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The Boys’ Karl Urban on that ‘bloody gross’ whale scene

Even fans used to The Boys’ over-the-top antics couldn’t have seen THAT whale scene coming – how could they when even its star Karl Urban didn’t?For a show that manages to shock you every week, that scene was jaw-dropping – disgusting and genius at the same time.Picture this. A group of runaway renegades in a…

Even fans used to The Boys’ over-the-top antics couldn’t have seen THAT whale scene coming – how could they when even its star Karl Urban didn’t?

For a show that manages to shock you every week, that scene was jaw-dropping – disgusting and genius at the same time.

Picture this. A group of runaway renegades in a speedboat is being chased by marine mammals. Dolphins’ fins pierce the water at great speed, and then an enormous whale breaches the surface, and standing atop the animal is The Deep, an Aquaman-type superhero.

The whale beaches on land, blocking the heroes’ only path of escape. It looks hopeless. And then, Billy Butcher (Urban) starts to smirk. He drives the speedboat right into the whale’s side. Blood sputters everywhere and our heroes are covered in whale viscera while they are literally lodged in the belly of the beast like a very unbiblical Jonah.

“Yeah, it wasn’t comfortable!” Urban told news.com.au with a laugh. “They built a 60-foot sperm whale on a beach and then rammed a boat into it.

“And it was a fully functioning set. So the interior of the whale is just blood and guts. And I still got a beating heart in the corner and it was pretty bloody gross to be fair. But we had a lot of fun.

“Every week on The Boys, when you get a new script, you open it up and you always have a moment of shock where you find yourself saying, ‘I can’t believe we’re going to get to this, this is just crazy’.

“It’s like every week there is some scene, or a collection of scenes that have never been committed to film before – and probably shouldn’t be – but we’re getting to do it.

“This is a huge passion project for the showrunner, Eric Kripke, and he’s using this as an opportunity to push the boundaries and test where the limits are.”

It might be mad to suggest there even are limits in a series like where The Boys, where they casually blow up, squeeze and rip apart a few heads, but its, uh, alchemic balance of outlandish, almost cartoonish violence with social commentary is what makes it work so well.

The Amazon Prime Video series, which will wrap up its wild second season next week, has earned acclaim and adoration for its story a group of morally bankrupt superheroes and the scrappy vigilante fighters trying to take them down.

The first season was a condemnation of the corporatisation and privatisation of law enforcement along with a dash of religious hypocrisy.

In the second season, the series adds the extra layers of white supremacy and the toxicity of internet cultures, primarily through a character, Stormfront (Aya Cash), who embodies the tactics employed by those who would drive division through fear.

It would be hard to miss Kripke’s critiques of the politics of 2020.

RELATED: The Boys season two review

Urban said it’s a blessing to be able to explore these social issues under the guise of a heightened TV show.

“I think [Kripke] has astutely managed to tap into issues that are of the most concern to him and it happened to coincide with the tragic events in America and the rise of Black Lives Matter,” he said.

“And this is not a new fight, it’s a fight that’s been around for years and one that’s dear to Eric Kripke’s heart. So he put it at the centre of the show and it just became very relevant.

“It’s a fun, gregarious show, but underneath we also get the opportunity to explore some pretty important contemporary issues.”

The Wellington-born Urban has been a mainstay in TV and movies for more than two decades, including early roles in international productions that were filming in New Zealand, including Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess.

Memorable parts in blockbusters such as Lord of the Rings, The Bourne Supremacy and Doom followed before bagging the role of Leonard McCoy in the Star Trek movie reboots with Chris Pine.

He’s worked with directors including J.J. Abrams, David Lowery, Paul Greengrass and Taika Waititi, the latter of whom cast Urban in Thor: Ragnarok as Kiwi-accented henchman Skurge, who boasts of having picked up two semiautomatic weapons “Des” and “Troy” in a place called “Tex-aarrs”.

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The character of Billy Butcher is an anti-hero with a penchant for violence, someone who very much operates in the grey zone in order to achieve his goals – the destruction of the “supes”.

But he’s also very empathetic – something which attracted Urban to the role in the first place.

“It’s difficult for me to be objective about [Billy] but if I had to put my finger on it, I think when you’re a character with real human flaws and faults, you do humanise him and make him relatable.

“Everyone can relate to someone who’s dealing or trying to deal with such a horrific loss, like the pain of losing your spouse.

“I also think Billy is sort of a fun kind of Machiavelli and he’s charismatic and has the ability to convince others to do crazy stuff. That’s always fun to play and it’s certainly fun to watch.”

As for where we should expect Billy to go in the already announced third season? Urban is as in the dark as the rest of us, or at least that’s what he claimed.

“I really have no idea where the writers are going to take it but I’m looking forward to seeing what that is because they have some brilliant minds in the writers’ room.

“As to what I would personally hope to see, I learnt a lesson a long time ago that an actor should never offer up that opinion because it might end up in the show!

“I’ll just leave it to those who get paid to do it.”

The Boys season two is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video

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