The action genre is getting a horror-comedy bite with Netflix day shift. Produced by John Wick Director Chad Stahelski revolves around Jamie Foxx’s single father, Bud, who works part-time as a pool cleaner while actually working as a vampire slayer in the San Fernando Valley.
In addition to Foxx, the cast for day shift includes Dave Franco, Karla Souza, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Scott Adkins, Steve Howey, Oliver Masucci, Peter Stormare and Snoop Dogg.
Before the premiere of the film screen rant spoke exclusively to star Steve Howey to discuss day shifthis enjoyment of working with Jamie Foxx, his rigorous stunt training, his hopes for a spin-off, the True Lies series and more.
Warning: Some SPOILERS are coming day shift.
Screen Rant: day shift has a pretty awesome world and pretty funny characters. What really made you want to be part of the project?
Steve Howey: Well, they dropped Jamie Foxx’s name. I’m a big Foxx fan. Who is not? He’s a gangster and a gentleman. Then the character I play, Mike Nazarian, said he was going to do a lot of action and I said, “That’s what I wanted to do.”
I’ve been thinking about doing action stuff and it was a really cool opportunity. And JJ is a great guy. His enthusiasm is very, very contagious, so it wasn’t really that hard to say, “Yeah, let’s do this.” We had Snoop, Dave Franco, who’s hilarious in Natasha [Liu Bordizzo]everyone was so cool.
It’s the perfect confluence of reasons to want to be part of the project, I get it.
Steve Howey: I was lucky enough to be considered at all.
If Jamie comes on board, I imagine it would be a great honor to be considered afterwards.
Steve Howey: He’s so cool, he’s such a good actor and he’s cool. In real life he’s cooler. He’s the closest thing to the Rat Pack.
That’s great. I know you don’t get a lot of screen time with him, but what was it like developing the relationship with him, Dave Franco and Scott Adkins for the scenes you had together?
Steve Howey: It was very easy. Scott Adkins is an international martial arts superstar and he is very humble and kind. Jamie Foxx, I knew him and his friends from back in that NBA entertainment league we used to play in, he was cool back then [and is still] cool and great and gracious. When you’re egoless, when you’re star-sized and still down to earth, that makes everyone else chill and like it quiet, and there’s a synergy that’s reflected in what the audience sees. If you’re not having a good time, it gets brutal. Sometimes it works, but when #1 is cool it makes everything so much better. He was always great and always telling stories.
Once he was in the process of filming a scene where the AD says, “Here we go, three, two—”. He’s about to tell this story to these two crew members who are around the corner, off-camera, and he says, “And then they showed up, and when they showed up -” “Three -” He paused, he walked into the scene, he made the scene, “Cut! All right, reset” and he then went back to the two crew members and he finished the story. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
It was the transition from the story he was telling in real life to the scene he was shooting, he went to Bud and then immediately came out and then finished the story. The guy is a gangster and a gentleman.
Not many can do that, it’s pretty cool. You mentioned you wanted to get into the action side of things and with JJ Perry at the helm and John WickChad Stahelski is producing, you almost couldn’t have made a better choice for your genre debut. How involved were you in the stunt coordination process and training?
Steve Howey: They sent me to stunt practice. This whole vampire nest house, this whole sequence was all choreographed from the second we walked in to the second we walked out. All of that was choreographed. So I show up and Scott Adkins does these jumps, roundhouse, 360 kicks and I’m like, “I haven’t even stretched, can we just relax?” Then his stunt double does spins and flips and all these stunt guys run around.
Then we go through the choreography, we do the thing, I go in, I fight the one guy, I throw him, I take the gun, I take out the knife, I take out the axe, I do this thing. I’m drenched in sweat, feeling like a ninja who’s super fast, and then we see a replay on one of the stunt guys’ phones, and I’m in slow motion, I’m moving in the mud, in my head, I feel like I’m going i go so fast.
Just to learn differently [moves], how a film punch is completely different compared to a normal punch, it’s exaggerated and it’s the retreat and your body has to go past his face, here’s the camera angle. It was great, it was like going to stunt school. I was just a fucking pig fucked up, to be honest I was a kid in a candy store having a great time. [Chuckles] I’m a relatively tall guy, so I figured I don’t feel insecure, I just said, “Let me just throw someone,” and they said, “You’ll get a chance.” It was cool, man, and JJ was looking for ideas, i thought “can i do this?” And he said, “Yeah, try it,” so cooperative, everyone was cooperative.
I was definitely nervous, but more excited than nervous. I was in good hands and I saw the film and I really enjoyed it. All the guys I spoke to were like, “Yeah, it’s a freaking awesome movie, and I was like, ‘I know it’s awesome, right?!’ It’s a great little escape, it’s a movie, um.” to be a movie. We’re not trying to solve anything politically or socially, just get some popcorn, get some ice cream, put on a blanket, right? Netflix and chill and spend an evening. I’m really excited for that, it’s so cool that you said you liked it too.
Yeah, from the trailers it was kind of like what you said, I was like, “This looks like a good popcorn entertainment movie.” I sat back to prepare for all of this and thought, ‘Yeah, that was fun. I want more of this. Give me more of that.”
Steve Howey: It created a cool world that could potentially continue.
That would be my next question. I spoke to Jamie and Dave and they said they discussed possible ideas for a sequel. Your characters and Scott’s seemed like a really interesting offshoot. Did you both come up with your own personal backstories or did you work with JJ or did the writers come up with ideas as to where your characters came from?
Steve Howey: Yes, but there has to be more to it, I really want to show that this is like family. So we’d get real Armenian actors, not just two white guys playing Armenians, we’d get a whole family that’s this vampire-fanged family, right? Grandma is there making rice and baklava and you have cousins and nieces and they are all in the hustle and bustle. You got the van, how come you don’t have a spin-off? They have the Nazarene van that is there.
That’s what I’m saying, you got the pieces there.
Steve Howey: Yeah, it’s a cool world, man, it’s a really cool world. Dave is now a vampire, but Seth is now a vampire. Jamie Foxx is Jamie Foxx and then Snoop Dogg who is alive at the end.
And possibly a vampire, we don’t know.
Steve Howey: I think if you have Snoop Dogg and a cowboy hat with a Gatling gun, you’ll be fine.
I laughed out loud when he showed up with it in the mall sequence.
Steve Howey: I also love the music they put in it, it was so 90’s and late 80’s LA. I grew up in LA it was such a good vibe with old school hip hop.
Absolutely. I know that True Lies was also just picked up for a full series. How’s that going and how do you feel now that it’s expanding?
Steve Howey: I’m very excited, I feel like Day Shift was great practice for the stunts, right? Knowing what my body has to do and getting involved, a little less muscle and more mobility. I have to go to Atlanta, it’s filming in Atlanta, I’ll be out there for a few months, four months, five months, whatever it is. i’m just excited
We’re not going to do the film with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s a classic that stands alone. We do something different and we do our own thing, but it’s based on that system. We have a great cast, Ginger Gonzaga plays Jamie Lee Curtis, Owen Miller plays Tom Arnold. And then our showrunner did – remember the show in the US?
Steve Howey: A truly underrated show.
I actually rewatched it, love Matt Nix, he’s a great writer.
Steve Howey: He really is and he’s a cool guy. So I just knock on wood, thank the angels and just walk in. But yeah I just hope the suits have stretchy material, you can’t hit or throw anything or lift anything in a regular suit. It has to be stretchable.
day shift summary
Jamie Foxx stars as a hard-working, working-class father who just wants to give his quick-witted daughter a good life, but his mundane job cleaning pools in the San Fernando Valley is a facade for his true source of income, hunting and killing vampires, part of an international corporation of vampire hunters.
Check out our other interview with day shift Stars Jamie Foxx & Dave Franco.
day shift now streaming on Netflix.