watch our Cody Kearsley Interview on the Courageous Nerd YouTube channel, which is linked below.
Welcome, Cody! Going back in time, could you discuss what first put you on the path of becoming an actor?
Cody Kearsley: I actually started performing when I was 3 years old. I went to my cousin’s dance recital at 2 years old and tried to get on stage; my Mum kept pulling me off. The next year, she put me in dance classes.
Throughout my life, I was in dance classes, band or doing school plays. All these kinds of things, so, I always wanted to be a performer. I ended up going to theatre school when I was 18, for 3 years. That put me on the path of specifically being an actor, the medium which I’m the most passionate about.
We’re mainly talking about your newest project River Road, streaming on Apple TV from August 3. How would you describe the film to anyone who is unfamiliar?
Cody Kearsley: We shot that four years ago now. It was only really the third thing that I’d done on camera. River Road is essentially a love triangle story between a man, a woman and drugs. Specifically, heroin.
These two people meet and addiction starts taking hold. They kind of spiral down the rabbit hole. It’s a study of how relationships get impacted, how it takes over your life. How it takes precedence and the harm it can cause.
Compared to your past characters, how similar or different is Travis? What attracted you to the role?
Cody Kearsley: As actors, we always want to dive into the gritty stuff. You know what I mean? I want to get into the dirt of a character. This guy was obviously struggling. There’s some real stuff to dive into the dirt.
At that point, Riverdale had been pretty light. There was not a lot of heaviness with the character. Same with Power Rangers. I’d done some intense plays and I love that. I wanted that experience for film, you know?
What most excites you about River Road being released to the public?
Cody Kearsley: What most excites me? It’s cool to finally see it be out, especially for Rob [Willey], the writer-director-producer. It’s a long time coming, you know? So, to see everything finally pay off, it’s cool.
It’s hard to make a film, it’s tough. Especially at the beginning of your career, at the indie level. It’s tough, you have to pull together a lot of favours. A lot of things have to go right in order for it to get done. The fact it’s out now, that’s a huge accomplishment.
You played Moose on Riverdale, which is of course filmed in Vancouver. How much of an impact has that show had on local actors?
Cody Kearsley: Yeah, for sure. We always have those shows in Vancouver that everyone’s been on. It was Smallville at one point. Then it was Supernatural, The 100 and now Riverdale. Many Vancouver actors get their chance as a guest star or a couple of lines here and there.
I have a lot of friends that have been on the show. So, it’s definitely a good opportunity, especially a show with that many eyes on it. It’s good to start people’s career, it started my career. I know people who boosted their careers; people have got managers from it.
I’ll be honest, it’s hard to book stuff in Vancouver. There’s a lot of American production companies up here. They bring a lot of American actors up; it’s hard as Canadians to get jobs in these. Riverdale‘s been pretty good about getting us in the door.
You also played “Turbo” on Daybreak, which ran for one season on Netflix. Three years later, what do you look back on?
Cody Kearsley: Daybreak is probably the best experience I’ve had so far in my career. It was my first time being a series regular. There’s just more room for collaboration when you have that type of role. The film industry’s a little bit of a hierarchy, right?
When I go in as a guest star, you often can’t say much. You do what they tell you to do. On Daybreak, not only was I a series regular, the producers/showrunners/creators were so collaborative. I got to have input and work with the costume designers, hair and make-up, really got to help bring that character to life.
I actually interviewed your Daybreak co-star Austin Crute (Wesley) last year. How was your experience working with Austin, given the characters’ dynamic on that show?
Cody Kearsley: I love Austin, he’s a really good friend of mine. We hit it off right away and it was great to work with him. Literally, his character on Daybreak and that level of energy is as much energy he has in real life. If not more! He probably has more in real life.
He’s always on, always performing, such an entertaining, charismatic, talented, beautiful human. He’s great, I loved working with him.
In addition to River Road, are there any other projects coming up at this time?
Cody Kearsley: I don’t have any acting projects coming up. Just doing the audition grind, you know, trying to book a job. The last project I did was a really great experience as well, it’s called Shadow of the Rougarou.
It’s on APTN Iumi, the indigenous streaming network in Canada. It’s a miniseries about Métis mythology. The Métis nation is birthed out of French settlers and indigenous women. These two groups joined and gave birth to the Métis people. It’s a mix of indigenous and European culture.
I’m Métis, so we created this web series. The creator was Jordan Waunch, an incredible writer-director. It dives into the history of the Métis people but also blends Métis mythology. Different beings and mythological creatures.
That was the latest thing I did, which I’m really excited about. We’re looking at Season 2 pretty quick here.
What do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2022?
Cody Kearsley: My goal is always to be creatively fulfilled and working. So, it’s been a struggle [in] the last couple of years. Recently, I’ve kind of had a resurgence of creativity.
I just finished directing my first short film, so I’m editing that. It’s going to be a trilogy of 3 short films, so I’m working on the second.
Also, writing a couple of features and working on writing a TV show. I’m really focusing on writing and creating right now. I definitely want to move into the directing side of things. Looking for new scripts to jump on as a director.
I love Taika Waititi and his career; writing, directing, producing and acting at the top level. Same with Bradley Cooper. I’d love to be at the level on everything. I’m kind of following each path. It’s all storytelling, just in a different perspective.