Amazon Prime Video’s set to launch the adult action series The Boys starring Chace Crawford, Antony Starr, and Karl Urban on July 26, 2019. The series is based on Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s best-selling comic which takes a different, twisted approach to the standard superhero fare. The comic and the series pose the question: what if superheroes are actually jerks who abuse their superpowers?
The cream of the crop of the supes are known as The Seven, made up of Homelander (Antony Starr), The Deep (Chace Crawford), A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), Starlight (Erin Moriarty), Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), and Translucent (Alex Hassell). Standing against them are The Boys led by Karl Urban as Billy Butcher.
Amazon brought The Boys cast to the New York Comic Con for a panel that introduced The Seven and The Boys. The cast also participated in interviews at the New York event, with Antony Starr and Chace Crawford teamed up to talk about the show’s tone and why they gravitated to the project.
This is such a departure for the both of you. Is that part of the reason you were drawn to the series?
Chace Crawford: “Yeah. I mean, I definitely was drawn to it, to some of the comedic aspects. You know, the character – I read the sides and I just got the tone of it. I was like, ‘This is project I can have fun with.’ You know what I mean? Evolving him and just kind of making him my own. So, yeah, for me it was a real breath of fresh air, collaboration wise.
It’s a dark show and it’s a dark character, so it was a lot of fun for me to switch it up.”
Antony Starr: “I’m not sure how much of a departure it was, although it was a superhero for me. You know, it’s adult content which I’ve been involved in before. That sounds terrible! That sounds like I did porn! Sorry…I did R-rated content not porn. Jesus, man!”
Everyone is saying this show pushes the envelope and for you it’s where you come from with Banshee.
Antony Starr: “Yeah, Banshee pushed the envelope sometimes maybe a little too much and could be a little gratuitous at times. But it was what it was. This show is…I think the source material comic book really pushes the envelope and doesn’t pull any punches. 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 and make it a little more palatable – particularly in the current social climate. I mean, the people who make TV are not stupid and they’re very conscious of what’s going to sell and what’s not. And I anticipate this is going to do really well and I think anyone who does bad things in the show isn’t necessarily praised, doesn’t come out rewarded. So, I think there’s balance in the show in a way that there isn’t as much balance in the comic book.”
What about this character did you really love delving into? Was there something in particular you liked sinking your teeth into?
Antony Starr: “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.”
Chace Crawford: “I don’t think so either.”
Antony Starr: “Apparently I’m really f*cked up. (Laughing) But, no, it was really… I’ll be honest. I didn’t know… I was shooting something else and my people said, ‘You got to try for this. It’s going to be really great. There are good people involved.’ And I didn’t really have time to read it or think about it. I sent the audition down; they really liked it.
I read it and I liked it, but I didn’t really know anything about it. Thankfully, I knew it was good people involved and I knew the material that I’d seen was really great. And it’s just gotten better and better and better. It’s just – without saying as a cliché actors always say, ‘Everyone’s wonderful,’ but this is a genuinely great bunch of people. Equally important the creativity on the show’s been so collaborative, so open. It’s been great.”
What about the scripts attracted you?
Chace Crawford: “I don’t even think I read the script. I read the sides and I was like, ‘This is good,’ you know? And I went in and I thought for sure there’d be like some long, drawn-out process, maybe even after Christmas. And they’re like, ‘No. We’ve got to get the superhero suits made.’
They used my tape for the test but then that was it. And then I read the comics over Christmas and I was like, ‘Okay, that’s enough of that! I’ll just read the scripts.’
For me, I was just attracted to the character. It was a lot of fun, good people involved, and a dark superhero show. I was pumped about it.”
Antony Starr: “The scripts have been great. We’ve got a pretty good writing team headed up by Eric Kripke who’s some sort of mad genius, I think. It’s good to have his hand on the tiller.”
Is it dark and gritty or dark and twisted?
Chace Crawford: “A little bit of both in there, really.”
Antony Starr: “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 that’s really earthy and gritty, a lot of the camera style is handheld. It’s much more organic and has a real earthy, gritty feel. And then the superheroes – ours was much more classic, much more formal, and the shots were on rails and tracks.”
Chace Crawford: “There’s almost like an absurdist quality to it. There’s a bizarreness to it that’s really unique. That’s what makes it entertaining. You can’t really describe it. It’s really bizarre.”
Antony Starr: “Yeah, it really is. And a lot of the time when the really…there is a definite grittiness to it but when those really dark things come up, you know, without giving anything away something terrible happens to someone physically – if something really bad happens to someone – it’s comical. So, there’s a lightness with that. A lot like we were talking about Banshee and the similarities before, like a lot of the darkness in that was actually really dark comedy. So, there’s bad stuff happening but you can’t help but chuckle.”
Karl Urban was saying there’s something in one of the scripts you’ve never seen on TV before because it’s outrageous. You know what he’s talking about, I’m sure.
Antony Starr: “He was one underplaying it, I think, because there’s something you’ve never seen in every script. No sh*t, dude. I swear on my life I don’t even know how they dreamed it up.”
Coming from Banshee that says a lot.
Antony Starr: (Laughing) Oh no no no no. You ain’t seen nothing yet, my friend. Nothing!”