From showrunner Eric Kripke and based on the best-selling comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, the eight-episode Amazon Prime Video original series The Boys is an irreverent look at what happens when the popular and influential superheroes abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good, and often need someone to cover up all of their dirty deeds and secrets for them. But when Hughie (Jack Quaid) suffers a devastating loss as a result of one Supe’s recklessness, he becomes so outraged that he teams up with Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and The Boys, in order to seek out their own brand of vigilante justice.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Chace Crawford (who plays The Deep, one of the superheroes that makes up The Seven) talked about his reaction to this material, how fast the casting process went for him, the vibe on set, getting to wear a superhero suit every day, his craziest moment on the series, the conversations that happened when it came to the #MeToo moment between The Deep and Starlight (Erin Moriarty), whether viewers will change their opinion about his character by the end of the season, and how much this cast hangs out, off set.
Collider: This is not the kind of character that you come across every day, or probably ever. When this came your way, what was your reaction to it?
CHACE CRAWFORD: The casting happened so fast. I just read the sides first and was like, “Oh, my god, this is amazing! I know this character. I know this guy. I think I have a good take on it.” When I went into the room, I wanted to take a risk. I wanted to just own it and do my own thing. I improved a bit and I had them laughing in the room, and that was it. They used that casting tape for the test. And then, I read the script, and the script was wild, obviously. It all wrapped up pretty quickly because they had to get us into the fittings for the superhero suits. [Eric] Kripke sent me all of the comics and I got to check out the comic book world, which was absolutely insane. There’s nothing out there like it. To make fun of the superhero genre and poke fun at these satirical characters is my type of superhero show.
When I spoke to Antony Starr, he told me that he just didn’t believe that they would see him as that character and that he’d never get cast. Did you have a moment, where you wondered if you could pull off being a superhero, or were you just totally in for this?
CRAWFORD: I was so into it. I was so into the comedic element of my character. I still think it was cast so well. Antony was cast so well, for Homelander. He’s so funny. Kripke knew what he wanted. We all had similar experiences, reading for it, where we just went for it and owned it, and that’s what ended up winning the job. I was just in. I was like, “I love this!” This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had gone to work.
Clearly, when you’re giving material like this to people, whether it’s actors or directors or whoever, you must learn really quickly, if somebody is down for it.
CRAWFORD: Yeah, you get the vibe on set, really quickly. I was super impressed with the crew, and Dan Trachtenberg on the pilot. All of the directors were phenomenal. Everyone showed up to set, and there’s an energy to it. My character had people cracking up. No one really knew what the tone of the show was. We were figuring it out, and they really just let us do what we wanted and let us push it, as well. A lot of those takes, where they’d say, “Okay, push it and do one the way you want,” they kept those there, which is so refreshing. It didn’t feel restricted, at all. We weren’t super loose with the lines, but we could throw in some improv and make it our own and try out some crazy stuff. I found that’s the way I worked best.
What was it like to have Dan Trachtenberg direct the first episode and set up everything for this series, and then have your showrunner, Eric Kripke, direct the season finale?
CRAWFORD: We were so excited to have Kripke direct the finale, and he absolutely killed it and crushed it. The finale is so good. Kripke was there for so long, and then he went away for a bit ‘cause he’s got a family, so it was like a homecoming. When he came back to shoot that finale, we were just so pumped. It was such a great ending for a long five months. It was a special time. We all got along, too. Not knowing anyone in a new city, we were excited about hanging out with people, off set, and get to go to dinner. That was so nice to have. We’re a family now. And there’s a lot of us, so if someone, or if a couple of people are working, there’s definitely other people that aren’t working, that you can go grab a drink with.
It’s one thing to play a superhero, and it’s another thing to realize that you’re going to have a superhero suit on, all the time. What’s it like to go to work and dress up like a superhero, and get to wear the suit?
CRAWFORD: It’s pretty wild. I was a little bit more worried about it, going into it, because when we finally got it, I put it on and it was super tight. I went, “Oh, my god!” And there’s a little bit of a layer of a thin muscle suit type of thing that they zip in there. It can get pretty warm. Even the booties I wear are like neoprene scuba diving boots. So, I’m in a full neoprene wetsuit, the whole day, but I can’t complain too much cause Antony’s seems pretty painful to get on and off. He’s got a bunch more moving parts to his suit, and that gets really hot. I got a good deal. I’ve just gotta find those moments when I can unzip it and take it off, for a minute. But I’m in that thing, all day, every day, and there’s no changes. It was pretty funny. It was definitely an adjustment, but it’s also nice ‘cause when you get that suit on, you really feel like the character.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve had to do on this series, and what’s the craziest thing you’ve had to react to or be a witness to?
CRAWFORD: I don’t know if I can talk about it. There’s a moment in Episode 4. I have a big episode that involves a dolphin, and something happens. That was a wild day, but it turned out so funny. I was sitting there, watching this thing happen and I was like, “Oh, my god, this is the type of show we’re doing? I fuckin’ love this!” There was something that I had to witness there, that was over the top. That was probably one of the craziest moments for me.
Did you have a lot of those times, where you read a script for this show and you thought, “You want me to do what now”?
CRAWFORD: Oh, yeah. Even at the end, there was something I had to do, where it went to a dark place and I was like, “Okay, I’m just gonna do it.” I just really went for it and had one take to do it, and it was wild. I’d never done that. It was all a fun learning experience for me
In the first episode, there’s a scene between Starlight and your character that would be uncomfortable in any circumstance, and is obviously even more uncomfortable in the era that we’re in now. What were the conversations that you had about how to handle that scene, and how did that evolve?