As the title suggests, The Boys might be about the supes and their capes, but the real cape-wearing, ass-kicking relay happens with the women of The Boys. You can ask the leads Erin Moriarty, Claudia Doumit and Karen Fukuhara, who have been serving since the start of the show. 

With Season 4  premiering on Prime Video this week, I spoke with Erin (who plays Starlight), Claudia (who plays Victoria Neuman) and Karen (who plays Kimiko Miyashiro) in Mexico City, where they dropped the trailer and information about the new season. The theme of Season 4 is trauma, reveals Erin, as the characters explore their own trauma, bringing more vulnerable moments to the show. 

In a sit-down interview with the trio, they tell me about how empowered they feel as they return to play their characters – it’s the messiness and flaws of women on-screen that they have come to embrace. 

Playing a woman in a position of power that aptly reflects the realities of the real world felt ‘cathartic’ for Erin. She said: “It feels cathartic because we’ve all been in that position…addressing those moments…where you have to play nice, and you have to put on a facade.”

Read the whole interview below as they discuss the impact of the show, their characters and dish on their favorite spots in Toronto, where most of the filming takes place.

How does season 4 push the boundaries and limits of what fans have come to expect from each of your characters and you as actors?

Erin: It goes about as far as I thought it could go, and then off the cliff. I couldn’t have envisioned it and I mean that in the most grateful way.

What has surprised you in terms of what the showrunner has done with the series? Any particular storyline that you did not expect?

Erin: I mean, I’m gonna be honest, I did not expect them to do the whole storyline in the first episode with the Me Too component. In fact, when I first read the script, it wasn’t in it. (Eric) Kripke came up to me and he said, ‘That’s what we submitted, but we’re going to do this’ and I was so enthusiastic about doing it. The interesting thing was the aftermath or the outcome was somewhat controversial. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s why we did it.’ Because you want to take a character that you introduce that is unambiguously moral, that makes the gametime decision that’s amoral, and how they metabolize it is the most important part. 

Claudia: I think the show does a brilliant job of pushing the envelope and pushing things to the extreme. But also, I go through the episodes this season, and I go through the scripts, and I’m like, that’s so aggressively human still at the same time. So you find the characters in these emotionally compromising positions that really push them to the edge. I think Eric said this season that the theme is trauma. Everyone’s exploring their own personal trauma, but you still have these beautiful, vulnerable moments in the show.

Karen: I feel like throughout the seasons I made assumptions about certain characters and then there are a few in season four that I was just shocked by the actions that these characters take. I’m in shock because…the growth, the arc, and sometimes it’s not in a good way. It’s in the opposite direction. So it’s all in the writing…it’s always such a pleasant surprise when you get to that moment and you’re like, ‘Well, how did we get here?’ And then you think back and you’re like, oh, they planted those seeds all throughout.

While the show is called The Boys, it’s the girls who have a significant role in the series. Can you talk about the women, specifically how you think each of your characters is carrying the torch, especially in S4, and how empowering has it been for you personally?

Claudia: I love my character. All of the characters are so complicated and messy and I love it. I love how they address hypersexuality on the show. There were so many times as a woman when you’re an actor and they’re like, ‘Let’s add blush’ or like, ‘She’s fierce but also she’s in a bikini.’ It doesn’t really come into the conversation…but if it does, it’s a very tongue-in-cheek kind of poking fun of it. Which is how Annie’s character was in Season 1 with the outfit switch turning hyersexualized, so there’s more poking fun at it…like having a lens on it.

Erin: And then she does it and is that the wrong decision in retrospect? Yeah, I guess one could say that. But you don’t know in the moment. I think that’s what it is. These characters are so messy. All I wanted to do when I was younger was make shows or movies that made me feel the way that I felt when I watched these shows about messy women, which was that I felt less alone.

You can’t say that Victoria Neuman is evil. I don’t think she’s evil. I think she’s in the gray area. I am, by definition, the moral compass, but I f**k up. The messiness of being a woman is actually kind of new, which is an unfortunate thing, but that part to me just makes me feel less alone whenever I watch it. So I hope women watch it and they’re like, ‘Okay, I had this moment where I messed up, but that doesn’t define me.’ 

Karen: Women in the world are multi-dimensional. It’s real life and it’s reflected on our show. I love that we don’t shy away from playing these characters. Giving them dimension, giving them colour, giving them a little more than being just good or bad. 

Claudia: It also doesn’t shy away from the issues that women face, it’s a social commentary and it really goes to the nuances of sex, politics, everything like that. So it’s great to see the show dive into that, and not hold back at all.

Erin, in an interview I loved what you said that how women in Annie’s position of power have to play nice, and how the reality of The Boys reflects the real world. Can you elaborate on this?

Erin: Yes and I really love that. It feels cathartic because we’ve all been in that position…addressing those moments…where you have to play nice, and you have to put on a facade.

There’s this ongoing joke that I’ve been thinking about—like telling women they need to calm down is like an issue, right? But I think if men kept the amount of secrets that we kept, that has to do with the system that is oriented around men, and we said, ‘calm down’ to them, I think they would murder us. I think about that a lot in terms of this character and the secrets that she’s had to harbour and she will forever have to harbour. These are the contexts that we need to provide with characters like this to hopefully add some nuance to conversations about why women might behave the way that they do, and not label them as something that feels reductive.

I have to ask about my city where you filmed, what are some of your fave places in Toronto? 

Erin: Trinity Bellwoods. Places from Season 1 for me, in the summer just going there or even during the pandemic we would spend our time there because you couldn’t go anywhere else, so, happy place for me. I will always love that park. It will always symbolize special times. It’s where I raised my little dogs. I love that park so much.

Karen: We had Jack’s birthday party there!

Claudia: It was fun!

Erin: It’s been a very special place. It will always be a happy place. 

Season 4 of The Boys is streaming now on Prime Video.