TV

Erin Moriarty And Karen Fukuhara On The Feminism Of ‘The Boys,’ And Why The Show’s Better In Weekly Doses

Amazon Prime’s super-cynical take on superhero culture, The Boys, roared back to life in August with a deeper (and still graphic) second season based upon Garth Ennis’ comic book series. One plot point involves Vought International pushing the “Girls Get It Done” campaign to publicly champion its female heroes. Meanwhile, their leader (Antony Starr’s Homelander) is still corrupt as hell while feeling rootless. That’s all the better for Aya Cash’s Stormfront to swoop into the power vacuum, even as Erin Moriarty’s Starlight works behind the scenes to expose Vought’s misdeeds to the world.

Elsewhere, The Boys vigilantes continue to churn towards vengeance, and that includes Karen Fukuhara’s Kimiko coming into her own power. In the season finale (airing on October 9), Starlight and Kimiko both throw down in a climactic scene that should roundly please fans. Hopefully, the finale will also result in showrunner Eric Kripke feeling less pushback against this season’s weekly format (that also includes an aftershow led by Aisha Tyler). And we’re gonna get a spinoff, so that’s cause for celebration.

We chatted with Erin Moriarty (Jessica Jones) and Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad) amid their characters’ conflict-filled season. In particular, Starlight puts up with a lot of garbage: the sexy-costume thing, and attempting to dodge Homelander’s threats on the regular, all after last season’s sexual assault by The Deep. Whereas Kimiko finally gets to step out of the shadows this year to gain more of the spotlight. Not only does she seek vengeance for her brother’s death, but she’s also connecting more with her fellow vigilantes. Both Erin and Karen get to kick a lot more ass nowadays, and they also have a reaction to that weekly-episode controversy.

This isn’t the first superpowered rodeo for either of you, but if Starlight and Kimiko could visit any superhero movie, where would you want them to show up?

Erin: Oh gosh!

Karen: There are so many!

Erin: Uh… uh… okay, I feel like it would just have to be with my favorite superhero films. Honestly, I can’t lie, it would be the first Iron Man film. I think that Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark is maybe the best superhero portrayal we’ve had, and just to be in that world, and I just want to work with him, if I can, while not even being Starlight. I love that character, and I wanna be in that world with him.

Karen: Ahhhhh, that would be amazing. Me too, I love Heath Ledger’s Joker, and I love the Iron Man movie overall, but I think if Kimiko were to take a side, it would be way more fun to team up with the Joker. And selfishly, I know that it’s not possible anymore, but to work with Heath Ledger would have been amazing, so it would be interesting to see how Kimiko interacts with the Joker.

Erin: Oh, that’s a good answer!

The Boys still skewers superhero culture, and it even roasts the “Girls Get It Done” soundbite, so what does that slogan mean to you?

Erin: In terms of the show, the point of the slogan is, I think, to highlight the irony of Vought’s intention to empower women when they just will always, as a corporation, objectify them, and also there’s a parallel between Vought’s “Girls Get It Done” promotion with the real world, where there are a lot of superficial efforts being made to empower women, but it feels like it’s just for optics of me. And it feels like it’s just for the sake of corporations or, you know, companies who, on the surface, appear as supporters of gender equality when, underneath the surface, I think we still have a lot of work to do. So, the show highlighted that, and that’s what it means to me. Of course, in real life, with gender equality and the way that women are portrayed in movies and the media and TV, it’s a priority for me to be part of the projects that do that in the most empowered way possible. But I think the “Girls Get It Done” promotion ultimately is about the irony of optics of female support nowadays that is lacking of substance and true support.

Karen: That was really well said, and I just want to add a tiny bit. I agree with everything that Erin said, but I think that Vought is only using “Girls Get It Done,” and that slogan and that idea, to benefit them, and it’s a financial thing. It’s a marketing thing, and they don’t actually believe in female empowerment because we’ve seen before, especially with Starlight’s costume and the treatment of women in the company, even when they knew about the sexual harassment, they didn’t do anything about it until they really had to take action. So, we know that Vought doesn’t really care about that. But now that it’s a popular way of thinking, and it’s kind-of taboo not to be feminist, they’re using that. And as Erin said, it’s not quite real. That’s what makes it funny because we’re playing that.

So, we’re not gonna spoil the finale, but you guys finally get an action scene together, and it’s kickass. What was the experience like?

Karen: It was freezing cold!

Erin: So cold! We’ve gotta be careful about spoilers, but that’s one of my favorite scenes, and I want it to be a very first-time experience when people see it, but it was so cold, but I gotta say that it was so fun. Especially because Karen’s so good at the fight choreography, so to watch her seize this choreography and make it her own and nail it? I was just watching from the sidelines, just feeling like a cheerleader. It was a freaking delight.

Karen: Yeah, that whole sequence was really fun because I think we’ve seen glimpses of Starlight coming into The Boys this season, but I never got to shoot with Erin in Season 1. So, with Season 2, being on set with her and being cold together and miserable together, but we’re making something beautiful, it was just really fun to be on set with her and kind-of go through everything together, the whole process.

You and the rest of the cast are also going through something else together: the shift to a weekly format. I’m enjoying that different pace…

Karen: [Victoriously punches the air]

… but some people are not fans of that format. What is your reaction to that pushback?

Karen: I think it’s great! I’m not sure how the rest of the world is taking it, but I love being able to talk to fans on a weekly basis about certain scenes or posting pictures on social media pertaining to that episode. A lot of us have been doing that, and looking at the fan art too, it keeps rolling in. Last year, we had that, but it dissipated quickly because it all came out at once. This time, it’s kind-of prolonged the process, so selfishly, as someone on the show, I really love that it’s a constant conversation with the fans.

Erin: Yeah, I really think that with the past few years, we’ve gotten so used to binging and the instant gratification of that. But kind-of pulling back to the standard way of releasing, especially for our show, which has a lot of cliffhangers, I think that it’s great. The opportunity to kind-of ingest, in-depth, one-at-a-time, as well as catalyze a bit of excitement in between, it just mixes things up. And there’s really something to be said: even though it’s frustrated some people, I think it comes from a place of wanting to see more episodes. And I think there’s something really good about pacing ourselves when it comes to binging all sorts of things, and our show included.

Amazon’s ‘The Boys’ streams episodes each Friday with the season finale coming on October 9.

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