The season 2 of the original Amazon Prime show The Boys premiered last Friday, on the 4th of September 2020. The first three episodes of the season are out, and the rest will drop one every Friday until October 9th.
The Boys is set in a world of superheroes, but with a twist. It’s a parody of the genre in a way, but with a lot of violence. They maybe super, but definitely not the heroes!
Show runner Eric Kripke has always been a fan of Garth Ennis, who he claims to be his “favorite comic book writer by a mile.” And Prechaer andThe Boys being two of his favorite comics by Ennis. So when the project came to him, he was pretty stoked.
The superheroes in this show are called Seven, and are led by the character of Homelander, who is basically the evil version of Superman and Captain America combined. The character of Homelander is played by Anthony Starr, who previously played the lead in the show Banshee.
When Starr got the script for the show, he didn’t even read it for almost a week and a half. He didn’t think he would get the part, especially after finding out that the character he was supposed to play was of a superhero. He thought someone like Henry Cavill would get it instead.
It was only when his representatives called him asking what he thought of the character and the show, that they pushed him to film an audition tape to send to Kripke.
In an interview with the MetroUK, Starr revealed his initial thought about the character –
“My reps sent me the script and said this is one we should look at, I was busy, I was working pretty much every hour under god sent and they called me a week later and said, ‘Have you read it?’ I was like, ‘No, leave me alone I’m busy.’ So I didn’t look at it for a week and a half and then I saw it was a superhero thing and I thought they’re not going to pick me anyway, I’m not made for that. Henry Cavill’s 12 feet tall, built like a 12 foot brick s**t house and he’s wonderful, handsome, and charming-I’m not going to get that.
Then [my reps] were hassling so I sat in my dressing room, picked a spot on my iPad and filmed this audition almost out of spite for my reps. Then it got to Eric [Kripke] and [my reps] said, ‘They loved it!’ Then I thought I’d better actually read [the script.] I read it and realized this is actually really good and worth putting some time and energy into.”
Starr wasn’t too keen on the part, thinking it wasn’t for him at all. He did not believe he would get the part either. Fortunately for him, the casting director and Kripke along with the other show runners loved his audition for the role, casting him for the character of Homelander. In a show that is tied in with undermining superhero stereotypes, Homelander takes the crown for complete and unnerving villainy.
Starr has been widely praised for his portrayal of this role. Showrunner Eric Kripke has even said that Homelander’s only shortcoming is psychological assaults. And Starr does an incredible job in depicting the character’s two faces, the courageous face that he presents to the public and his actual nature, the cruel killer who thinks only about himself.
Erin Moriarty is another such actor who wasn’t too keen on her future with the show. She hated auditioning, but Kripke really wanted her to play the role of Starlight. Similarly Karl Urban, who plays the role of Billy Butcher in the show, had a similar experience.
The character of Billy Butcher is the nemesis of Homelander. Karl said – “I saw a colleague of mine was cast as Homelander… As it pertained to Billy Butcher I acknowledged it would be a fun character to play and I would be stupid to turn it down.”
Especially with Homelander, Starr plays such a complex character with so much ease that now it is hard for fans to visualize someone else in that role. The story is consistent with its dark humor and even darker plot. And he has now become the perfect example of the saying ‘a story is only as good as its villain’.
The Boys is now one of the critically acclaimed and most applauded shows in the ‘superhero’ genre. And a major part of its success is due to such brilliant casting choices. Thankfully, even though the actors doubted their part in the show, the casting director didn’t.
The Boys returns next Friday with its 4th episode of Season 2.