Critics have been complaining about superhero weariness for a while, yet despite the overabundance of superhero content, some unconventional shows, like The Boys, have continued to gain popularity.
The darker tone in the story has been well received by the audience because this is not your typical superhero tale. In this case, superheroes are not necessarily the good guys, as a gang of conceited, attention-seeking heroes are brutally eliminated by a squad of vigilantes.
It is based on a macabrely violent comic book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and in this video, we have chosen to share with you some of the less-famous behind-the-scenes information about the programme as well as some of the controversy that has surrounded it.
The show was toned down considerably
This might come across as a surprise for many, given that the show actually has everything from gratuitous nudity to bloody violence. However, it still pales in comparison to the comic series, where the violence is simply too much to handle at times.
There are some insane, outrageous deaths that would never be possible to film for television, and the censorship wouldn’t permit a lot of the graphic details that went into the comics. Hence, a lot of stuff had to be edited out and even the story had to be altered in several instances. Even the character of Homelander was far too sadistic in the comics, and such things were deemed too outrageous for TV. Amazon Prime only agreed to a considerably tolerable version of the show, and it is amusing that the gore-hounds will still have plenty to cheer about!
Fake Blood and the side effects
When you develop a series as violent as The Boys, you have to be prepared with gallons of fake blood. The show almost romanticized extreme violence, and they required a staggeringly high amount of fake blood for every episode. During an interview, Laz Alonso, the guy who plays the character Mother’s Milk in the show, confessed that the process of applying blood all over their bodies was quite a troublesome affair.
It required over two hours for the whole process to be complete, and this fake blood would then stick to their skin for weeks. The whale scene involving Jack Quaid had him covered in blood for over three hours at a stretch. Season 2 required even more fake blood than the first, and the actors had to bear the uncomfortable situation, where they would be covered in this gross liquid for hours irrespective of the weather conditions.
The Kimiko Miyashiro saga: Changes from comic books
Kimiko Miyashiro is easily one of the most-loved characters in the show, but she didn’t have a name in the comic series. In fact, naming her character was purposely avoided to keep her somewhat mysterious, and it did work pretty well for the narrative. The female speaks only once in the entire run of the comic series, and her only line is –“I don’t like bad men”. The TV series, however, changed quite a bit when it came to her origins.
The makers decided to name her character and also add a sympathetic touch to her so that the audience could feel for her better. Karen Fukuhara was a great choice for the role, and the actress even developed a unique sign language for the character. It highlighted her connection with Frenchie because she was averse to the idea of mingling with most other people.
A Few Major differences between the comic books and the show
We have already spoken about how The Boys had to be toned down considerably for the series, but there were some other major changes that did not escape the scrutiny of the comic book fans. Stormfront, for instance, one of the most badass characters in The Boys comic books was a man, and the makers of the show changed the gender to bring some balance to the male-dominated cast.
The storyline around the character was also changed quite a bit to adapt to the requirements of the series. Homelander is far more complicated in the show than what we have seen in the comics, and his son Ryan was not a prominent figure in the comic books, being killed soon after birth. Besides these, Love Sausage only has a cameo appearance in the show, compared to the vast presence in the comics, and Victoria Neuman was called Victor Neuman, portrayed as a male in the comic books.
There are also some original characters in the series, which are lightly inspired by some of the missing characters found in the comic books only. The likes of Translucent, Mesmer, and Ezekiel find no mention in the comics, and their presence added to the freshness of the franchise. Apart from these major changes, there were plenty of other adjustments that were made, but it is not something unnatural in comic book adaptations. Everything worked out fine, and we don’t think the fans have any major complaints regarding the changes that were made.
Seth Rogen almost became the director
Is there anything that Seth Rogen cannot do? The guy has been a terrific comedy actor, and he has worked on some critically acclaimed projects as a producer or a director. He was almost on board to direct the first episode of The Boys, but a scheduling conflict did not allow him to take up the role.
Dan Trachtenberg filled his shoes, and while he did a wonderful job we cannot help but wonder how things would have looked with Seth Rogen leading the charge. His expertise in dark humor would have certainly added value to the narrative, and it is a pity that things never came together for him. That being said, he was still involved with the project and ended up being one of the producers. He went on record to say that The Boys was one of his favorite comic books and he was glad to be on board in some form.
The Boys could have gone to Cinemax
When we first got wind of the series coming to life, Cinemax was the one that gave the green signal. The fans of the comic books were skeptical because The Boys was all set to be a big-budget affair, and Cinemax didn’t seem to be the right organization in charge.
Eventually, Cinemax realized that they couldn’t afford the extravagant special effects that would be required for the show, and they let the project go. It was then picked up by Amazon, who obviously had the budget to get the job done. Showrunner Erik Kripke revealed that he was relieved when Cinemax backed out because even he had doubts in his mind. The Boys would have turned into a cable show, and sometimes things don’t work out for the better! The makers often remark how the series turned out to be exactly as they intended it to be and a lot of the credit is due for Amazon who left no stone unturned to protect the integrity of the franchise.
Controversies in Toronto
As many of you might know, a major part of the series was shot in Toronto, Ontario. The story is set in New York, but the filming happened elsewhere and it required a few special effects to make it look exactly like New York! The crew, however, ran into some trouble during filming one of the violent scenes for Season 2. It was supposed to be shot in an area, where a deadly attack had taken place sometime back. The said location is Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square, and it was supposed to be a rogue superhero attacking a crowd.
This would require hundreds of people screaming and running around, and there would be a generous amount of fake blood all over the place. Unfortunately, this was all a bit too close to the real-life tragedy that had taken place, and people were opposed to the idea of allowing such a sequence to be filmed there. Protests erupted among the locals, and even the Toronto Councilor John Filion thought this to be disrespectful. Finally, the location had to be changed, and thankfully, the shooting permits were not canceled because of the unpleasant incident.
A scene involving public indecency had to be cut out
Even those who have only watched the trailer of the series are aware of the explicit nature of The Boys. The creators often pushed the boundaries between acceptable and taboo, and they sometimes ended up on the wrong side of things with some of the scenes. One such controversial scene had to be cut out in the final results because Amazon simply wouldn’t let it pass through.
This scene involved one of the main characters running through the streets, exposing himself completely in public view. All this while, he was screaming that he could get away with anything and do as he wanted! This particular sequence had nothing to do with the character development or any such important aspect, and it was just too improper for the final cut.
An explicit love scene was abandoned by Amazon
With the sheer number of intense lovemaking sessions that we saw in the series, it might be a bit surprising that something was left out! The Boys did not shy away from nudity or passionate moments, but there was a scene that Amazon did not want to be made. It involved an intimate moment between a woman wearing a fur coat and an ice cream man, and the scene was deemed to be unnecessarily expensive.
We can assure you that budgetary constraints were not the main reason! A show as grand and extravagant as The Boys surely could afford to film one wild love scene! It was probably far too explicit and outrageous, and was impossible to translate on screen without some controversies.
Starlight and her troublesome costume
If you are familiar with the show, you must be aware of Starlight’s aversion to her raunchy and revealing outfit. She is never comfortable in the costume, and you would be amazed to learn that neither was the actress who played the role. Erin Moriarty did a brilliant job of playing this character, but she had some complaints regarding how troublesome the costume was. Her opposing views weren’t related to the revealing nature of the suit, but focused on how uncomfortable it was. She would have trouble going to the bathroom during filming, and the suit was a bit too tight to be worn for long hours.
Homelander’s suit had other issues
The Starlight actress wasn’t the only one bothered by the nature of the costume. Actor Antony Starr who steals the show as Homelander wasn’t particularly happy with his superhero costume either. In an interview, he stated that the best thing about the suit was taking it off, and you can imagine why! Superhero suits are not known to be comfortable, and something like the one Homelander wears is simply too suffocating. Things would overheat very quickly, and the crew had to hook up a cooling hose to the suit to pump some cold air and water inside. Antony Starr literally had to sweat it out to get the job done to perfection!
Jack Quaid was terrified of the speedboat scene
Well, one ought to be a man of steel in real life if he is playing a character as ruthless as Hughie Campbell. This is one character who saw some of the most terrible acts of violence unfold before his eyes, and the first scene actually shows him witnessing the love of his life blown into pieces. It was not blood or gore that bothered the actor playing the role, but Jack Quaid had some other concerns.
He was not particularly excited about the scene in Season 2, where he had to step inside a speedboat. A super-fast ride in the waters wasn’t exactly on his bucket list, and he was too terrified to even utter his safe word in case he wanted to bail out. The whole thing was filmed from a helicopter above them, and it was anyway too loud for someone to hear his cries for help. We are glad that eventually, things worked out fine for him!
The obsession with breast milk
Homelander and his never-ending obsession with breast milk have been one of the controversial aspects of the show. Both seasons 1 and 2 dealt with his unhealthy obsession with Madelyn Stillwell and her breast milk, and even the new season added a fresh direction to this story arc. The bizarre and uncomfortable nature of some of these scenes has raised a few eyebrows, but the showmakers are too unfazed by such controversies.
Homelander might be far from a great guy, but he does have a genuine urge to be a part of a family. There is an explanation for his strange obsession, and a lot of it has to do with his unnatural upbringing. Season 3, however, takes things to a new extreme. There is a scene, where Homelander is milking a cow and having almost orgasmic reactions. His milk obsession goes in a disturbing direction, but then, so does the entire show!
Canada’s winter played a major spoilsport
It is no secret that Canada is famously known for its harsh, extreme winters. Hence, there was always a time crunch to get the job done before the weather turned unbearable. The outdoor filming, in particular, had to be wrapped up in time because the locations would all be covered in snow. This meant long work hours and always paying strict attention to the schedule created before shooting. Luckily, for the cast and crew, they got the job done just in time because any delays while filming could have resulted in delaying the end result by almost a whole year.
A few final words
When something as grand and gallant as The Boys is made, we are often left wondering about what goes on behind the scenes. It is always exciting to learn how certain things were done, or how some events ran into controversies. We hope that it was fun for you to go through these facts, and do let us know in the comments below about the ones that you liked the most.