With Great Power Comes Great Hostility
Antony Starr is the man in The Boys, the hit show on Amazon Prime. In this series, the native New Zealander is an immoral American role model. He plays Homelander, a sociopathic superhero who doesn’t give a flying fu*k! Starr portrays an amazing psycho superman with radiant blonde locks like Zack Morris and a sinister smile. He truly makes the megalomaniac character come to life with his superb acting abilities. Starr is a master of his craft and Homelander is by far the best persona in this show.
Homelander is the leader of The Seven, an elite group of superheroes controlled by a corporation named Vaught Industries. Vaught Industries uses the superheroes as a tool to make billions of dollars. Their new plan to capitalize on these “Supes” is to get them into the military. In fact, they’ll do whatever dirty deed it takes to make it happen. They’re met with heavy resistance from The Boys, a posse of vigilantes who will stop at nothing to take down these atypical superheroes. Season Two of The Boys introduces us to more Supes and dives deeper into their dark characters. This show really pushes the envelope when it comes to the superhero genre. It’s funny, entertaining, violent, and touches upon real issues happening in the world today.
A Starr is Born
Born in 1975, this Kiwi actor’s origin story didn’t start with a career as a superhero villain. He scored bit parts acting in television shows like Shortland Street, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Street Legal. He also had a guest spot as a series regular on the show Mercy Peak in the early 2000s. Starr later became a household name in New Zealand after landing the dual role of twin brothers in the comedic television show Outrageous Fortune. This performance earned him several well-deserved best actor awards in his homeland.
In addition to television gigs, he was featured in the movie Without A Paddle in 2004 and The World’s Fastest Indian with Sir Anthony Hopkins in 2005. Then Starr’s first major role in the United States came in 2013 with the savage and sexy Cinemax series, Banshee. Here he played the character of Lucas Hood, an ex-con antihero who takes on the identity of a local sheriff. Starr’s charismatic personality and magnetic acting skills, coupled with his good looks, have only begun to infiltrate the industry. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the future.
Throughout this 1-on-1 phone interview, Starr talks about the character development of Homelander. He also chatted about the amazing cast and crew he has the privilege to work with on The Boys, including his childhood crush, Elizabeth Shue. Starr reflected on his time working on the physically demanding show, Banshee, and how he takes much less of a beating playing a superhero. Lastly, Starr talks about his own personal superhero. Enjoy this interview with superhero, actor, and super cool guy, Antony Starr!
Antony Starr: Hi, Jake, how are you, mate?
Jake Perry: Antony, my man! Doing great. Thanks for asking. It’s such a pleasure to be talking to Homelander, the world’s greatest superhero!
Antony Starr: (Laughs) Of sorts, right? The world’s greatest superhero on crack.
Jake Perry: Exactly. The Boys is such a great cast with great chemistry. You can tell you guys have a lot of fun on set.
Antony Starr: Yeah, honestly, mate, it’s a weird thing trying to get that chemistry set right. The combination, not just the cast, but from your DP to your directors, to your camera guys, and it all creates a certain environment. The cast is exceptional and really very studious and hardworking and really a great bunch of people. And the crew is as well. So we got really lucky. They did a great job putting it together. That’s always been my rule of thumb, if you have fun making it, then some people, you can’t please everyone, some of the people some of the time, right? But some people will have fun watching it. And it seems to be the case with this show as well.
Jake Perry: Yes, it totally is. So did you prepare for this superhero role by watching old Superman and Ironman movies only to find out you probably should have been watching horror movies and Terminator because these guys are just diabolical villains.
Antony Starr: Yeah, exactly. There’s not much I could reference for this particular character, but I tell you, popular culture for a long time now has been saturated with comic books and Superman has been around since day dot. So I think everyone has a pretty good sense of who he is and it really comes down to just, okay, what would Superman do? Then do the opposite. But one thing I did do, which I never thought about until it was coming up was, I spent a bit of time, YouTubing, Superman and any character that flies just how they, how they positioned themselves and what they do with their hands and their legs, because it’s actually quite specific and requires a little more thought than you might imagine to get the balance right. So that was the most that I did in terms of referencing old superheroes, was trying to get some tips on flight.
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Jake Perry: Nice. I think the original Superman with Christopher Reeves, he just jumped off in place like you did in. And then maybe in the sequel and the third one, he had a running start.
Antony Starr: (Laughs) Really? Okay.
Jake Perry: Yeah, to prepare for this interview, I was watching some old Christopher Reeves interviews and that’s what he said.
Antony Starr: Oh, is that right? That’s funny. We came up with a thing where we’re like, okay, how would he fly? So I do this little crouch in cross my arms above my head and then leap up. We call it, what did Eric call it? We called it the dolphin dive or something like that. They need one frame of me with my shoulders back and arms back off the ground legs together so that then they can CGI the takeoff. And honestly, it looks so funny. The little photo of me doing the rising dolphin is just hysterical. It looks so absurd. It looks great when they finish it off, but they need that one still shot and it looks crazy every time.
Jake Perry: So how has your character developed in season two? Do we finally get to see a vulnerable side of Homelander?
Antony Starr: Yes, definitely. Although I do think that there is vulnerability in season one, although it’s maybe outweighed by some pretty horrendous deeds. But I think there’s elements of it in season one, like when Stillwell, when they sleep together, he’s very vulnerable cause he doesn’t perform well. And we see a chink in the armor when someone leaves a blanket on the bed. So I think there are these elements peppered through season one, but yes, short answer to your question is yes. Season two, really, whereas by the end of season one Homelander is in a very stable place and very much taken control of his environment and very bold steps towards achieving his goals. And then season two, he’s really very early on, really destabilized and put on the back foot. So that does definitely lead to seeing a lot of different sides to him, not just vulnerability. Ultimately they’re all different ways of expressing that vulnerability, but for sure, we got a lot deeper and a lot more intense.
Jake Perry: Back to Stillwell. You lasered Elizabeth Shue in the eyes. That was so harsh! I loved her in Back To the Future 2.
Antony Starr: I know. Dude, she was my childhood crush. My dad when I was little, took me to see The Karate Kid and she was my childhood crush. So I felt borderline criminal to stand in front of her and also.. Well, at least I was upset. You don’t see many people lasering someone’s eyes out while they’re crying. So at least there was some sentiment there. Elizabeth is amazing. She’s such a great lady. The real bummer was that I didn’t get to work with her again. That was the real shame for me because she was such a great person to have around.
Jake Perry: She was really nurturing to your character. In season two do we find someone to replace that void?
Antony Starr: Yeah. I’m not gonna say who, but mayybe! I look at it like, he’s the strongest character physically on the show, but the weakest emotionally. That unbridled neediness that lies within him has to find something, has to find someone. So part of season two is his search for a new mummy. It’s not a smooth road, but it is an interesting road andnd I think the fans are gonna love it.
Jake Perry: Good. Good. So if you had the option yourself, Antony Starr, of taking Compound V, would you do it?
Antony Starr: Oh God, no! Honestly, because it doesn’t work in adults, so if I took it now my head would blow up, I think. Secondly, I don’t know… You might end up like the Deep, and then where would you be? (laughs) You have gills and you can talk to fish. If that’s your superpower, I’m not sure I’d want that.
Jake Perry: I was a huge fan of the show Banshee. I watched this whole season of The Boys and I didn’t even know it was the same guy until I read off of your IMDB credits. I’m like, that’s the Banshee guy? No way! It must be nice for you to finally not get your butt kicked every episode in this show.
Antony Starr: Oh my God. Are you kidding? I’ve got a skip in my step every day I go to work cause I know I’m not going to get beaten up by a 250-pound man. That show was amazing and it was so much fun to do, but it was pretty brutal and very physical. As I got older my body is less willing to be thrown around, like it was thrown around. It was black and blue most of the time. But actually you mentioned Banshee, it’s been pretty great actually, like with The Boys, appealing to a broader audience, a wider audience, than Banshee ever did. So a lot of people have been sort of digging into, scraping into people’s IMDB pages and trying to figure out what other things some of the cast have done. It’s actually given Banshee another little resurgence, which has been really cool because it was such a fun show to do and I got such fond memories of it. Yeah, It’s great. It’s getting a whole ‘nother recent life.
Jake Perry: And didn’t you star in a movie with one of the bad guys from that show, what was it called? Gutterbee?
Antony Starr: Yeah, Ulrich Thomsen who plays Proctor on Banshee. First of all, he’s a great actor, but he’s also a dear friend and he’d written a film about sausages that he asked me to be the lead-in. So I went and did that with him and it was a lot of fun.
Jake Perry: Oh right on! I see in a lot of your personal appearances, you’re wearing band shirts. I’ve seen a Motorhead shirt, The Who.. I love eighties metal. That’s my favorite genre of music. It’s so funny because it’s like these superheroes pretty much wear the same things as eighties rockers, spandex and shoulder pads.
Antony Starr: (laughs) Yeah, exactly. Honestly, I’m a big fan of the band shirt. I feel more comfortable in a tee-shirt, to be honest, I’m fairly laid back. So whenever I can squeeze a band shirt in there and promote one of my favorite artists, I’m gonna do it. Yes. Go spandex.
Jake Perry: Speaking of spandex, is that suit that you wear, the costume, is it comfortable or is it bulky? Do you like walking around in that all day?
Antony Starr: It’s pretty uncomfortable. It looks good. But it’s not particularly functional. So it’s a constant work in progress to adjust things. And they’re pretty temperamental these suits ,and they’re very specific to your body shape. There’s a lot of things held in place by a lot of different chords and latches and velcro and things, stitching seems to come apart a lot and they do require a lot of maintenance. Let me put it this way, by the end of the day I know that I’ve been wearing a suit and I’m more than happy to get it off. That’s not a gripe, I’m not even complaining about it. If I could wear a cotton wool suit, I would, but I can’t, so I don’t. And just have to get on with it.
Jake Perry: You wear it well, so it’s all good.
Antony Starr: Yeah. They look amazing. We had the costume designer, LJ, Laura Jean Shannon, she’s amazing and super talented and she does a great job with them. These things, no matter the superhero thing that you’re watching, the suits are a handful. Apparently the suits have a good union and they throw their weight around quite a lot and demand attention. We’re not unique in that respect.
Jake Perry: The Boys was filmed in Toronto. My all-time favorite actor is from Toronto. Are you familiar with Corey Haim?
Antony Starr: I am very familiar with Corey Haim. Of course, he’s great.
Jake Perry: Alright, taking a look back on your career, you had the ponytail in Xena: Warrior Princess. the sick Rod Stewart mullet in Outrageous Fortune, the beard and American Gothic, the shaved head in Banshee, and now you wear a Cape in The Boys. What’s next for Antony Starr?
Antony Starr: I gotta be honest, mate. I’m really excited to get back and do season three of The Boys, whenever we actually can get back to Toronto, that’s going to be awesome. In the meantime, I’m throwing my hat in the ring for jobs, but nothing at the moment, nothing much shooting in the States. There are only a few jobs going on due to COVID, most of which seem to be in Eastern Europe. So I got a couple of things that may or may not happen, a lot of it is COVID dependent and whether things stay the same or fluctuate. At the moment I’m just trying to get through 2020 and then we’ll see what happens.
Jake Perry: Yeah, we all are, man.
Antony Starr: I know, I’d love to say I’m in a different situation, but I’m just another squirrel trying to get a nut, brother. My mood is fluctuating like everyone else, good days and bad days, but hopefully, that’s all gonna come to an end soon and we can get back to doing what we do.
Jake Perry: So last two questions to wrap this up. Do blondes have more fun?
Antony Starr: (laughs) Well, certainly when it comes to what I get to do on the show, yeah, it’s a lot of fun. It’s been, if not the most fun I’ve had on the set it’s, it’s first equal. It’s just such a fun character to play and such a great bunch of people. So, in this case, I have to say, hell yes.
Jake Perry: Alright. Who’s your personal superhero?
Antony Starr: I should probably say my mom and dad, or my dad or something like that, shouldn’t I? But personal superhero…I’m a big fan of Laird Hamilton, the big wave surfer. He’s fearless. He was a pioneer in big wave surfing. When people said things were impossible, he broke those barriers and I think if you take that kind of attitude into anything you do, then it’ll send you in a good state. And as he’s gotten older, he’s in denial of aging or something, I know he’s getting injured more, but he’s apparently he’s got bung hips and a few injuries going on now, but that guy’s attitude is second to none and his achievements have matched that, so I’m going to say Laird Hamilton.
Jake Perry: Great answer. Antony, thank you so much for talking to me. You’re the man. I look forward to season two and three of The Boys.
Antony Starr: Alright mate. Good luck, thank you for your time.
The Boys Season Two premieres on Amazon Prime on September 4th. Stay up to date with all things Homelander and Antony Starr and follow him on Instagram at @Toni.Starr. And remember, “You guys are the real heroes.”
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