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Dawn of a career: Albuquerque actor gets first big role in ‘Daybreak’

From left, Colin Ford, Austin Crute and Cody Kearsley in a scene from Daybreak. (Ursula Coyote/Netflix)

“Daybreak” is part coming-of-age story and part battle royale.

That’s what piqued Micah McNeil’s interest in the Netflix series, which filmed in Albuquerque.

“It was amazing,” he says of the experience. “From top to bottom, everyone working on it had a big hand it making it successful.”

The Netflix series began streaming on Thursday, Oct. 24.

The series is based on a graphic novel about students in Glendale, California, which is populated by marauding gangs of jocks, gamers, the 4-H Club, and other fearsome tribes who are fighting to survive after a nuclear blast.

The series features Matthew Broderick as Glendale High School’s Principal Michael Burr; Krysta Rodriguez as the biology teacher; Colin Ford as the hero and every-teen, 17-year-old Josh Wheeler; Sophie Simnett as Sam Dean, the most widely admired girl at Glendale High; Austin Crute as contemplative samurai Wesley Fists; Alyvia Alyn Lind as highly unstable kid genius Angelica Green; Cody Kearsley as Turbo Bro Jock, the bloodthirsty leader of the jocks; Jeanté Godlock as Mona Lisa, his right-hand woman; and Gregory Kasyan as Eli Cardashyan.

McNeil plays Jerry, a member of the golf team.

Micah McNeil

“Daybreak” is the biggest production that McNeil has been a part of since pursuing film in 2016.

Filming of the 10-episode series began around last Thanksgiving and wrapped in April.

McNeil grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from the University of New Mexico, where he studied film.

He began to do some acting while at UNM to gain more experience in front of the camera.

“I was doing student films and independent film,” he says. “I never wanted acting to be my career. I was scared of making my living off acting. I originally went to college to study computer science. But there was always something about film and acting. I took a broadcasting class in high school, and I started to enjoy it. It’s built up from there.”

McNeil says he’s one of the many examples of New Mexicans finding success in the film industry.

He’s also grateful to be cast in projects filming in the state.

“There’s something great about being able to film an awesome production in your home state,” he says. “If you watch the show, there’s a lot of Albuquerque sights in there.”

McNeil also traveled to Los Angeles, where Netflix hosted a friends and family screening for the first episode.

“That was my first event like that,” he says. “We hadn’t seen each other for months and finally got to see all of the hard work paying off.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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