In the subversive superhero satire “The Boys,” Wee Hughie (Jack Quaid) had a messy, violent introduction to the world of Supes. His girlfriend, Robin (Jess Salgueiro), stood a foot off the curb, right in front of him, and then in a second was reduced to blood and guts when the speedster A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) carelessly ran through her. Hughie was left to stand in shock, covered in Robin’s blood.
“The Boys” is shot in Toronto, so Quaid stopped by the most recent Toronto Comic-Con (attended by /Film’s own Sarah Bea Milner). While there, the actor revealed this scene wasn’t just Hughie’s first appearance. He revealed, “The second day I ever had on set … was Robin passing away. Light way of putting it. It was just such an insane day.”
The second day of a new job is usually when you start to get a true sense of what you’re in for, and Quaid certainly did. In his recounting of the scene, he also gave some insight into how it was filmed. Spoiler alert — there was a blood cannon.
Robin’s death in the pilot is a near recreation of the opening scene of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s original “The Boys” comic, right down to Hughie realizing in horror that he’s still holding onto Robin’s severed hands. In a comic, characters can easily change position from panel to panel without the illusion of movement being broken. In film, though, there’s continuous coverage and a reality beyond what the artist draws. That’s why some trickery was needed.
The death begins with a close-up of Hughie with the back of Robin’s head facing the camera. Then she disappears with a zoom effect and the scene cuts to the back of Hughie’s head. It cuts back to Hughie’s face a few seconds later before the camera does a circular, 90-degree pan, revealing the blood splattering on Hughie’s face and Robin’s remains floating mid-air, all in slow-motion. You see bits of blood hitting the right side of Hughie’s face — that’s what the cannon was for. Quaid recalled:
“There was a slow-motion camera and a blood cannon literally aimed at my face. You don’t see it on the other side, it’s just dudes with like a cannon with wadded-up toilet paper for the gore. And you know, food coloring red dye number five, oatmeal. It just goes right in your face — at a high velocity as well! And then you’ve got to change.”
Despite how disgusting that sounds, Quaid doesn’t regret the shoot: “I think I kind of liked that … that was my second day on set, because it was like, ‘Hey, welcome to the show!'” Indeed, Quaid isn’t the only star on “The Boys” who’s been doused with a blood cannon; Colby Minifie (Ashley) has as well. On a show as nihilistc, cruel, and heartless as “The Boys,” getting doused in gore is an occupational hazard.
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