'The Boys' Season 3: Nick Wechsler Breaks Down Becoming Blue Hawk, Herogasm, and Portraying Police Brutality

The actor shares he wanted to make his supe 'a loser, to make him more pathetic.'

Danielle Turchiano

Nick Wechsler as Blue Hawk in 'The Boys'

Prime Video

Warning: This story contains spoilers for Episodes 5 and 6 of Season 3 of The Boys, . Read at your own risk!

The third season of The Boys was the charm for Nick Wechsler.

The veteran actor, thus far best known for his performances on the original Roswell and Revenge, auditioned for the Prime Video drama before, including before the show even started for one of the main characters. But it wasn't until the role of Blue Hawk came his way that everything aligned.

"When I got the audition for it, he was described as being a local New Jersey supe, and they all want to be a part of The Seven, they just all can't be in it; that's the big leagues, and he's this local guy. To me, that was right in line with what happens with cops, a lot of them, I think. They said, 'He's their law and order superhero' and based on all of the dialogue, I just went, 'I get what he represents, so how do I see police? And what do I think is funny, him actually being tough or him thinking he's tougher than he is?'" Wechsler tells Metacritic.

Blue Hawk's super suit resembles police riot gear, and he takes it upon himself to clean up the streets of crime, but when he does it, he disproportionately targets and brutalizes Black men that he deems criminals. 

He comes under fire in the show for one particular instance when he grabs a man as he is walking home from work, but who he thought robbed a woman. Blue Hawk"curb-stomped him so hard it cracked the pavement," as the show explains the event. A-Train's (Jessie T. Usher) brother Nathan (Christian Keyes) tells A-Train the story and shows him some video footage of Blue Hawk on the news discussing what happened. As A-Train is on a journey of tapping further into his own culture this season, he (reluctantly at first) tries to form a bridge between communities. 

But that goes about as well as one might expect from a show like The Boys. Although Blue Hawk prepares an apology to deliver to members of the community, that event quickly escalates into more anger and violence, leading him to start yelling that "all lives matter; supe lives matter" and shoving people (including Nathan) so hard he brutalizes them, too. (Nathan ends up paralyzed.)

Since it gets personal for A-Train, he goes after Blue Hawk. Although he was told if he runs again, his heart might stop, that is exactly what A-Train does. He first chokes Blue Hawk, then grabs his ankle and drags him through the street until Blue Hawk is dead and A-Train collapses on the pavement, too.

Here, Wechsler talks to Metacritic about his inspirations for Blue Hawk, stepping into Herogasm, and how he feels about Blue Hawk's demise.

It seems obvious by now that if you're coming into The Boys to play a supe, you're not going to be playing a good guy. But taking on a role that asks you to embody the police brutality we see in the news everyday seems extra daunting. Did you have any reservations about it?

I didn't, weirdly. I don't know if the It's Always Sunny guys worry about people thinking they're actual pieces of sh-- or something. No, on purpose we're playing a piece of sh--. And to me, the fix is as easy as just, once they say, "Cut," they get the sense of what I'm like. On set when I was about to say ["All lives matter"] to a bunch of Black people, it was like, "Oh OK."

Did you or the show do anything before they called action in that moment? Because extras don't often know the details of what they are there to film, and as much as honest reactions might make for great footage, that is weighted.

The extras seemed informed. I doubt they saw the script, but maybe somebody prepped them for the sake of sensitivity or something. Or, the actors just understood the show: "We get that it's a comment." The extras were so kind and telling me, "Good job" and stuff, so it didn't feel like anybody misunderstood.

No, but it feels like there's probably added responsibility to tell this kind of story, given everything in the headlines.

Yes. I don't really get a chance to play assholes much, so I don't know, it was just fun. The other thing is, it would be different if I was playing, say, the role that Michael Fassbender played in 12 Years a Slave. But as you saw, [Blue Hawk] is either so sophisticated in hiding his true motivations or he doesn't realize he's a racist. He's unwittingly a major contributor to the problem.

Did you feel like you had to make a choice as to which he was, especially for a scene like the apology, where he slides into such anger to yell, "All lives matter; supe lives matter" and start throwing people around?

In my self-tape [for the audition] I found moments to demote him all of the time. We don't end up doing it in the stuff they used, but in my tape, I remember it said that Vought was somehow present [during that apology], so I just kept playing it like he was looking to them. He comes out and the mic squeals, and he apologizes to them, but in my tape I was making it like he was apologizing to Vought. It was stuff like that, finding ways to make him a loser, to make him more pathetic.

His excitement over Herogasm certainly seems to fall in line with that. That event just seems so sad and at out of touch. How much did you find yourself tweaking his response to his surroundings from what was on the page?

The only thing I fought for — and fought for is the wrong word because he was so amenable and supportive and wonderful — was just, "Hey, can I keep the mustache and the accent a little bit?" [Creator and showrunner Eric] Kripke was basically like, "Let me see the mustache. Come with it. Let me just see the whole thing together." He was just so wonderful and was like, "Knowing that it's important and it helped you find a character, the short answer is, 'I'm rooting for it.' The longer answer is, 'Let me see it in person and I'll probably say yes.'" And then the accent, in my tape I kind of [slips into heavy New Jersey accent] talked like this, but then they had me dial it back a bit because, he was like, "It's so bananas, what we do, that we want to ground everything else as much as we can." And I totally understand and agree. I just have a personal thing where I like to ride the line of, "What is too much?" And when I started talking like that at home, all of my choices came from that. Whereas, if I talk like this, I feel more like myself.

When you talk about riding the line of what is too much, what moment on set made you stop and look around and realize you were doing something truly outrageous?

Herogasm is insane. The fact that their set decoration, even before everybody was in their positions, it's like, "Hold on, you've got dildos stuck to every surface?" It was elaborately decked out and made so over the top and like a '70s porn. It was pathetically out of time, like Hugh Hefner's aesthetic or something, but just cranked up. And then the fact that in the background they had all these background actors who were naked or had socks on their junk or having simulated sex, just so that [Starlight] and I could have a conversation. That's going really far for a joke. And I'm so proud of them. I felt like many other productions would have been like, "Let's get that in a separate shot."

Like having her pull you into a closet to talk quietly and just seeing the two of you on screen.

Yeah, they'd find a way around it. But not The Boys. [Laughs] And still while being respectful and with an intimacy coordinator. Everyone has to be super respectful of these naked people undulating: Avert your eyes and people who aren't needed on set, get out of here, we can cover them up as soon as we say, "Cut." But there's an elephant in the room — a naked, undulating elephant and no one can address it — so with my instinct to ride the line or whatever, I, as the character, can address it. So, I was like, "I'm going to go find a salad to toss" and I walk into a room with two people f---ing, and I go, "Oh sh--, nice." Because, to me, he's a loser. And I was thinking that this guy has never been to this before; this is his first time being invited, and nobody really likes him.

That also explains why he is not completely naked.

In the script it said he was wearing blue underwear and boots or something. In a call, Kripke had said they were thinking in that moment of doing a robe or something. And I remember, even though the part of me that had gained weight and was not feeling as good, was like, "Oh that's not as funny." But my ego was relieved, so I was not intervening and telling him what I wished because I was a coward, like, "Listen, if he votes for robe, then I'll do robe because I won't have to show that I'm feeling this way." But then when we were doing the fittings for it, they were like, "No, it's gonna be this underwear." And I was like, "That's good. That's better."

Yes because when he runs out after Soldier Boy decimates the place, the contrast of the underwear and his not-at-all bloody body is so obvious and stark. How did you avoid having to get covered in blood, even if other characters' since he is less destructible as a supe?

They sprayed me and made me a little dirty looking. We didn't discuss it, but it might be that we want the contrast. In my imagination, it happened part in a different part of the house, he heard it and got the f--- out, like a coward. It's such a great, smart comment that this guy who is emboldened and empowered and deputized to protect us, is the first one out.

Between scenes that need intimacy coordinators, like Herogasm, and scenes that require big stunts, like the community apology or the end of Herogasm when A-Train grabs and drags Blue Hawk, which are more complicated to film these days, given all of the technical requirements and layers of safety and protection, both physical and emotional, for actors?

Because I was clothed and I wasn't doing any of the intimate stuff, I was spared some of the awkwardness. I was wearing a robe between takes, I was pretty well covered. So, I didn't get to really experience what it was like dealing with the intimacy coordinator. But on the stunt side, I remember they called me in for a rehearsal, and I was looking at the script and the production schedule and was like, "What are they talking about?" It was the moment where A-Train grabs my foot, and even this little thing, they rehearsed.

So, there was thick padding and they have me in a harness around my waist and then they had me hold my legs up. He grabs one, and he's on a treadmill, and he just has to run while holding my ankle, and I have to just flop around. But this is how safe they're trying to be.

I did get a headache because I don't think they were counting on me bouncing my head off the mat. But I was like, "I'm gonna do this because I feel like it should happen."

How do you feel about Blue Hawk's demise?

I mean, he deserves it. I think it's what every racist deserves. They all deserve to be dragged to death. I mean, if education doesn't immediately stop them in their tracks and make them go, "Oh I've been horrible," then drag them.

And hypothetically, because it's obviously way too late for him now, if Blue Hawk were to have auditioned for American Hero, what would his personal statement be about why he is most deserving to join The Seven?

It would probably that law and order matter most. Other supes, that's not their focus; they'll do that because it's what Vought's telling them to do, but this is my passion. It's like what [Donald] Trump's pretending to do: "I care about law and order." He's clearly a grifter who just f---ed so many people out of money, didn't pay so many people who were contracted for work, just a well documented liar, calling other people fake news. So, I think it would be something about how the truth and law and order matter more to him than anyone.

The Boys Season 3


Get to know Nick Wechsler:
In addition to the aforementioned Roswell (Metascore: 75) and Revenge (67), Wechsler is also known for role on Chicago P.D. (50), The CW reimagining of Dynasty (52), All Rise (62), and This Is Us (76).