SXSW 2015 Interview: Munro Chambers & Laurence Lebeouf on ‘Turbo Kid’

Laurence Lebeouf’s first name is pronounced LO-RANS. It’s French, not like Laurence Olivier or Martin Lawrence. Munro Chambers is pronounced just like it sounds. They two star in Turbo Kid, which won the audience award for Midnighters at SXSW after premiering at Sundance. 

The Canadian sci-fi film stars Chambers as The Kid, a post-apocalyptic warrior who finds Apple (Lebeouf) along the way and gives her a gnome stick so she can fight alongside him. Lebeouf and Chambers could not make it to Austin so we got to speak with them by phone after their SXSW screenings.  


Check Out: SXSW 2015 Interview: RKSS Talk ‘Turbo Kid’


CraveOnline: Is Laurence a more common French or Quebec female name?

Laurence Lebeouf: Yeah, it’s very French. 

How did you each get involved with Turbo Kid?

Laurence Lebeouf: Well, I was actually working on a different project in Montreal. It just happened that the costume designer, Eric [Poirier] was working on that project. He came up to me one day with a drawing that Francois had done, sort of a computer drawing of me with the helmet looking like an ’80s weird superhero. He was like, “This is a project I’m gonna be working on. They’d be interested in sending you the script.” I was like, “Wow, that drawing is amazing” so I said yes right away. They sent me the script and I read it and here we are. 

Munro Chambers: Mine wasn’t as cool as Laurence’s but it was basically I got an audition request for it through a couple of casting directors that were looking for The Kid, did a couple auditions. We kind of hit it off together. I really liked their vibe and I really liked the script. I thought it was very unique and it was something I’ve never done before. I’ve never read a script that was like that so I thought it would be a really great challenge and at the end of the day, a lot of fun. That’s what I believe we accomplished.

Did you understand Apple from the beginning, Laurence?

Laurence Lebeouf: I think so, yeah. That’s how I fell in love with the character too, just directly from reading it in the script. I fell in love with the story but this Apple character hit home in a way of going to this naive, curious, uplifting happy character. I like that essence of everything is a surprise, everything is a beauty, everything is magic. I liked that character and a lot of humor came out of it. That was already in the script but we also came up with a lot on set with Munro. They let us improvise a lot of stuff but I definitely right away fell in love with Apple.

The Kid is sort of like the Man with No Name. Did you have a lot of information or backstory or did you fill a lot in yourself?

Munro Chambers: Yeah, we used a backstory that was in the script and I would ask RKSS a lot. He had no name so it was kind of funny during the filming, we explored different names we thought he might be. In the makeup room we would talk about, “What would his name be?” It was 1997, the character’s 15 so we’d go all the way back to ’82 and what was the most popular name then? What would he be called? We had a lot of fun making a back history for this character and getting to know him a little better.

Now you can tell our readers, what do you think his real name was?

Munro Chambers: Oh no, I’ve got to keep that between me an the crew. 

How were your costume fittings and were they both comfortable?

Laurence Lebeouf: It’s always a work in progress, these things. A lot of  projects, I think sometime we really do make miracles with not a lot of money. This was a case of that. It was this costume designer who just came with not a lot of money to create something that would be unique and different and special and weird. He made this costume and it was so much fun going to work in a one piece and running shoes. I thought he added and created something that was totally unique to Apple. So it was so much fun to watch him do his magic and do his work. 

Munro Chambers: As Laurence said, we didn’t have a very big budget for this film given all the things that had to go on in the script. So Eric did a phenomenal job. Everyone on this production, cast and crew, we did a really great job with what we were given and the time constraints and the money constraints. With my character, I was kind of fortunate because my suit is at its core a scuba suit. So when we’re filming in Montreal at negative 20, negative 15 weather inside of a pool, it really came in handy because it kept me pretty warm. But it was very tight and during the fight scenes it got very sweaty. I’ve got to say it was a very unique experience. 

Was the gnome stick a very functional weapon?

Laurence Lebeouf: [Laughs] Yes. It could hurt. It could hurt, that gnome stick. We had to treat it nicely like if it was a character on its own and it really was. It kind of became that and I was in love with it, my stick.

How heavy was the gnome stick?

Laurence Lebeouf: Oh, it was pretty light actually. I think one version of it was made with a real heavy gnome, but the one I use the most was I guess made out of foam. So that I wouldn’t accidentally hurt anyone. 

Munro, did you do your own bike riding?

Munro Chambers: I did a portion of it. There was a lot of bike riding that was done by this 17-year-old BMXer who was incredible. I briefly got to meet him on a walk by. I was walking to a scene so I didn’t really get to meet him on set, but he did a lot of the jumps and a lot of those cool shots. I did approaching The Kid’s house, The Kid’s bunker, driving through the wasteland, driving away from the bad guys. I got to do a lot of the stunts on the shoot which I was very happy to do because I love doing my own stunts, but there was obviously a couple things that I wasn’t able to do that professionals had to go and do.

What were the most difficult fights to do?

Laurence Lebeouf: I think the one that comes in both our minds would be the pool probably. The pool was extremely long and when you would go down in the pool, it was so damp and so cold. We’d have to stand there for hours setting up and doing everything. The crew is all bundled up and dressed up with stuff to protect their feet, and we’re in running shoes and trying to cover up between takes. That was difficult because it was long. It was just a condition of where we were that was hard.

Munro Chambers: Yeah, that pool scene was particularly cold. I was fortunate. I didn’t get into the pool until later on, but for me another aspect of the fight sequence was during the totem pole sequence. There were a lot of times we had to fight the sun. We were chasing it and we didn’t have that many days. Because of that, we didn’t have much time to get everything that RKSS wanted. During filming they had to kind of write as they went and make do with the situation they were given. 

During that process, you’d think they would get very stressed out and frantic and everyone would go crazy, and it wasn’t. It turned out to be very collaborative. They would ask us our opinions of what maybe would work. Maybe this would work. Maybe this shot would work and what if we did this to save time? They took our opinion and respected it. That was a very, very cool, unique experience where a lot of other films or TV sets have their own vision. They have their own agenda and purpose and that’s great, but this was a very collaborative experience and that’s all due to RKSS, the crew and the film in general.

Was having three directors great? Should everyone do that?

Laurence Lebeouf: It’s definitely different but they’ve been working together for so long. They set up this dynamic between them that’s so logical for them that it just made it easy for us. At the beginning I also was like, “Who do I talk to? Which one of you do I go for direction because I can’t ask all of you. What if you don’t each tell me the same thing?” It was pretty clear for us who to go to for questions. Francois would take care of the crew and Anouk would take care of everybody really, but especially the guys. I think their dynamic was so strong between them that it was easy to fall into. It wasn’t that crazy after all. 

Munro Chambers: They really are a three headed dragon, those three. For me it was a different experience because not only is it working with three directors which I’ve never done before. It was the language barrier. With the three of them, their English has gotten so much better now, but back when we shot it, Yoann knew the most English. Francois had the second and Anouk had the third, which was barely. So during it, Yoann talked more to the actors but they all had the same wavelength so they all had the same idea but broken telephone through the language barrier would kind of get to us. 

Have you both always wanted to be action heroes?

Laurence Lebeouf: I never had that action hero thing but I’ve always been in love with fantasy. I’m a fan of Lord of the Rings and crazy fan of Pan’s Labyrinth and Harry Potter and this kind of universe. My dream was to do films like that so this is the closest that I’ve gotten to doing a fantasy, to portray Apple who’s out of this world a little. 

Munro Chambers: For me, there’s always been a part of me that’s always wanted to play a superhero. Like Laurence, we would always laugh and make jokes on set of Lord of the Rings. We’re both crazy fans of it, so with a fantasy future, there was always a part of me that wanted to play a role like that. This one was cool because it was kind of Power Rangers, it was kind of Mega Man, but a very naive orphan version of it. It was a lot of fun to tap into my inner childhood and play around with those fight sequences and live that childhood dream.

Would each of you want to do Turbo Kid 2?

Laurence Lebeouf: Oh yeah! 

Munro Chambers: Yeah, if it was possible to do it, if that’s in the cards, that would be a very fun experience. There’s so much more to the story that can be explored. I think it’d be very cool. I’d be very interested to see what the storyline would be.

Will there be action figures for The Kid and Apple?

Laurence Lebeouf: That would be so much fun!

Munro Chambers: Will you judge me if I play with myself?

No, and I hope Apple comes with a gnome stick.

Laurence Lebeouf: Oh, she has to.  


Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.