Spoilers for The Boys Season 3 follow!
Every big-name superhero in pop culture has character traits that are widely known to the public, whether that be Superman’s charm and friendliness or Batman’s drive for justice and hiding in the shadows. For aquatic heroes like DC’s Aquaman and Marvel’s Namor, it’s a different story. These names are usually treated like the butt end of jokes and are commonly referred to as “guys who talk to fish.” Comic book fans have known the strengths and complexities of these characters for years, and that’s only recently started to change for the general public thanks to the ongoing superhero boom on film and television. Films like Aquaman and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever have demonstrated that these characters are more than just jokes. However, on the opposite end of that spectrum is the Amazon Prime Video original series The Boys and its depiction of The Deep played by Chace Crawford.
Adapted from the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic series of the same by showrunner Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and producing duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, The Boys follows a world where caped crusaders are nothing more than corporate marketing tools. The titular team of unpowered underdogs, led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), must right society by taking down the demented Homelander (Antony Starr) and his team of supes known as the “The Seven.” Compared to a speedster like A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) or a strong warrior like Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), Chace Crawford’s The Deep may seem like the weakest supe in The Boys with his abilities to breathe underwater and talk to marine life. However, he may actually be just as sick as the all-powerful Homelander.
Originally a direct parody of Aquaman, The Deep is a product of dialing up those common fish jokes to eleven and adding in a splash of white male privilege. In The Boys Season 3, that sense of humor is still there but with a demented twist. The Deep murders a U.S. senator for Homelander towards the end of the season, assuring his allegiance to The Seven. It’s a darker change of pace for the character after being the savior of Sandusky Ohio, joining the Church of the Collective, and finally coming back to The Seven under Homelander’s oppressive watch. Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl fame has taken The Deep to new levels on The Boys. Making the audience go from disturbed laughter to disgust, it’s no wonder why The Deep is one of the most irredeemable supes on the Prime Video original series next to Homelander.
Teasing a new and potentially dangerous future for The Deep in The Boys Season 4, we sat down with Chace Crawford himself to discuss the character’s journey in the show so far. We cover The Deep’s insecurities and craving for validation, what filming the “Herogasm” episode was like, and whether or not he can ever be treated not like a joke. This is the next installment in our FYC interview series with The Boys cast, featuring Jack Quaid (Hughie Campbell), Jessie T. Usher (A-Train), Laz Alonso (Mother’s Milk), Karen Fukuhara (Kimiko Miyashiro), Tomer Capone (Frenchie), and fellow cruel superhero Jensen Ackles (Soldier Boy).
Exclusive FYC Interview with Chace Crawford for The Boys on Prime Video
Since your character has gone through so much in the series thus far, what are your thoughts on The Deep’s overall arc from the beginning of the show to where we left him at the end of The Boys Season 3?
Chace Crawford: It’s been a wild journey for The Deep in The Boys. In season two, I would have never seen the whole Church of the Collective plot coming, the whole spiritual journey he went on with the mushroom trip and being an alcoholic. I just thought it was really funny and a great path to go on. He got back in The Seven for season three, which was always his goal to sort of get his identity back.
Along with that comes the fame and recognition again, I think that’s where his insecurity lies. He craves that validation, you know, as hollow as that really is because he’s still the fish guy. But by the end of season three, there was a turning point. He’s commissioned by Homelander to murder somebody, so he’s definitely crossed a barrier there and a line that’s probably irredeemable. We’ll have to see where it goes from there. In season four, they crushed it. The story is so good and everyone is so great.
As you just mentioned, we see The Deep join The Seven again in The Boys Season 3 thanks to Homelander. Do you think this is something he’ll eventually regret or is he all in now?
Chace Crawford: I don’t think he regrets it. I think he needs a sense of purpose, and he finds that and looks up to Homelander to sort of tell him what to do. He’s a bit of a sycophant, always sucking up the Homelander while at the same time genuinely terrified that he could be killed by him at any moment. But I think he doesn’t know who he is outside of that.
It’s like a pro athlete, you’ve done this your whole life since you were a kid and with the threat of it ending – in sports it’s like an injury or retirement – the rug is completely pulled out from underneath you. That’s a terrifying prospect and he got a taste of that in season two. He doesn’t want to be back in Sandusky, Ohio. He doesn’t want to be the washed-up superhero doing the kid’s pool party. So, now I think he’s willing to do whatever it takes to stay in The Seven.
There’s a scene in The Boys Season 3 where A-train and The Deep get into a fight. Seeing these guys finally butt heads again on screen is nice, but I imagine your off-screen dynamic with Jessie T. Usher is different. What’s that kind of behind-the-scenes relationship like?
Chace Crawford: Oh, it was great. The work was great but I was by myself the entire time. I was always sort of relegated to the second unit, not the main unit, but it was so great to be back honestly. Me and Jessie in that scene, in particular, were cracking up because they got this extremely close shot where they’re talking to each other’s ear and it’s so funny since my character is so insane. I’m improving and making shit up and he’s cracking up, so it’s always fun. Then, of course, they had stunt guys to do the really hard stuff. So it’s a cakewalk for us, but I like it when there’s friction between The Seven. That type of tension is interesting because, at the end of the day, there’s still that competition as well. Everyone’s selfish. Everyone’s out for themselves.
I love working with Antony. It’s always interesting because he comes in with strong ideas, and he likes to play and find moments. He’s very intense and his character is also very intense, so there’s definitely that tension where he could snap and kill you instantly. That’s always underneath his scenes with anyone because everyone is terrified of him. I like trying to get him to break at least a couple of times a year, which I do get him to break and we just have a blast working together. So I’ve probably worked with him the most out of anybody in The Seven. I always look forward to working with Antony, but then I’ve never really worked with The Boys. Me and Jack [Quaid] always say it would be funny if Hughie had an unintentional run-in with The Deep on the subway or something like that.
The Boys is very reflective of the world we live in and each character represents a certain aspect of our society in a way. What aspects of the world do you personally think The Deep represents?
Chace Crawford: From the outset, he represents this male privilege asshole who’s kind of a baby. The origins of The Deep, we don’t know yet. We might need to do an origin story on The Deep. The way I see his back story, he grew up as this good-looking guy who was privileged but was also bullied for the gills. That’s the source of his insecurity. He felt like a freak and there was like an X-Men feeling there of being an outcast. His only real friends were the marine life or the lobsters down by the pier, so I always thought that was funny but that’s also where that insecurity is coming from.
He’s a sycophant to Homelander, he sucks up to him and there are probably some parallels in politics that people can draw from. Somehow, the writers have dovetailed a lot of huge topics, like they write this way before and actually shooting the show makes it take longer to come out. Yet, they’ve been clairvoyant on certain aspects of things that are happening in the real world and Kripke always says “What’s bad for the world is good for our show.” So it’s really unfortunate that certain things are happening, but he pulls from it and ties it to the story because it’s such a great lens to show these things through. It’s not a surface-level superhero show, it’s a subversive satire and that’s why it’s brilliant.
To follow up on that, do you think The Deep’s love for oceanic life comes from his powers, or is it because of his powers?
Chace Crawford: I definitely think that’s part of it, like with the Ambrosia thing and there is something between them. It feels like that’s the only time he can really feel like himself, right? Because he has the gills and can breathe underwater, that’s where he feels the safest and the most secure, but he’s kind of got to hide it. It’s this weird game and it’s tragic in a way, he’s asked to hide that and live in the shadows so it’s very interesting. It’s also funny, obviously, since he’s talking to marine life.
But with Timothy [the Octopus] as well in season three, that was a loyalty test for Homelander and also tragic, weird, and gross. Outside of that, he’s always looking for Homelander’s approval almost like a father figure that he never had. He needs this empty well of validation. Obviously, Homelander is trying to see exactly how far this pathetic guy will go to get that approval. So he’s willing to test him and put him through the wringer in that way.
On that note, we have to talk about Timothy the Octopus. When you first read that scene in the script of you being forced to eat him, what went through your mind as an actor and what do you also think is going through The Deep’s mind in that moment?
Chace Crawford: I think you’re just sitting there with the threat of Homelander lasering you. I mean, that’s always the threat when he gets unhinged. Homelander went on this unhinged rant, and he has no choice. It’s an intensely gross emotional thing, he’s killing his friend. And he starts becoming numb to maybe the killing as well. He’s on a slippery slope of how far he will go to carry out Homelander’s wishes. Homelander is finding out who’s really on his side so The Deep falls in line like a soldier. So, Homelander has these mercenaries, you know what I mean? He made me do whatever he wants. He’s trying to mask people on his side, within The Seven, and seeing who’s loyal to him and towing that line. So The Deep had to eat Timothy. Rest in peace, that was tough.
The Boys never seems to fail in topping itself with its absurdity. “Herogasm,” for example, was a big episode for the third season and the series as a whole. What was the experience like being on set for such a huge and exciting episode? Did you keep anything from that set?
Chace Crawford: No, I didn’t want to keep anything from that set. I didn’t realize how intense it was going to be. It was worse for the crew, they had to go through it for almost two weeks. I only popped in a few times. I was like, “What is this? I’m not touching any of this, not the hand sanitizer, not the KY jelly, I don’t want to touch any of it!” I had just seen downstairs, it was like my first scene and I looked to my right and left and saw a window to the pool and everyone was naked in there! I was like, “Oh my god.” I had no idea all this was going on while we were going to shoot this particular scene.
It was a lot of fun, though. There are definitely some stories on set that I missed. Jack had some funny stories and everyone had a great time. Some of the editors said they had never seen anything like that in their history of watching dailies. There are some people who are definitely a bit scarred from that. But I had a great time! (laughs) You know, it was interesting shooting the octopus. Again, I was nervous about that. Like, is this joke going to work at all? Is it going to land? But it was really funny and we had a blast with all that.
The Deeps is often portrayed as a joke, not to be taken seriously. How do you approach the role from a comedic angle and do you think there’s a hidden depth that’s still waiting to be shown from him? Do you think The Deep is ever capable of being taken seriously?
Chace Crawford: That’s a great question because there is that balance and I know you can’t really play the humor but he is a “bit” character at times and there are bigger comedic moments that come with that. But I know Kripke, he always wants us to play it real and I get that it is funnier when it feels real. Usually, I try to get away with stuff and they tell me to pull back a bit. But I still get big laughs, so I’ll turn the volume up a little. Though I always play it real, especially in this show. The Deep is really in love with Ambrosia and that’s not a joke, me and Kripke talked about it and that’s his mistress or whatever. That’s the only person [or thing] he feels secure and safe with.
So there’s always that balance of big and not so big but sometimes there’s got to be some bigger reactions and you turn the volume up a bit on the comedy. I’ve always felt pretty confident in comedic timing no matter how big I go but at the end of the day, it usually ends up being funnier when it’s real. Even when I watch the show I’m like, “Okay, I didn’t think that was even going to be that funny,” and it was much better doing it straight and real.