First Kill Star Dominic Goodman Takes Monster Hunting Seriously
He got inspo from the Ninja Turtles and Muhammed Ali to play Apollo.
Preparing to be a vampire slayer — even if it’s a fictional one — is no small feat. First Kill star Dominic Goodman knows that as well as anyone. To play the young monster hunter Apollo in Netflix’s eight-episode LGBTQ+ teen vampire romance, the actor had to physically and mentally prepare like never before in his career.
“This was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, and I've done football, basketball, track and field, military training in college,” Goodman tells Elite Daily. The demanding, stunt-heavy project also required Goodman get into the mindset of his character, who teeters between merciless monster murderer and his family’s comedic relief.
Warning: Spoilers for First Kill Season 1 follow. Based on author V.E. Schwab’s short story by the same name, First Kill follows two teen girls who fall in love despite their stark differences. Calliope (Imani Lewis) wants nothing more than to fit in with her monster-hunting family — but that would mean killing her first love, a vampire named Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook). In between Cal and Juliette’s moments of angsty romance, Cal’s brothers, Apollo and Theo (Phillip Mullings Jr.), bring the heat with fierce fight scenes and a compelling B-story.
By the end of the first season, Goodman’s character has transformed from an eager, self-absorbed fighter to a tortured soldier who better understands the implications of his family’s livelihood — and has to face consequences that leave his fate very much up in the air for a potential second season.
Having gotten deeply invested in his character’s story, Goodman has strong opinions on what should happen next for Apollo. Below, he explains how he prepared to become a monster hunter, from training for his stunts to leaning into the emotional dexterity of teen fantasy dramedy.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Elite Daily: What drew you to First Kill and Apollo?
Dominic Goodman: When I first read the script, I was already excited about the fact that I could play a monster hunter. I’ve always loved action; I’ve always loved Marvel and everything supernatural, so I saw this as a cool opportunity to finally get some experience in that world. And I really loved the script. [Series co-writer] Felicia Henderson did The Punisher, and she was an executive producer for First Kill, so that immediately had me excited and curious on where the show was going to go.
ED: The show is based on V.E. Schwab’s short story of the same name. Did you read that to prepare for the role?
DG: No, I actually had no idea about the short story. Even when I got the audition, I still did not know that there was a short story. I read the script and I did some of my own homework. I watched Blade and, funnily enough, I looked at the Ninja Turtles a little bit, because when I was reading the script, Apollo really reminded me of Michelangelo (the orange Ninja Turtle), because he loves having fun; he’s always goofing around. I also looked at Raphael because he's more of the action and brooding character. I was like, if I can combine these two character types, that’s a perfect mix of Apollo. Throw a little bit of Muhammad Ali's confidence in and that's really how I created Apollo.
ED: I hear you did your own stunts for the series. How did you train for them?
DG: You have to be on point the whole time, because if you miss a beat, that's a sword coming at you, or one of the stunt men that you're fighting throwing a punch at you. You have to be ready. And we took hits. It was definitely physically demanding. I prepared for it by doing a lot of cardio, working out twice a day. I would do cardio in the morning for about an hour on the treadmill and then I'd go to rehearsal or set depending on what we were doing that day. Then I would lift heavy weights at night to get some muscle on me. I was also training with swords. I was literally carrying the weapons around in my apartment, literally all the time.
ED: Your neighbors must have loved that.
DG: I've seen some neighbors staring at me. I had some swords on the front yard when I was practicing in Atlanta and a lot of people were curious about what I was doing.
ED: The show is obviously fantasy, but it’s rooted in reality — from the question of “good versus evil” to the pervasiveness of misinformation and fear-mongering. How did this commentary resonate with you?
DG: It's crazy, when you're reading the scripts, I think some of those things can fly over your head a little bit as an actor, but the writers knew what they were doing. When I watched it, I was immediately able to give comparisons with some of the things that are going on today. Even in Episode 2, I think it was when Apollo meets Elinor at the bar, they watch the news and have this little silly debate that turns into flirtation, but it's mostly about us watching the news and people having their own theories about what’s causing the monsters and the possible cover-ups. I think it makes you question a little bit, like, are these vampires really bad? Especially when you see that Juliette is nice. This show is really about identity, trying to figure out who you are. We see that from Juliette not wanting to fit in with her family and vampires. You see it with Cal wanting to fit in, but not feeling like a part of the family. I think the show is really going to be touching a lot of different spots, not just the supernatural themes. There's a lot of heartfelt truth, things we all go through.
ED: The show also delivers major shock value. What twist were you most surprised by in Season 1?
DG: So first off, I got every episode one at a time. I was truly learning everything as my character was learning it and I think the obvious answer to your question is in the season finale. We see Apollo accidentally kill his brother, or what we think is kill, and he ends up being alive still. Then in the next episode, he is turned into a vampire. I think that's probably the biggest twist of the season: Theo turning into a vampire and then fighting Apollo out in the front yard. It was a really intense, emotional, physically demanding episode.
ED: Season 2 is not yet confirmed, but if it is, what storyline do you envision for Apollo?
DG: I think that there's a lot of growth in Season 2 for Apollo, especially given where we left off with him being very distraught and emotional and just not the same Apollo you see in the first few episodes — you know, always happy-go-lucky, always joking around. So as for Season 2, I think that he could go many ways. For Apollo, either he sits soaking in sadness or he lets it fuel him. Especially since we see all these monsters at the end of the episode — there's gonna be some monsters in Savannah and I think that they're gonna need Apollo, so we'll see if he’s up for it.
First Kill Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.