Amazon’s upcoming adaptation of ‘The Boys‘ – the acclaimed comic series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson – tells the story of the Boys, a group of vigilantes that stand opposed to the Seven, a team of superheroes who have been corrupted by their own celebrity. But while the Boys may be the protagonists of the story, they will not be the exclusive focus of the show. In fact, the series will split its time between the Boys and the Seven. With that being the case, we sat down with two of the Seven, Chase Crawford and Antony Starr (who portray The Deep and The Homelander, respectively) to discuss the ways in which ‘The Boys’ pushes the envelope, what attracted them to the project, and more.
What drew you to the show? It’s certainly a departure from some of your past work, Chase.
Chase Crawford (CC): I was definitely drawn to some of the comedic aspects of the character. You know, I read the sides and I was like, “This is a part I could have fun with.” It was a real breath of fresh air, collaboration-wise and it’s a dark show and it’s a dark character, so it was a lot of fun for me to switch it up.
Anthony Starr (AS): I don’t know how much of a departure it was for me. You know, it’s adult content, which I’ve been involved in before. That sounds terrible! It makes it sound like I did porn! [laughs]
CC: A little bit! [laughs]
AS: Like, R-rated content. Not porn. [laughs]
Everyone is saying that the show pushes the envelope, but for you, that’s sort of where you come from. Particularly with stuff like ‘Banshee’.
AS: ‘Banshee’ pushed the envelope. Sometimes maybe a little too much, and could be a little gratuitous at times. But you know, it was what it was. This show, I think the source material really pushes the envelope and doesn’t pull any punches. It’s a very… there’s probably a niche market for that kind of content. So when it comes to putting that on air, we’ve had to tame it down a little bit, make it a little more palatable. Particularly in the current social climate. I mean the people that make TV are not stupid. They’re very conscious of what’s going to sell and what’s not. And you know, our show, I anticipate, is gonna do really well. And I think anyone that does bad things in the show isn’t necessarily praised, doesn’t come out rewarded. And so there’s balance in the show in a way that there isn’t so much balance in the comic.
What about your character did you really enjoy delving into?
AS: For some reason, I always play characters that are really dark. I’m not really sure why. I don’t think I’m a dark person!
CC: I don’t think so either.
AS: Apparently, I’m really fucked up. [laughs] But no, I’ll be honest. I didn’t really know. I was shooting something else and my people said, “You gotta try for this. It’s gonna be really great, some good people involved.” And I didn’t have time to read it or really think about it. So I put an audition down, they liked it, and it wasn’t until… I read it and I liked it, but I didn’t really know anything about it. And thankfully I knew it was good people involved, I knew the material that I had seen was really great. And it’s just gotten better and better and better. Without sounding like a cliche actor – which, we always say “Oh, everyone’s wonderful!” – but this is a genuinely great bunch of people. And equally important, the creativity on the show has been so collaborative, so open, and it’s been great.
What about the script attracted you?
CC: I don’t think I even read the script. I read the sides, and I was like, “This is good!” And then I went in and I for sure thought there would be some long, drawn-out process. Maybe even after Christmas. But they were like, “We gotta get the superhero suits made.” So they used my tape for the test and that was it. Then I read the comics over Christmas and I was like, “Okay! That’s enough of that! I’ll read the scripts.” But for me I was just attracted to the character, it was a lot of fun, good people involved. It’s a dark superhero show. I was pumped about it. And the scripts have been great, as well. We’ve got a pretty great writing team, headed up by Eric Kripke, who is some sort of mad genius, I think. It’s good to have his hand on the wheel.
The show is being described as dark, but dark can mean anything from “gritty” to “Oh my God, what’s wrong with you?!” With that in mind, how would you describe it?
CC: It’s got a little be of both in there.
AS: Totally both, man. It’s funny because there’s almost two different shows going on at once. We’ve got the Boys, who are driving the story and it’s really Earthy and gritty with a handheld camera style, much more organic. And then there’s the Supes. As superheroes, ours was much more classical, much more formal. The shots were on rails and tracks.
CC: There’s almost an absurdist quality to it. A bizarreness that is really unique, I feel. Which kind of makes it entertaining.
AS: Yeah, absolutely. It is. And there is a different sort of grittiness to it. But when those really dark things come up… Without giving anything away, if something terrible happens to someone physically, if something… really bad happens to someone, it’s comical. So there’s a lightness to it as well. A lot like – we were talking about ‘Banshee’ and the similarities before – a lot of the darkness in that was actually really dark comedy. So there’s bad stuff happening that you can’t help but chuckle at.
Karl (Urban) mentioned there being something in one of the scripts that you’ve never seen on TV before, something outrageous.
AS: [laughs] Well he was underplaying it because there’s something you’ve never seen in every script. I swear on my life. I don’t even know how they dreamed it up.
CC: Coming from ‘Banshee’ that’s saying a lot.
AS: No no no no. You’ve seen nothing yet, my friend!
The eight episode first season of ‘The Boys’ will arrive on Amazon in 2019.