Shooting The Boys' Disturbing Gills Scene Sounds Like It Was A Nightmare

The Deep in Amazon's The Boys

Amazon’s The Boys has been one of the subscription streaming service’s most high-profile shows since it made its first appearance last year. Some of the reason for its popularity may have to do with the show’s moral ambiguity as well as some extremely distressing scenes. In fact, Chace Crawford recently admitted to his Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley that one scene in particular was harder to watch than shoot, though it’s worth noting shooting the scene wasn’t a cakewalk either.

The moment in question – and we’re about to get into some Season 1 spoilers here – is a scene in which The Deep starts hooking up with a girl who clearly wanted to mess around with someone with an unusual body type. She starts fingering his gills and he repeatedly asks her to stop after which she basically molests him against his wishes. It’s horrible to watch as a viewer and Chase Crawford recently said he agreed watching the scene was actually worse than having to film it with the actress.

It was harder for me to watch than it was to shoot. It was tough for me to watch, and trust me, it was not fun to shoot, either, with the director getting right in there and giving very specific notes.

Up until that point, the viewers have very little empathy for The Deep and The Deep’s journey, particularly given one of his earliest acts on the show is blackmailing Starlight into giving him a blowjob. But this show has always done a good job about giving the audience reasons to have empathy for characters we also think are dirtbags. It’s such a visceral scene to the point Chace Crawford was uncomfortable watching it on TV, despite knowing what was coming.

The Boys actor also detailed to Penn Badgley on Variety’s Actors on Actors exactly what it was like filming the gills scene. Apparently it was done with practical effects and he also gave a nod to the guy who made the fake torso for the scene. Having said that, it sounds like it wasn’t particularly appealing to have to film either.

Yeah it was a bunch. They did the actual prosthetics on my skin for the first part of the scene. And they had this great special effects guy replicate my entire torso, down to like the chest hair. And so I’m laying there and I have my own fake torso on me with the gills that have a little bit more room and he’s behind me just pumping in with these air pumps so they move. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, guys, I’m nauseous, can we just get out of her?’ Then directing her, it was a whole thing.

Even now, months and months after I initially watched this scene it stands out as a disturbing moment, so I can’t imagine what it was like to actually create the TV moment on set. Meanwhile, because I’m getting nauseous and can’t spend another second talking about the girl's decision to dig into The Deep's gills any longer, let’s delve into more positive news.

The Boys was actually already renewed on Amazon ahead of the release of Season 1. New episodes were filmed before quarantine got underway, which means Amazon is preparing to release Season 2 and soon. An announcement was made last week that the Eric Kripke show will officially be returning on September 4, so you'll be able to pull out those superhero capes sooner rather than later.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.