War means nothing. Everybody loses. These are the moments where you wanna hang onto something. I have hope for better days.

Photography: Liron Weissman
Styling: Maor Robin
Grooming: Diti Messer
Production Assistant: May Cohen
Studio: DeStudio Tel Aviv

Prior to becoming the acclaimed television series on the streaming giant Amazon Prime Video, The Boys was a comic book series, and on a short list of what many might consider unadaptable. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a new initiate, you understand why. Have you seen the show? Yet, The Boys was always anchored by a great premise. A quintet of misfits are tasked with hunting down superheroes, or “supes” as they’re called in this universe, who, in true late-capitalism fashion, are owned lock, stock, and barrel by a corporation with the sole aim of turning a profit. Led by a brash Brit named Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), The Boys come together as a dysfunctional, yet endearing, family unit, rounded out by Mother’s Milk (Las Alonso), Hughie (Jack Quaid), The Female (Karen Fukuhara), and Frenchie (Tomer Capone). The Boys is in many ways a reaction to, and the much-needed respite we all seem to need from, the doomed, sexless, and bloodless MCU.

In particular, the show’s depiction of Frenchie—or Serge, a name he wasn’t given in the comics previously—is a far cry from his former counterpart. In his original itineration, Frenchie was highly erratic, known for his sudden and unflinching violent outbursts, where his loving nature was merely hinted at. After spending much of the first season as a cypher with a murky past, we’ve seeing him continually evolve, from a former gunrunner, Russian mobster, bank robber, drug-dabbling vigilante, and jack-of-all-trades mired in childhood trauma—some attributes that he still very much embodies—to caretaker. He sees in The Female—or Kimiko, whose name was also invented by the show to give her more identity and heart—a kindred spirit. Their relationship serves as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise frenetic, cynical, and brutal show, and fans shouldn’t be surprised to see the next season dive deeper into their fan-favorite, joint storyline.

News of The Boys’ season five renewal was announced at Amazon Prime Video’s first-ever upfront presentation, ahead of the show’s season four premiere. Elsewhere, on the big screen, Capone is set to star in Mikael Håfström’s Slingshot, a psychological sci-fi thriller about a group of astronauts aboard a possibly fatally compromised mission to Saturn’s moon, Titan, set for release this year.

Anthem linked up with Capone in Tel Aviv for an exclusive photoshoot, and for an in-depth conversation that spans his early beginnings, all things Frenchie, and his enduring love of acting.

The Boys‘ season four will launch with three of its eight total episodes on Prime Video on June 13.

Hi, Tomer. How are you doing, sir?

I’m good, I’m good. Where are you?

I’m in South Korea at the moment. You’re in Tel Aviv?

I’m in Tel Aviv. Man, it’s one of my biggest wishes to visit South Korea.

You should come. Call me when you do. I’ll show you around.

I’m obsessed with Korean cinema.

I’m actually gearing up for a local film festival.

What’s the festival?

It’s a genre festival called BIFAN. I go every year. It’s just too much fun.

What do you mean by genre?

Horror, mainly. The outliers. It’s like Comic-Con—a place for a bunch of movie nerds.

I can imagine.

It’s a different kind of audience. You know. You know what the fans of The Boys are like. 

I do, I do. It’s funny because they love it when we call them weirdos. They know who they are. It’s like those kids behind the school, skipping class. Every now and then, I’ll get this email or a message from someone on social media telling me that they just started watching the show and have become obsessed with it. It always feels like an initiation. I’m like, “We’re gonna get along, you and me. Welcome to the ride.” And this show is crazy, right? I don’t think it’s the healthiest thing in the world to binge all the seasons at once. Take some time and ease into it.

Well, you’re talking about me now because I watched the first three seasons in one go.

It’s a lot, right? It’s a lot to take in.

But it’s fun. It’s addictive. Once you start, it’s hard to stop.

True, but there’s a lot of blood and it’s graphic. Maybe you’re not sensitive to that kind of thing.

I am pretty desensitized.

You are going to that horror festival. You are immune. Also, please don’t eat anything that might upset your stomach when you’re watching this show. It’s a good rule to have.

Yeah, no dairy!

[laughs]

Can you believe it’s been five years since the series premiered?

I can’t. It’s surreal. But the amazing thing is, it stays fresh. I can’t say the same for a lot of other things I’m into, except for maybe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There will always be something fresh about that. Every season when they send me a new script, it feels like Christmas. And I’m Jewish. I don’t celebrate Christmas. I’m always so excited to open these presents.

Frenchie seems like such a gift for an actor because his story is never at rest. His past is murky and sprawling—we’re continuing to learn more and more about him as the seasons go on. Also, the show almost guarantees new experiences for you. Last season, you even got to do a musical number with Karen [Fukuhara]. You get to do a little bit of everything.

I do, man. Listen, it’s a great observation. You’re right on the money. It’s the most amazing playground an actor could ask for. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster ride. Driven by the comic books, our amazing writers are trying to set the bar so high episode to episode, season to season, and even stretching the actors’ talents along the way. I think every cast member would say that. It’s a joy, man. And with that musical sequence specifically, for a couple of days, me and Karen just looked at each other going, “Where are we?” In the middle of shooting the roughest, dirtiest season we ever had, we were dancing, singing, and laughing. It was a whole different experience.

Frenchie and Kimiko provide the few real bright spots on The Boys, and I’m curious to see where this relationship goes. I, too, feel conflicted about it. A lot of fans want to ship them, obviously. At the same time, they’re like siblings, too. Do you know what’s in store?

Do I know? Well, I do know what’s gonna happen in season four… Things are going to happen.

Okay. I can take a hint, Tomer.

[laughs] When we started all of this, that was the biggest question for me and Karen: What is this relationship and how are we going to approach it scene to scene? Is it familial love or is it sexual? For me, there was an aha moment. I work with animals and I love watching documentaries about animals, so when I do research, that’s my go-to. I saw this video of a black panther at an animal sanctuary that had been previously mistreated. He wouldn’t let anyone approach him. He was very aggressive. He didn’t take food from anyone. So the guy who owned the sanctuary just gave up. He said, “We need to put this animal down,” because there’s no trust and he’s starving to death. Then, a woman who claims to be an animal whisperer saw that video and wanted one chance to save it before they put him to sleep. It’s amazing what happened. Long story short, she was able to hand-feed him and pet him. I sent that video to Karen right away, like, “Oh man, this is it. This is the starting point for these two characters.” Then, obviously, it’s amazing to see how much they have evolved. In season two, we established them as the outsiders in the group, the foreigners, which is another thing that brings them together. Now we have these moments where they look at each other, hinting at something bigger that’s happening between them. But every time we get close to getting a kind of breakthrough, they have to go fight a “supe” or whatever it is. So I’ll just say that the relationship is headed towards something bigger. I think we should just leave it at that.

On the topic of language, this show provides no subtitles when I expect them to. We don’t get English subtitles to the Russian or Japanese or Kimiko’s sign language. That told me two things: One, the show gives viewers a lot of credit, knowing that we will still grasp everything that’s happening. And more importantly, we all become Frenchie as a result. Although he has a much better grasp of Kimiko’s sign language now, there was a time when it was his great frustration. All in all, I think it underscores the beautiful idea that love transcends language.

I love what you said. They’re twin flames. Listen, it’s so funny you say this and I’m so happy to hear it because, you need to understand, when we started the whole sign language business between Kimiko and Frenchie, we were really scared about it. We asked ourselves, “How is the audience going to feel about it? Are they going to have the patience for it?” Because the show is so fast-paced and action-packed, we thought maybe people will wanna skip those parts. Maybe it’s too intimate in this loud kind of show, you know what I mean? It’s amazing to hear from you and from other people that tell me that Frenchie and Kimiko are the heart of the show. There is something that happens in this loud world when these two come in where you don’t even need the words to describe it. There’s intimacy. It gives you a breather before we go back to the crazy stuff.

We need this levity.

We do, we do. Tell me about it, man. Also, I hate to burst your bubble, brother… In season four, we will have a bit of subtitles, because Kimiko wants to talk, you know what I mean? She wants to explain things. She wants to complain. She wants to put Frenchie in his place. So we had to give some words away with the subtitles because she’s fully communicating at this point. 

But the thing is, you’ve come this far without ‘em. Using them now is like a stylistic choice.

I agree, I agree.

You’ve had great recurring guest stars and cameos in past seasons. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is obviously a new player. What dream casting choice would you make for future seasons?

I always say this: I wanna see Frenchie’s father. So how about Jean Reno?

That’s a good one! Léon. I’m impressed by that answer.

He’s a great actor. He could play Frenchie’s papa.

The show is incredibly sprawling. And it’s fantasy, but very much rooted in the real world. It tackles cults, terrorism, politics, addiction, capitalism, celebrity culture, and also, to quote you directly, “exploding genitalia.” Everything is happening on The Boys.

Oh man, now I’m remembering something we shot in season four that made me go, “Are we allowed to air this? Is it legal to put this on television?” But at the end of the day, it’s comedy, too. We do it with a wink. We’re entering an unwritten agreement with the audience that it’s entertainment.

You’ve explored so much already, but one thing you have yet to explore on the show, which I’m sure fans are eagerly anticipating, is seeing Frenchie’s power manifest with Temp V.

I’m ready to flex. Just beat me up, you know what I mean? This is something I’ve been saying out loud: I’m waiting for Frenchie’s moment to shine with the drug—the one drug he has never tried. He has done everything else, man. I think it’s time. And you know what the funny thing is? In the graphic novels, they’re all V’d up, basically, so they’re all very strong. But on top of that, Frenchie also has a developed sense of smell. I can’t imagine the world of The Boys smelling very good.

That never even crossed my mind. But I believe it. So, I’m not at all familiar with the comics. I’m curious to know how faithful the show has been, and will continue to be, going forward.

At this point, I don’t know which one is wackier. They’ve been bringing in so much fun stuff from the comics. In season three, we got to know Jamie, the V’d up hamster. Also taken from the comics? Love Sausage. [laughs] We’ll see, man. There’s a lot of surprises coming in season four that’s pulled from the comic books, and there are also new characters and storylines in the mix. When I first got this gig, I wasn’t familiar with the comics, either. I was opening up the pages and looking at this guy going, “How am I gonna pull this off? I can’t picture it. I don’t understand it.” And the weirdest thing is, going from volume to volume, Frenchie is drawn completely differently.

What? Why?

I don’t know. In one volume, he’s like fifty years old. In another volume, he’s young. His face is squished, and then he’s more beefy with muscles and he looks like Popeye the Sailor Man. [laughs] I’m like, “Alright, alright. That’s interesting. I can work with this. It’s abstract.” Or something like that. It’s something we could build from. So this also kind of answers your question about how they take the source material and make it into something that’s our own, you know what I mean?

I know of one very particular way in which you made Frenchie your own: the crop top.

[laughs] I brought it to the table. I don’t know if I should apologize or say you’re welcome.

I saw a Reddit thread about this very thing. People say you have the best drip on the show.

Then it was a defining moment for Frenchie. As an actor, you need a certain connection to these bigger than life characters. At the time, there were a lot of French punk rock bands I was listening to. And Iggy Pop. David Bowie. Mick Jagger. They have this feminine aspect to them.

Androgyny, for sure.

I saw that in Frenchie completely. It was obvious to me that he’s still discovering who he is. He feels like an alien on Earth, trying to figure out who the hell he is in this very masculine world. When I saw that t-shirt, it looked super cool, and there was this music playing in my trailer. Funnily enough, they came in with scissors to take the tag off, and I cut into the shirt. Eric [Kripke, showrunner] was on set that day. I remember Eric looking at me. He said, “That’s a crop top, man. Isn’t it a bit short?” I said, “Yeah, and Frenchie loves it.” And he said, “Well… Why not?”

Congratulations on getting the green light for season five. Season four hasn’t even aired yet.

Rock on!

You film this show in Toronto, right?

We do, yes.

So when are you heading back there?

I think at the end of the year—if the world is still standing, you know?

How can we not talk about Gaza and everything that’s happening in your region?

Feel free, man. You’re asking the questions.

Whenever people ask you what you’d want your own superpower to be, your answer is always the same: to heal people. And I know you’re not just talking about physical wounds. You’re talking about healing whatever it is that causes people to hate, inciting conflict. You’re vocal about real-world issues online. How do you navigate this as a public-facing person?

It’s an ongoing learning experience. For me to say that I know how to navigate it or know how to jump over puddles would be a complete lie. It would be arrogant of me to say that. I’m not even close to knowing it. The things that are unfolding where I’m from, where I was born and where I was raised, are really bad right now. Optimism is a hard thing to find at the moment. Listen, I’m taking it day by day. I’m trying to trust my internal compass and see things as they are. I’m not trying to educate anyone on anything. I’m not trying to solve things I don’t understand.

I’ll say this much: I’m happy that you found an escape in acting—work that fulfills you. You’re also providing others with an escape in what you do. It’s not something to downplay at all. Compared to real-life atrocities, maybe it’s not as important. But it’s never frivolous.

I understand now, probably more than I’ve ever understood it in my life, that this profession has meaning. As an actor, you jump from project to project searching for things and learning new tricks. You develop yourself spiritually and mentally and physically. So you’re never kind of stuck. I’m looking around, trying to hang onto positivity and hopefulness, and to being compassionate and vulnerable and open. I’m finding meaning in bringing joy and a sense of relatability to people that need it from time to time. So things have become clearer about what part I have to play in this world. It’s also about what Frenchie goes through, this process of letting go of your past and making amends. He’s trying to be a better version of himself for himself, but also for Kimiko and for the world. He is always looking for honor and for justice. He’s a very heart-driven character. It’s amazing what people write to me. Someone will write from France or Germany or even Arab countries, telling me how they’re in a very tough time in their life. Frenchie sheds a light on what it means to be free in this world, addressing so many ideas and thoughts and misconceptions about being yourself, even having to do with sexuality. These are the things that open my eyes and makes me go, “You know what? There’s purpose and meaning to things.” This is a very tough time where you think to yourself from time to time, “What is this all about? What are we doing here? What does all of this mean?” War means nothing. Everybody loses. These are the moments where you wanna hang onto something. I’m so happy that I can be one of these things to other people in the work I do during such tough times. I’m definitely using my privilege as a well-known face to communicate a message of peace and love and understanding. I have hope for better days. And it’s a process. It’s not easy. I’m a human being, too. I’m striving and surviving.

Beautiful. So you also have a film coming out later this year. I’m curious about Slingshot.

Me too. [laughs]

Have you seen footage from the film?

Just bits and pieces of it. I left the production early. They still had some stuff to do. We filmed it during Covid and I know they had a lot of trouble with that. It’s an ensemble piece so that was not an easy task—they ended up reshooting some stuff. But it was a very good script. It’s like a puzzle. I’m curious to see the final outcome, too. I’m excited to just let it be and see what happens.

I believe you filmed this at Korda Studios in Hungary and other places around Budapest. I imagine you were mostly on a stage, though. The characters are traveling to Saturn’s moon?

Exactly. We’re inside a spaceship. I don’t really know how much I can tell you about the full experience because everything is being kept so under wraps. But I can tell you that I went in with so much excitement about working with the great Laurence Fishburne and Casey Affleck. They were amazing. They were very welcoming, and it was a very intense and interesting learning experience working with these two wild cats. It felt like a privilege and an honor. And I was just so excited to play an astronaut, you know what I mean? I got to investigate space and what it means to be an astronaut in my research. I remember asking my friend for his Oculus because NASA has this VR experience. When I got to set, I remember being really excited getting into the spaceship. But after a few days, the bright lights kind of hit you. It’s a very sterile place. We even had this bathroom device that’s more like a vacuum cleaner. I will say no more on that subject. [laughs] I mean, it all kind of changed my mind about the whole thing. I’m not sure I wanna be an astronaut anymore. So we gotta keep Planet Earth safe. I’m telling you, people, it’s not that fun out there. We don’t want to end up in space. We have to keep our own planet safe and sound. 

There are people out there who want to get off this planet ASAP, that’s for sure.

Go right now and plant a tree in your garden or something. Go do something for Earth. Do something for someone. It’s crazy how many wars and how much conflict we have here. Man, let’s not even get started on global warming and all the problems we have with climate change. The biggest names on Earth are looking to the outside to somehow solve this problem. Hopefully, this will change and we will learn that we need to fix what’s in front of us instead of looking for solutions in what’s beyond us. [Tomer bursts into song] “Ground control to Major Tom…

We can ground this conversation: I know that the reason you’re here is because a friend had suggested an acting class to you. You were very shy. But did you also want a career in it?

I didn’t think about any of that stuff. I didn’t grow up fantasizing about an acting career. I thought it was a secret that was saved for “the chosen ones.” It was a whole different planet. But I do remember loving movies, watching them and drooling in front of the television. It was my go-to place whenever I needed to feel safe. Edward Scissorhands was magical to me. Jurassic Park. I was like a sponge taking it all in. My grandfather was the one who took me to all the movies. I was very young when he took me to see The Aviator. At 11 or 12, I remember asking him, “How did they capture this?” He told me about Martin Scorsese and how he hires people to use these cameras. I didn’t even question it before that, and I was too little to understand anyway. Then I kind of grew out of it because life takes you somewhere else. I was doing something completely different. Basically, I was trying to stay out of trouble—that’s the truth. After traveling around a little bit in the east, I came back and started working on farms with animals. That was my interest. I loved everything that had to do with nature. That’s when one of my friends suggested that I should take an acting course. Like you said, I was shy and I thought it might help me. I was 25 or 26, so why not? It was a hobby. I was learning a new trick. I just wanted to see how it goes. Then, the first moment I jumped on stage, it felt familiar. It felt good. I thought, “This is a good space for me.” And I became obsessed with it. I watched all the Inside the Actors Studio interviews. I watched so many movies. I went through so many different phrases with movies: Korean movies, Italian movies, horror movies… From scratch, unknowingly, you’re being shaped into the actor you will become. In a way, The Boys is my first big job. It’s Hollywood. It’s the American industry. It’s a big deal. And I couldn’t be happier that it’s with this kind of character. I get to explore who he is from the inside out and from the outside in. It’s challenging me. These are the roles that I like to take on. Hopefully, I’ll continue to have more of them in my career. You always want that challenge. You wanna look for something different. I don’t wanna do the same thing over and over and over again. At the end of the day, it’s also a job, man. You gotta work hard. Even with a character like Frenchie, he doesn’t just fall out of your sleeve. You have to bring your A-game.

It’s the stuff we don’t see. You make it look effortless. Do you think Frenchie changed you?

Yeah, man. Every character does. And I just wrapped on a new romantic comedy.

So that’s what you’ve been working on in Tel Aviv. I was gonna ask about that.

That’s it. Man, I’m sick of myself. I’m feeling very sweet at the moment. Usually, I don’t feel sweet. I guess that’s what happens when you spend two months in the romantic comedy world.

Then we chose the perfect time to have this chat, right? You’re very sweet. Thanks, Tomer.

Thank you, brother. And have fun, man. Enjoy that festival.

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