The Boys is really on another level when it comes to the space they occupy in the world of entertainment; not only would the critically-acclaimed series be at the bottom of any list of shows considered for cable broadcasts, given its obtuse levels of violence and depravity, but the show takes every opportunity it can to make a statement about the intersection between capitalism and entertainment.
In the show, superheroes are not only crime fighters; they’re also their own individual brand, each with a line of movies and products attached to their name. As if that wasn’t enough, many of the promotions featuring these heroes bleed into our own world, with a trailer for the fictional film Dawn of the Seven, a behind-the-scenes video of the in-universe reality show American Hero, and a legacy PSA clip featuring Soldier Boy all serving as promotional material for The Boys.
And it seems that the cast of the show is just as committed to the meta marketing as they are to the show itself; Jensen Ackles, who portrays the superhero Soldier Boy in the show, revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he filmed entire scenes for a fake action hero movie starring his character.
I shot much more than just a fake promo. We filmed scenes. It’s like Die Hard or the original Red Dawn. It’s that kind of like, ‘We’re under siege,’ and it’s the ’80s. It’s a bad action movie, is basically what it ended up being. I remember thinking, ‘Oh God, this is terrible acting,’ and Phil kept encouraging that while we were filming.
The film, of course, isn’t a real film, which makes the dedication to the project-within-a-project all the more humorous. Perhaps we’ll get a sneak peek of Soldier Boy’s big screen romp somewhere down the line, but it might just be for the best if Vought keeps this one in the vault.
The Boys is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.