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Not every sci-fi or horror movie needs to be a bold reimagining of the genre. Sometimes it's nice to just watch a bunch of people (including a few familiar faces) on a spaceship as they fend off some unknown attacker. That's the case with Breach, a new, fairly quickly-made movie now out on VOD and featuring Bruce Willis in a supporting role. For star Cody Kearsley (Riverdale, Daybreak), the film's straightforward genre premise was part of the appeal.
"I've never really done a sci-fi film that was set in space where I was able to fight aliens, so that was a big part of the fun that drew me to it," Kearsley tells SYFY WIRE.
Breach, a joint American-Canadian production, stars Kearsley as Noah, a young man who stows away onto the last ship leaving a doomed Earth for "New Earth." (One of Breach's more clever jokes occurs when some characters mock the unoriginal name, supposedly thought up by an overpaid consultant firm.) Noah's on the ship not for his own sake, but to be there for his girlfriend, Hayley, and their unborn child while they're in cryogenic sleep. Most of the 300,000 people on the ship will be under for the duration, but Noah (posing as a janitor), along with a veteran crew including Willis' gruff Clay, are awake and working as a skeleton crew.
And so, it's up to them when an alien invader gets on the ship — an entity that borrows aspects of Alien, Aliens, The Thing, and countless zombie movies.
"Right before we started filming I did watch Aliens," Kearsley says, readily agreeing that Breach shares some DNA with the iconic sci-fi action/horror flick. However, the 29-year-old actor says that Noah is not your typical action hero.
"I think he's just a regular dude. In one of the first renditions of the script, he was just a California surfer," Kearsley explains, though the surfer aspect of the character ultimately didn't make it into the movie, and the script apparently changed quite a bit at the last moment. "He's just a regular dude enjoying his life on Earth — at least as much as you can in this setting, because the Earth is pretty much f***ed."
"The heart of the story, for me, is this guy jumping onto a spaceship in order to be there for his family — his partner's unborn child — and jumping into this military ship," he says. "He's in way over his head."
In a way, Noah's position kind of mirrored Kearsley's, as the actor says he felt like he was learning from his veteran actor co-stars (Willis, The Expanse's Thomas Jane, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier's Callan Mulvey) the same way his rookie character learned from his veteran crewmates while under fire.
"On set, I was looking to them and kind of following their footsteps in real life," Kearsley says. "So was Noah on the ship. He's staying around them and taking the guns when they took the guns, that sort of thing. It was very much a parallel."
"Bruce was fun," Kearsley says of his most famous co-star. "we had to get a lot done, but he was fun. He was goofing around."
Breach makes no bones about being a B movie, and for fans of the genre, that's part of the charm. It's not a surprise to learn that the film was made quickly, and you can see evidence of some moving parts. Kearsley says there was a lot of improvisation, but the fact that he didn't ever exactly know what sort of alien monster he was fighting ("As far as the alien, it was just a piece of green tape on the wall, so we didn't really know what it was.") might've even added some verisimilitude to his performance.
"The big thing in this one is that there's a lot of confusion," he says. "We don't really know what we're fighting."
If nothing else, that's a change from Netflix's one-season post-apocalyptic teen dramedy, Daybreak, where Kearsley and his character knew what the deal was with those zombies they were fighting. And as for Riverdale, where Kearsley plays Moose Mason?
"In Riverdale, we're dealing with some mayhem, but it's high school life so it's nothing too far from what we kind of experience," he says before a moment's pause that should make sense to anybody who watches the popular CW series. "Well, actually it's a little more far-fetched."