The Emmy-nominated second season of Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” featured a knock-down-drag-out sex scene between (formerly secret) Nazi superhero Stormfront (Aya Cash) and leader of the Supes of the Seven Homelander (Antony Starr) that looked very realistic — you know, as far as mid-air superhero intercourse goes — thanks to the show’s VFX team and the decision to treat it more like a stunt scene than a sex scene.
“It’s wild. The special effects are bonkers on this show,” Cash said during TheWrap’s Emmy Screening Series panel for “The Boys” on Wednesday, which featured the Season 2 star and executive producer and writer Rebecca Sonnenshine in conversation with TV reporter Jennifer Maas. “They’re so well done and it’s amazing to watch back, because I don’t tend to like to watch myself, but I loved watching ‘The Boys,’ because there is so much magic on top of what we shot with the special effects. So, it’s just enjoyable to see the things that you’re maybe like, ‘I feel a little silly doing this,’ they just make you look great.”
The “You’re the Worst” alum added: “The flying and fight choreography of that made this one of the most enjoyable sex scenes I’ve ever shot because they’re always awkward and uncomfortable. And that made it so specific, in a way. It was a violent scene, we were in a harness. It was so much fun because it felt like doing a stunt scene rather than a sex scene. And I’ve talked about the merkin, I’m not going to go into the merkin anymore (laughs). But special effects did wonders with what I was wearing, as well.”
(For reference, a merkin is an artificial covering of hair for the pubic area, which Cash wore for the sex/stunt scene, showing just how much behind-the-scenes “magic” goes into making something very unreal look authentic.)
Fans of “The Boys” likely know by now that the TV series was adapted by showrunner Eric Kripke based on Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book series of the same name. In that medium, the Nazi-supe Stormfront was a man. Per a conversation TheWrap recently had with Kripke, the idea to gender-flip the character for Season 2 — which was made before the first season had even launched in July 2019 due to an early second-season renewal by Amazon — was all Sonnenshine’s.
The executive producer and writer, who is nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for penning the script for Season 2 finale episode “What I Know,” says there were multiple reasons behind what was seen as a controversial choice by some die-hard devotees of the original source material.
“One of them was simply that at the end of Season 1, we lost a major female character [Vought exec Madelyn Stillwell, played by Elizabeth Shue] that was very important in Homelander’s life. And so I think Eric came in with the idea that he did want to bring Stormfront as a character in. But for the sake of the show and our characters, it really seemed the best idea to me, and to everyone, that Homelander have a really strong female character to play against and challenge him. And then we wanted to bring in this character. So, I mean, it was kind of a neon flashing sign that we should just combine those two things into the same character.”
Sonnenshine says the other part of her decision was due to the fact that “there’s something about Stormfront as a male that we’ve explored, that the comics have explored, and pop culture has explored.”
“But there’s sort of this insidious nature of a female persona that makes the ideas of white supremacy more palatable to people. It’s a little more stealth because it comes wrapped in a nice package where people are fun and pretty and make it go down easier… And you can see it out there. It’s certainly what’s happening out in the world. So it seemed like a really great moment to sort of seize upon that. And then we were just lucky enough to have Aya come in.”
Cash added: “Thank you! I didn’t know I owed my entire ‘Boys’ career to you gender-flipping Stormfront.”
“The Boys” received five 2021 Primetime Emmy nominations for its second season, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour), Outstanding Special Visual Effects In A Season Or A Movie, and Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series.
Watch TheWrap’s full Emmy Screening Series panel with Cash and Sonnenshine via the video above.