Munro Chambers, a veracious 24-year-old actor best known for his role as Eli Goldsworthy in the teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation is leading the charge post-apocalypse in a new movie called Turbo Kid. Chambers, who plays The Kid, a teenager who is turned into a real-life superhero after spending most of his life buried in fantasy reading comic books must use that knowledge to save an enigmatic girl named Apple (Laurence Leboeuf). The race is on, to annihilate Zeus (Michael Ironside), a vile ruler in the Wasteland (of evil) and to fulfill his quest to save humanity… but mostly the girl.
Turbo Kid, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival is an action-packed period piece that doesn’t take itself too seriously and when given the chance, Chambers leapt at the opportunity for this principal role, which is his first in a film. Chambers talked with me during his downtime about his new movie, the unforgettable time spent playing Eli on Degrassi and his continued involvement with a great organization called Feed the Children.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Everyone is talking about your new movie, Turbo Kid. Can you tell us a little bit about it and the character you play?
MUNRO CHAMBERS: Turbo Kid is such a unique film. It’s a film that is an homage to 80’s genre films. It’s in a post-apocalyptic world in 1997 and it features a character who is an orphan, who is myself and he lives in a crazy world with characters and people around him that are straight out of a comic book. He gets the opportunity that every little kid wants which is to be a superhero and he gets that chance in this film.
MM: The movie premiered at Sundance Film Festival, and I heard it was your first time attending. How was the premiere and what was the fan response to the movie?
MC: Well the fact that we got to Sundance was such an unexpected, amazing surprise for us because we made this film but we really had no idea where it was going to go. So to get there was such a huge accomplishment. To be there with the directors and producers and almost all of the cast was just an amazing experience. And just to be there for the premieres, it was amazing to see people have fun with a film because that’s what this film is. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has really genuine moments but what makes this film great, I think is how it is this wild, fun, silly film with an amazing love story. You get to see people and we got to hear them laugh and hear them cheer at some of the wild, amazing moments and so to see that reaction is the reaction we wanted from this film. I think we got to really great feedback.
MM: Did any preparations go into this role, mentally or physically?
MC: Mainly it was just getting back to my childhood. The character is 15. He’s very young, he’s very naive. He doesn’t have a lot of experiences with women or older people. He kind of is a kid, in high school again. He’s trying to impress the girl, he’s trying to impress the senior, the older guy and then there’s the really bad bully. It’s kind of a coming of age story. So I had to get back to my youth when I really enjoyed comic books — I still like comic books so it’s really not too far away and get back to that kind of naive innocence.
MM: You must have been excited to play a superhero. Did you ever want to be one when you were growing up or have a favorite that you followed?
MC: Oh yeah. It was kind of cool for me because I always had that dream when I was younger that Professor X would knock on my door and tell me that I have a special power and he wanted me to join the X-Men. So for me to be this awesome Mega Man and Power Ranger kind of character, that was a lot of fun for me and for us to do the stunts with our stunts coordinator. For us to do all these wacky stunts and these fight scenes was really a lot of fun and I always wanted to do something like that so that was really fun for me.
MM: Now will you be attending any of the other festivals where the movie is going to be screening at?
MC: I will. I won’t be attending the one at South by Southwest but there’s going to be a couple more that I’m going to be attending. I can’t make it to that one but the fact that we got to South By Southwest is incredible and I think they’re going to start announcing more festivals that we’re going to get into, I hope. That’s the sound I hear.
MM: When it comes to social media, what is your biggest pet peeve?
MC: I’m not too big on selfies. I think it’s pretty funny when I see selfies. I just can’t do it. I don’t know if it’s because I can’t master it, I don’t get the right landing, or hand angle. I just can’t do it. When I see selfies I think they’re kind of funny. I think I tired to do a selfie once or twice and I just looked at it, dropped by phone and went ugh! That’s the main one. Other than that, I’m on social media a little bit but really what I do is a retweet my buddies’ projects or the Toronto Maple Leafs and there’s not much to retweet about the Toronto Maple Leafs right now because they’re not doing that well, or industry stuff. I should be a little better at it but I appreciate people who follow me and give feedback, positive or negative.
MM: You’ve impacted so many lives playing Eli Goldsworthy on Degrassi: The Next Generation. What has been your take away from the years spent working on the show and what’s something you’ll miss most about it?
MC: Taking a step back, because I just finished my final season a few months ago, back in August. The cast and the crew. It’s something that’s very cliche to say but some of the crew I’ve worked with and I’ve known for the last ten years. Some of them I’ve known for longer and with some of the cast, I’m now best friends with them. They’re the people I call to hang out with, they’re the people I call when I need something. We really tried to make a tight group there and the writers and the producers, I was very fortunate to be given some really great storylines and they really challenged me. That’s what I’m taking away from it. I think they bettered me as a person and an actor. They introduced me to certain topics that I had no idea about and it really opened my eyes to some people out there and what people go through and that was through Eli Goldsworthy. They bettered me in a lot of ways.
MM: It was a huge role that obviously you’re well known for. Where do you draw inspiration from? Was there an actor that made you say “hey I want to be doing that?”
MC: Just acting in general? There’s a lot. If I named them all, I think we’d miss lunch. To name a few, I really drew to actors that had, in my mind, great range where they could do really, really serious and heartbreaking moments and dramatic roles but then they had amazing comedic skills as well. Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Gary Oldman. These actors are really something special. The main ones are Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams, those two. You see Robin Williams in The Fisher King and then he’s doing Mrs. Doubtfire. And it’s like how is that the same person? How can someone have that kind of range? How can someone portray something so real and genuine on both scales of the industry? That’s really impressive to me and so watching them I was like I want to do that. I want to see if I can do that. I was fortunate on Degrassi where they kind of gave me a couple storylines where I could have fun on both sides.