Three seasons in, Amazon Prime Video superhero satire The Boys remains as thrilling, sharp and darkly comedic as ever, mocking the same genre tropes it affectionately replicates. While its superheroes have always had frighteningly human inclinations, season 3 evens the playing field by giving its everyday protagonists a taste of power. At a screening hosted by radio presenter Smallzy at the Hoyts Entertainment Centre in Sydney, actors Jack Quaid, Jessie T Usher, Claudia Doumit, Chace Crawford and Karen Fukuhara spoke about the show's evolution and how the one constant remained the camaraderie between the cast. "Every time we shoot in Toronto, it's like going back to a summer camp," said Quaid. "We've become this little family who makes really fucked up content together." "…so a family," deadpanned Doumit. Here are some behind-the-scenes anecdotes the actors shared:
An Amazon promotional calendar, released when The Boys first premiered in 2019, featured a photo of Crawford's character, The Deep, with a particularly large bulge, which prompted Smallzy to ask whether it was real. The actor, however, said it was a prosthetic, several of which were created for the show. These styrofoam private parts, combined with a skintight costume, were meant to provide the illusion of an absurdly large penis, only for studio executives to remain unamused by the joke.
"I went into the fitting for the first season and the producer was like: We think it would be really funny if The Deep had a raging erection every third episode," said Crawford. "It didn't happen every third episode but they had a bucket of these little styrofoam…little Deeps. The first scene I had to shoot, I was onstage introducing Starlight (Erin Moriarty). There were 3,000 people (in the audience) and when I walked out, there was a murmur of, "Oh my God" in the crowd. Later, Eric Kripke was like, "We get no notes from Amazon. The first note we got was: That can't happen. Take that out. So they had to CGI that out. That was the line. Little Deep wasn't so little."
Playing the super-powered Kimiko is a physically demanding task for Fukuhara — the character not only has a brutal, hand-to-hand style of combat, but is also indestructible, which means fight scenes involving her are quite lengthy. In one of her most inventive brawls this season, she takes down a Russian businessman and his bodyguards using only a collection of superhero-themed dildos. "This show lets me do a lot more of my own stunts than the other shows do," said the actress. "It's so much fun to gouge people's eyes out and give them facelifts. It takes weeks and weeks and weeks of rehearsals. I go through various training sessions but it's important to do that so it's safe on set on the day. I love it."
Nearly every episode of The Boys features scenes of gore and violence, with human heads popping open like confetti, holes being punched through abdomens and bodies being lasered in half to reveal guts that slide out with a wet plop. Who among the cast spends the most time covered in fake blood? "Hughie. He definitely gets drenched in a lot of fluids," said Doumit. "I get covered in a lot of blood, but I'm also the cause of it. It's self-inflicted. Everyone gets drenched in blood. We ran out of fake blood by episode 3. Yet we somehow found more."
"Everyone came in and donated a pint," added Usher.
Usher spoke about how the nature of the show's bawdy humour meant that the cast gets stuck in vortexes of laughter "all the time" while on set. "Being able to break and then have those moments just make the job more enjoyable," he said. "We keep doing it and then find our way back somehow in the most absurd scenes that we've probably ever encountered. It's miraculous." While Quaid said he was most likely to break character and begin laughing at the dialogue, Fukuhara credited Tomer Capone with having delivered the season's funniest line.
"There's a scene at the beginning of the season. It's just the five of us Boys. We're in the Flatiron Building (in New York) and we couldn't stop laughing," said the actress. "Tomer, who plays Frenchie, says, "In my asshole" with his French accent. Each time, he'd do it in a different way. "Een my asshole." "In my ehsole." He had to deliver this line to Hughie and we just kept laughing."