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Television

Crank That, Soldier Boy: Jensen Ackles Breaks Down ‘The Boys’

The Dallas native and former ‘Supernatural’ star will play an enigmatic newcomer on Amazon’s ensemble superhero series.
By Todd Jorgenson |
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Courtesy of Prime Video

You could say that Jensen Ackles is going from one superhero role to another. But the two couldn’t be any more different.

After 15 years and more than 300 episodes playing a paranormal investigator on the television drama “Supernatural,” the Dallas native will play a prominent role in the upcoming third season of the ensemble superhero series “The Boys.”

“Getting into a show that I was already a big fan of was a great opportunity,” Ackles said during the recent South by Southwest Film Festival. “Showing up on set, I tried to play it cool, but I was geeking out on these guys behind their backs.”

Ackles learned quickly that the new series — a subversive and irreverent take on what happens when superpowers aren’t always used for good — wouldn’t be subject to the same constraints as network television.

For example, during one of his first days of filming last year in Toronto, Ackles arrived early to the set, approached a nervous-looking camera operator who was eating a sandwich during his break and asked what happened. His response? “Man, I’ve seen some shit today!”

The show reunites Ackles with “Supernatural” creator and showrunner Eric Kripke. The ensemble cast includes Karl Urban, Laz Alonso, Antony Starr, Jack Quaid, Erin Moriarty, Jessie Usher, and fellow Dallas native Chace Crawford.

“It’s been a little different than ‘Gossip Girl’,” Crawford joked about his other famous series role. “It’s literally the most fun I’ve had working on anything. It’s been a blast every season.”

Ackles, 44, was born in Dallas and graduated in 1996 from Berkner High School in Richardson, after which he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He landed a supporting role on “Days of Our Lives” the following year and has been working steadily in television ever since.

His new character, nicknamed “Soldier Boy,” gives off a John Wayne vibe, according to Kripke. Perhaps spoofing Captain America, the bearded Soldier Boy arrives to join the corporate-owned hero conglomerate known as The Seven, except with a throwback wholesomeness that clashes with their rebellious diversions.

Kripke said the show will continue to expand its sharp satirical edge with regard to real-world politics and social issues in a fantasy realm.

“It’s important to really talk about what’s going on in the world with an unflinching eye, because things are challenging right now,” Kripke said. We don’t want to run from it, we want to lean into it.”

While their characters didn’t always mesh, Ackles said the camaraderie between the actors on set was excellent during the entire nine-month shoot. The third season will debut June 3 on Amazon Prime Video.

“It’s a thrilling ride to be on,” Ackles said. “They couldn’t have been more welcoming as a cast and as a family. It was lockdown, so there was nothing to do but be with each other.”

Author

Todd Jorgenson

Todd Jorgenson

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