He’s left there holding her severed hands. The superhero rushes off and all of a sudden Hughie is in this world where he is so caught up with revenge. He gets recruited by this mysterious figure named Billy Butcher, who is a guy who takes down superheroes and, as he puts it, “spanks the bastards when they get out of line.” So it’s a show about revenge. A show about absolute power corrupting absolutely. And it’s so friggin’ insane.
SPOILER: That scene is so crazy. That’s a reaction that would actually happen if this were real life.
JACK QUAID: It was an insane day. That was my second day on set. I always mention that scene, because when I was originally trying to elevator pitch the show to my friends, it was hard to pitch because there are so many elements happening. But if I just describe that one scene, they got it immediately. They were like, “Oh! Okay! Superheroes are bad. There’s collateral damage and it’s about the people trying to take them down.” You just kind of understand based on that one scene.
SPOILER: Do you think if superheroes actually existed there would be people trying to take them down?
JACK QUAID: Absolutely! Just that scene with Robin, I’m like, “Yeah, of course if The Flash actually existed he would run into somebody… like, eventually he would have to make that mistake.” There are so many people walking around on the street. And I think there’s a reason why, in someiterations of The Flash, you just see nobody on the street when he’s running around. I think that whether or not their intentions are good, superheroes are still human and they’re gonna make human mistakes like that. And there are also people who, if you give them power, they become very, very corrupt. And that’s the case with the character of Homelander, who’s the most powerful being on earth. So why would he care what we, mere mortals, think, and what we consider to be moral and good? I feel like a lot of superheroes we know from comic books, it’s kind of assumed that they have good intentions and are good people, and then they get powers. But this is saying, “Okay, you don’t necessarily have to be somebody who’s a good person to have powers.” There are gonna be people who are straight-up evil. There are gonna be people who are indifferent and use their powers for their own selfish means. There’s more of a grey area and I think this show is a pretty accurate version of what it would actually be like if superheroes existed in our world. Another thing Eric said about the show, which is really interesting, is that it’s a show about masks. It’s a show about people showing different sides of themselves to different people. With the supes, they have a public persona, and then they have who they are on the inside that they don’t really show. I think the only two characters who we can see don’t have a mask, or don’t wear them initially, are Hughie and Starlight. Starlight eventually learns to put something on. She grapples with that. Like, “Should I be doing this?” And Hughie, there’s no way he can put on a mask. He just kind of has to be himself the whole time. So it’s an interesting show, especially when you view it through that lens. Everybody has a side that they show the world, and has a side that they keep to themselves.
SPOILER: You and your crew are vigilantes with no powers, but you guys are ballsy dudes. What do you think a person like Hughie is thinking?
JACK QUAID: The whole thing with The Boys is they have to outsmart [the supes]. Sometimes they do that via blackmail. Sometimes they’re trying to really research the heroes and find out what their weaknesses are. We have a hero named Translucent in episode 2 of season 1 who comes to a bitter end. I don’t wanna spoil too much, but we figure out exactly how to take him down. It’s bloody, for sure. But we kinda have to outsmart him and figure out a way around his powers in order to kill him. We basically have to think and plan and be willing to fight dirty.
SPOILER: There are a lot of cliffhangers about The Boys and The Seven and Vought. What can you share without sharing to much.
JACK QUAID: I think the one that most people are super excited for is what’s the deal with Becca and Homelander’s son. What’s going on with that? What is this house? I’m not gonna say anything about it, but we get into it for sure. We’re not gonna leave you in the dark. Something I’ve always wondered about is what’s gonna happen with Hughie and Starlight now. She basically broke up with him, and rightfully so. I think Hughie feels super bad about lying to her for that entire season, but she basically lets him go. I dunno. Is there still a romantic thing? Are they just done? Are they gonna ever see each other again? We answer those questions too. So, I dunno. I think I just spoiled a lot of the end of season one for anyone who hasn’t watched it [laughs]. There’s definitely a lot of lingering questions from season one, but I think we address all of them.
SPOILER: A lot of times with these secretive shows, the showrunners might not tell the actors too much ahead of time. Is that true?
JACK QUAID: I knew about some stuff that would happen with my character, but I really didn’t know about a lot of the cliffhangers until I read the first script. And I’m like you guys. I’m like, “Oh my God! What?!” every time I read one of them. [The showrunners] know everything and every time I’m in an interview setting with Eric, I feel so much more comfortable because he can say what he thinks is appropriate and I can just chill and not have to answer those questions [laughs].
SPOILER: Things are going very well for you with the show and the movie projects you have coming up. Does it get nerve-racking sometimes?
JACK QUAID: This is basically my therapy, where I’m always like, “Oh man, when’s the other shoe gonna drop?” I just feel incredibly lucky to be on these shows, but also just in general, I feel lucky to do what I do. So I always fear that someone’s gonna pop out and be like, “It was all a lie!” But I think every time I feel that, I just reflect on how I feel genuinely blessed and lucky to be a part of projects that, not only are fun to work on, but I genuinely love and would watch even if I wasn’t involved.
SPOILER: Do you feel like you don’t go to as many auditions anymore?
JACK QUAID: It’s weird. I had a few auditions over Zoom, which has been really interesting. It’s like doing a scene that you would normally do with another person in a room, but just over a computer. It’s just so odd. But definitely possible. Oh, actually, there’s another thing I have at Comic Con this year. I have a cartoon called Star Trek: Lower Decks. I’ve been doing some lines that we missed, basically from my closet—we’ve kind of converted that into a little voiceover studio. So I’m still acting, but there’s an itch that’s not getting scratched. And I know a lot of other performers who feel the same way right now. But mostly I’ve just been playing Fortnite with Jesse T. Usher, who plays A-Train (on The Boys), so it’s been great!
SPOILER: What can you tell us about Lower Decks?
JACK QUAID: It’s an animated Star Trek show. A comedy that focuses on, not the bridge crew or the captains or the first officers, it focuses on the ensigns who are on the lower decks of the ship. And they’re the ones who basically have to do all the dirty work. They have to repair the ship when it’s broken. They have to fix the food replicators. They have to take out the trash, basically, in the holodeck. And it’s great! I really love the show because it’s set in the Star Trek world, and it’s a comedy, but in no way is the show making fun of Star Trek or people who like Star Trek. It’s a show that hopefully audiences can laugh along with. Occasionally there will be a weird aspect of Star Trek that we touch on and I hope that fans can go, “Oh! I recognize that as being an odd thing in that universe,” and laugh along with us. Mike McMahan is the showrunner. He was a writer on Rick and Morty and he co-created Solar Opposites with Justin Roiland. And he’s the ultimate Star Trek nerd and taught me so much about that universe. I was a big Star Wars fan, and now I feel like Star Trek and Star Wars are kinda tied for my affection. He told me all the best episodes to watch of The Next Generation. Our show is actually set in that era. Before the events of Star Trek: Picard, but I think after or during the TNG era. To be a part of this universe is such an honor and such a responsibility because this show has been such an institution for so long. And the fact that I get to play around in that sandbox is really a dream come true—even if my character is a lowly ensign who is not that high in rank. Much like Hughie onThe Boys, where I’m on a superhero show and don’t get superpowers, I’m on a Star Trek show and I’m not on the bridge. But I’m having a blast!
SPOILER: Between live-action or animation, which do you prefer more?
JACK QUAID: I love both so much, but if I had to choose I’d choose live-action just because you get to interact with a whole crew full of people and you’re just in the trenches with people. I love being on set, it’s such a great experience. Animation is super fun and super great, but you’re only in there for like a day or so. You don’t really get to meet everybody involved in the project. And one of the things I love most about acting is the sense of community that you build. And you make friends, sometimes for life. So if I had to choose, I’d choose live-action, but animation does hold a special place in my heart just because I grew up on cartoons. And just being a cartoon, period, has been such a dream.
SPOILER: You said you’re into comics. If you could be a superhero in a DC or Marvel movie, who would it be?
JACK QUAID: That’s the one thing about being on The Boys: I’m in a superhero show but I don’t have any superhero powers [laughs], which is like, “Ughhh!” I know I’ve been tagged on Instagram as The Flash. I would love that. He would be really great. The other one though, because I’m lanky and I read the Fantastic Four comic books when I was a kid, would be Mister Fantastic. I feel like I could be a stretchy superhero. And I mean, Spider-Man has always been my favorite and I think I could be at least a good Peter Parker in that sense, but I’m not trying to take anyone’s job. Everybody who’s playing these superheroes now are perfect for the roles, so maybe there’s something that will come along that I’ve never heard of that will be perfect. Much like The Boys. I didn’t realize it was based on the comics, but there it was. Stuff comes along, and I would absolutely not be opposed to playing a superhero.
SPOILER: You sound like a fan and you think like a fan, which is why you’re always gonna give them the best version of yourself in everything you do.
JACK QUAID: Totally, thank you! it’s weird because I feel like if I wasn’t on [The Boys], I’d be at Comic Con just as a fan. I’ve been to San Diego Comic Con a few times before I was on The Boys and it’s just cool to be in a group of people who are just all into the same stuff you are. I’ve been to New York Comic Con as a fan, too. And I went to Dragon Con last year with Karl Urban, and that was one of the best times I ever had. Atlanta was incredible. The Atlanta nerds at Dragon Con are just incredible and amazing. I miss that too.
SPOILER: How did it feel going to your first Comic Con as a celebrity?
JACK QUAID: It’s really odd. Because in my head, I’m like, “Why are you waiting to meet me?” But I think just talking to everyone was incredible because you just get to know the fans face-to-face, which is such an incredible experience that I’ve never really had on any other project. Just getting to talk to people who are fans of the show one-on-one. And sometimes I’ve had really deep discussions about, like, anxiety, or people would tell me stuff and I was very happy to listen and get to know them a little bit. Especially at Dragon Con. Everyone was just so cool. I know this sounds cheesy, but I felt like after they left my table I genuinely made a friend of some kind. It’s been really interesting. I did a convention in Valencia, Spain right before everything shut down. And even there, I felt the same. These conventions have such a positive and incredible vibe to them. You can’t help but leave feeling very refreshed and very connected to everyone, to humanity, in an interesting way. I know that’s from a very narrow, comic book convention lens, but it’s very nice and I miss conventions during this time for sure.
SPOILER: Do you believe in ghosts?
JACK QUAID: Yes. There has to be. I’m in my apartment right now and I think there’s a ghost in here. I swear to God, there’s like a certain energy from one part of the apartment. I don’t think it’s bad. I don’t think it’s negative. There was one point where my girlfriend went out of town to visit her family and I was watching her cat at my place, and there was one room of my apartment that it would just go into and just start meowing out of nowhere. And things that I’ve never seen this cat do before. I dunno. I also grew up going to this place in Montana a lot, and there was kind of a cabin there owned by this dude, Warren Oates—he was like a Western movie actor. And everyone who ever stayed in that cabin would hear footsteps or had a sense that somebody was there. There’s gotta be something because I think as you live a life, you kinda leave behind energy. And at some place it can be so strong that it can carry over, even after you die. That’s what I think. And I might be wrong. Call me crazy, but I’m into it.
SPOILER: Have you ever experienced anything paranormal on set?
JACK QUAID: I personally haven’t while filming, but I know there was an area—and I don’t wanna give away too much about season 2—but there was basically a hospital or old asylum somewhere in Ontario that other members of the cast—not me—shot at. And everyone came away from it being like, “Okay, it’s haunted. There’s something there.” People were just kind of experiencing a presence while on set.