“We really wanted to create a legitimate superhero universe, one that could play with the big boys, if you will,” reveals superhero specialist costume designer Laura Jean Shannon about building the world of real-life celebrity superheroes on Amazon’s “The Boys.” “We have basically become the co-architects of the Vought cinematic universe over the course of several seasons,” she says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Shannon above.
“The Boys” depicts a world in which real-life superheroes are revered as celebrity gods keeping the community safe. Writer/director Eric Kripke developed the series for the screen, based on the comic book series of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. Its large ensemble includes stars Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Chace Crawford and Erin Moriarty, with Aya Cash joining the show for its second season. The satirical action drama explores what happens when these heroes go rogue and abuse their powers, telling a highly entertaining cautionary tale about celebrity worship, materialism, fame and greed.
The show’s second season has been a hit with fans and critics alike, scoring an impressive 97% at Rotten Tomatoes. The core of the show is about the violent acrimony between the powerful “supes” and the misfit band of vigilantes hell-bent on destroying them, dubbed “the Boys.” While the bad blood between the two sides remains the overall point of the show, its sophomore season was driven in large part by its female characters, as season two introduces a new “supe” to the dynamic, with the charismatic, sarcastic and ultimately terrifying Stormfront (Cash) joining the Seven, who we soon learn is an immortal Nazi.
For Shannon, the show has to not only be grounded in reality in many ways, but the intricate and complicated designs she brings to life must also perfectly balance utility, practicality and aesthetic. “It’s a trifecta of reality and form and function, so what comes first? Form has to lead function in fact when you’re doing a show like ‘The Boys’ because it’s a practical show where these characters are wearing these suits practically doing action. And then you have that third little box that you just ticked, which is how it speaks to the actual character and how it plays into what we’re trying to embody,” she explains.
“We really wanted to focus on dialing in to this upgraded cinematic aesthetic, so all the fabrics are custom made, all of the unconventional materials are sculpted for each of the characters and it’s all integrated to have a very cohesive superhero feel and vibe that isn’t a farce, that isn’t a whim. They’re not a joke. They’re actually legit. The universe we’ve created is legit and in so doing, everything is grounded,” Shannon points out. “It’s this grounded reality that our show embodies, so that the superheroes could live among the normal human beings on Earth, in our story, and we could tell the stories that we tell that are as impactful as they are.”
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