Erin Moriarty is everywhere you look right now. Her new series, The Boys, originally a popular graphic novel, is exclusively available for streaming on Amazon and has turned out to be a huge hit this summer. Amazon wasn’t surprised, having renewed the series for a second season prior to the first season being available to view. Moriarty’s character, Starlight, is an eager-to-do-good superhero who is a victim of sexual abuse in the pilot episode, at the hands of another superhero who has the ability to destroy her career. Unlike the graphic novel, Starlight refuses to stay a victim, and this is one of many examples of how new and intriguing this series’ spin on the superhero genre truly is. Her performance and the show’s success combined is quickly making her a household name. I was fortunate enough to speak with her recently on a busy media day for her, all while filming Season 2.
AG: You’ve got a hit show that is both critically and fan acclaimed. You’re in the middle of a media tour. What is life like for Erin Moriarty right now?
EM: We’re all here in Toronto filming the second season. It’s really nice to take the positivity from the reactions to Season 1 and fuel it into Season 2. There’s also something to be said about staying in our bubble, being away from my home in L.A. and celebrating in a humble way, together. It’s adding to the mutual effort we put into the show. Major gratitude for people enjoying Season 1 and using that gratitude in filming Season 2.
We’ve been here for a couple of months, prior to Season 1 coming out. There’s something really cool about a show coming out and being so well received all while being so knee-deep in that character. We’re not halfway done filming Season 2 yet but we will be soon.
AG: It’s pretty unusual to be filming a second season before the first airs. Given the reaction, has a third season already been agreed to?
EM: Honestly, I have no idea. That’s the interesting thing about being an actor: you’re the last to know everything. My fingers and toes are crossed. I would work with these people forever.
AG: The show is a really fascinating commentary on our society’s superhero worship. How much did you know about the project and your role prior to filming?
EM: I had been sent the pilot script, and as soon as I read it, I knew it would encompass everything you just said. I knew it was a new take on the genre, it was super reverent, topical, funny and also had all of these underlying commentaries. I felt so excited by it, by the idea of being able to laugh my ass off and the show having depth to it—that we would be sending out a message that contains important commentaries on taboo subjects in our society. I knew there was something special there, something with a different spin and with a bit more depth and humor than the typical superhero genre show that most of us have been exposed to.
AG: Your character changed quite a bit from the source material and then again in the original plans for Season 1, becoming more empowered and less of a victim in each incarnation. The story has been well circulated that the Harvey Weinstein story directly impacted the way your character was written to where she is now fully empowered to speak up. How do you feel about her, knowing who she could have been given the source material and also how current events changed her again to what we eventually saw onscreen?
EM: The changes that were imparted on her character and storyline were absolutely necessary. Those changes were what made me want to play the role and what made me grateful to play a role like Starlight. I think the whole point of the show is that we’re grabbing from the pillars of the zeitgeist right now, which happen to be sexual abuse, the #MeToo movement, organized religion, and corporations feeling like they own and can manipulate everything. The changes go with the theme of the show, it’s on brand and it was really important for Eric Kripke, our showrunner, to make sure that the adaption of our show, which is ironically called The Boys, empowers women in the best way it possibly could. I think that the irony here as well is that you don’t necessarily think of a woman who has been taken advantage of, sexually abused, as being empowered but I think that’s exactly why we did it. What the #MeToo movement also highlighted is that these situations, while in the moment are horrible, you can still be empowered by this horrible occurrence in your life. There was such a long time where women didn’t feel safe to come forward. I’m grateful that Kripke trusted me to play this character and touch on the #MeToo movement, which is exciting. It’s going to change things for women in this industry, which is well overdue and it’s a shame it’s taken this long, but I am happy that it’s finally happening.
AG: The speech your character gave in Episode 5 was a powerful moment of television. Can you walk us through what that was like for you as an actress?
EM: Unfortunately, her speech is a universally resonating speech for women in some way or another. It wasn’t like I had to deep dive into research to prepare for it. It resonated with me so much, the concept of not conforming to what people want and expect of you and in terms of standing up to those who have taken advantage of you. The emotions, the anger, I had to carbonate with, leading up to filming that moment, were very inherent to me and I’m sure that they were to a lot of other women, unfortunately. I think one of the parallels with our show is the concept of being a celebrity, certain aspects of the entertainment industry and how as a young women, entering the industry, what’s projected onto her. The things she’s manipulated into doing and the assumptions made about her. Unfortunately, I wasn’t immune to that when I first started out. It still happens. It’s still relevant. I drew from my personal experience, from what I’ve witnessed with other young women, and I wish it wasn’t something so inherent to me, that deeply struck a personal chord with me. I think it was also one of the reasons why we had to do it.
AG: I know we can’t get into spoiler territory for Season 2, but is there anything you would tell fans to be on the lookout for in Season 2?
EM: The one thing I can really say is that my character, as well as every other character, everything takes a 180 in all of our lives. We’re forced to adjust. Some of us can adjust well and others collapse under those changes and certain things being taken from us. Each character is faced with circumstances that are incredibly different than Season 1.
AG: Has there been any indication as to when Season 2 might be released?
EM: From what I hear, the plan is a year after Season 1 was released, approximately.
Be sure to be check out The Boys, available now on Amazon Prime Video.