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Jessie Usher and Chace Crawford on fame, ego, and The Boys season 3

Jessie Usher and Chace Crawford, stars of Amazon Prime Video's hit satirical series The Boys, sat down with us to discuss season 3 as part of a roundtable

The Seven in The Boys

If you think about it, A-Train and The Deep (played by Jessie Usher and Chace Crawford respectively) were, in their own ways, catalysts for a lot of what kick-started The Boys in season 1.

It was A-Train, who acts as the show’s parody of The Flash, callously running into and killing Hughie’s girlfriend that lead to him meeting Butcher and reviving The Boys. And it was Aquaman-wannabe The Deep’s sexual assault of Starlight that led to her realizing not only the corruption within The Seven but the corruption within Vought as a whole. Although the hapless Supes both got kicked out of The Seven for their actions, both had managed to claw back to a semblance of fame by the end of season 2, with A-Train’s short stint in The Collective leading to him returning to the supergroup while The Deep, who was a loyal member of the church since season 1, finally left The Collective and made a comeback based on an ‘escaping the cult’ narrative.

As part of a roundtable with The Digital Fix and other members of the UK press, Usher and Crawford answered a number of burning questions people had about what The Boys season 3 has in store for their characters. What follows is the transcription of this roundtable, which includes questions asked by representatives of various other outlets.

Why do your characters want to rejoin The Seven when, in short, they’re treated like shit?

Jessie Usher: Honestly, at least for A-Train, he doesn’t even see an abusive relationship as an abusive relationship. He only sees the bright side of it. He just wants the money and the fame and, like, he’s terrified of going back to being a nobody.

Being treated as less than nobody seems like a lesser evil than actually being a nobody again. So for him, he’s almost just willing to do whatever it takes to feel an artificial level of power.

Chace Crawford: I think The Deep is in such a rock bottom place you can only go up from there, you know what I mean? You know, if he’s treated like a piece of shit at least he’s Homelander’s piece of shit; at least he’s with Homelander.

But it’s also about identity and his loss of identity, and that’s the only thing he’s got: his really fragile masculinity. So he just wants to be back there and have a purpose again, no matter what.

You get to do some pretty bizarre things in this series. And what do you think some of the more challenging things were for you in your roles for this season?

JU: I think all like the technical stuff is always pretty challenging. Because you have to still like stay in the moment you have to like you know, believe what’s happening and then those moments can kind of build-out and slow down a lot and then they become very interesting and it’s kind of hard to stay enveloped in the moments when it becomes that technical.

So that becomes a little bit difficult but, to be honest with you, without saying too much, I just think I think for me, the biggest thing was having to stay emotionally relevant in scenes where things were like extremely physically demanding, which happens a few times with A-Train this season.

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CC: This season, a lot of it was just trying not to laugh. I can’t give too much away but there was some special effect-type stuff that was there, and there were some tests. I went through some special effects testing and they pull it off great.

Stephen our guy VFX effects guy was nominated for an Emmy and I think they literally just might knock it out of the park again this year. It’s so good, some of it was challenging, but more than that I think it was just fun to be back after a tough year, with people and with everybody and yeah, just be back and be back in that suit.

The Deep in The Boys

Your two characters have gone through a lot over the previous two seasons. After they both join The Collective in season 2, there seems to be a sort of dynamic between them, but then things change in the season 2 finale. How can we expect the dynamic between them to change further in season 3?

JU: I think it’s left a scar when their relationship a little bit. Somehow, it started to feel like there was a bond between them that was growing within The Collective.

They both were, like, at rock bottom and finally saw some common ground that we hadn’t seen between the two of them and then Vought did what Vought does, they shine something flashy in front of you. And then he immediately lost sight of what was important almost immediately. As soon as A-Train thought that there was a chance of him getting back into The Seven, he completely forgot about his old pal [laughs].

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CC: I think it’s that thing where you both start to sort of feel like your star is fading, it becomes self-centred very quickly. It’s like, addictive right? Like you don’t give a shit about them, or what they’re going through and you are just dealing with your own inner turmoil and lack of self-confidence, at least for The Deep as well. So all they care about is hanging on to that identity and staying relevant within that within that world.

A Train in The Boys

How does the relationship between The Deep and his wife evolve in season three? Because it seems like she’s playing a lot of strings.

CC:  It’s funny because yeah, he thinks he’s starting to kind of get that get some confidence back with the book tour going on and all that, so, you know, she’s always in a shot. I mean, he’s deferring to her for everything, and I think it’s fun. I think they expanded it to the way she was playing it as well.

It was so funny they were seeing the takes and they’re like, let’s add in more of that, like when he’s texting her under the table and has no idea what the fuck’s going on. He’s, like, asking her what to say quite literally. It’s just funny that that was like an arranged marriage and now he’s trying to make it work, you know what I mean? He’s really giving it a shot, and I think he’s happy with the pairing and the partnership there just to get back into The Seven, or at least try. 

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Will Pop-Claw stay buried?

JU: Man, Pop-Claw is buried somewhere deep in South America! I don’t think A-Train would ever want to revisit what that felt like. So I think he’s buried it in his heart and his mind. And even then, the sheer mentioning of her kind of sends him off into s spiral. So yeah, I think she’s gonna stay buried.

Can you tell us about Herogasm and how that pans out for your character?

JU:  It’s a different adaptation to what  I could have imagined, that’s for sure. You know, I’d seen it in the source material, I kind of read it. And  I think I know what people are expecting.

But I’m happy to say that I do not think anyone will actually be able to predict what you’re going to get. There, we’ll just let that be as concerning as it should be.

The Deep in The Boys

Do you have a particularly favourite scene or sequence that either of you shot either together or individually from the first five episodes of season 3?

JU: I like the conflict we filmed together. Like, we finally got to a moment. It was great. We were able to address the issues that we have with each other. You know, I thought that was a long time coming.

And it’s something that we probably should have done in the past and the more mature way. But, you know, it’s The Deep and A-Train. They reflect and just avoid those type of conflicts at all costs. And I felt like under the circumstances that it was, it was a final moment that we’ve been waiting for for a long time. 

CC: For me, it was just great to be back in that Vought hallway. It had been a long time. Yeah, I hadn’t even seen the inside of that. So it was good. And there’s some stuff in the first episode was Homelander.

It was kind of fun to try and make him [Anthony Starr] laugh. It was good. So yeah, it was fun. There are some bigger moments that come later in the season that were a blast to shoot, and traumatising, But yeah, it’s crazy.

A Train in The Boys

In the trailer, we see A-Train deciding to go back to his roots, basically, for marketing purposes. Is there a point where it becomes a bit more genuine for him? If so, how do you handle that transition for the character?

JU: I think something that’s very interesting about A-Train is that a lot of times, the decisions that he makes are very surface level. And he doesn’t consider you know, the full length of the steps that he’s taking when he when he steps out onto the ledge, and I feel like this was a perfect example of that.

You know, he knew that something was wrong [in terms of racial inequality]. And he kind of wanted to get back into touch with, where he came from and the things that mattered to him, but he never once thought about the community that he’s trying to reach and like what it would mean to show them a different version of himself or like how they would receive it never considered those things.

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You see him have conversations with his brother [Nathan] multiple times, and he just says like, ‘Oh, this is what I want to do.’  And his brother asks, ‘Have you really thought about XYZ,’ and he looks at A-Train and A-Train is like, No, I have not actually, and I don’t plan to because I just want to get back in The Seven and get my numbers up. You know, that’s basically what it is.

But naturally being that he did step off of that ledge, he is now in deep with these things, like now, he has to confront the actual problem. You cannot just kind of comb over the issue the way that he thought that he could and the way that he’s been able to in the past. He’s used to finessing his way through things but it’s just not necessarily how it works for him anymore. He’s dug himself into a pretty deep hole, and the only way he can get through it is through it. So yeah, our guy’s got some work ahead.

The cast of The Boys

We’ve seen from the trailer and preview pictures that A-Train gets a costume upgrade. Chace, do you think The Deep is a bit jealous of a friend’s new look?

CC: Of course [laughs], he’s always jealous. Where’s his new outfit? He didn’t like it at all. Where’s his own musical? That’s another thing, everyone’s getting songs. But, yeah,  I think he’s just so happy to be back or to be on the cusp of maybe being on the coattails of Homelander, but for sure, he needs a costume upgrade!

The series has become really, really popular. What do you think are some of the key elements that set it aside from other superhero stories? And what do you hope viewers will take away from this series?

JU: I think we like to humanise these characters. You know, the characters of superheroes are always kind of idolised or seen to be unobtainable or, you know, just living in a completely different universe than us.

But they’ve seemed out of touch for a very long time. And like now, these superheroes are ones you can touch. It’s like, you know, you can influence them on social media, you can influence them with just popularity. And it just seems like the people around them have a lot more control.

Even though the superheroes are powerful. And I think that’s something that people like about the show, you know, they seem so real. They’re going through very real things. They’re suffering in very real ways. And it just seems like they’re humanised. That’s something that I personally like about the show, something I can appreciate.

The Seven in The Boys

CC: Yeah, it doesn’t really follow any sort of formula, right? There are always so many different moments that are very unpredictable in our show. But it deals with that grey area of human nature and corruption.

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It’s usually a relatively predictable story arc, with some of the Marvel stuff, and I think this season is better in that regard where there was there’s sort of, like, the window dressing of the of the bigger moments in episode one, but really, it’s about the character development you know, and you see it with Homelander, Kimiko, and Butcher and you get to see behind the curtain more with them, so it’s good to see the rest of the episodes. It’s also a bit scary!

The first three episodes of The Boys drop on Amazon Prime Video on June 3.