With the imminent approach of The Boys Season Two approaching faster than a speeding A-Train, we had the chance to have a chat with Karl Urban (Billy Butcher) and Laz Alonso (Mother’s Milk) about what diabolical deeds might be committed by Butcher to try and get his wife back and whether Mother’s Milk will be able to keep him safe… and keep him sane. Read the interview below and listen to the audio here!
There are spoilers for Season 2 below, so here’s your warning!
Nerds and Beyond: Hi! So, a question for Karl: is there anything that Billy would not do to get his wife back? Where is the line for him? And, for Laz, at one point Marvin refers to Hughie, (sorry if this is a spoiler) as Billy’s “canary in the coal mine.” But I also feel like Marvin himself is Billy’s anchor, his moral compass. He’s the one that keeps him grounded. And so I was wondering if you could talk about their friendship and the sort of impact that they have on each other.
Karl Urban: Right. Well, first of all, the question is how far will Billy butcher go to get his wife back? That’s a very good question because you know, the Billy Butcher of season one was ruthless, and driven, and obsessed with seeking revenge. That was a false road to go down and Billy ended up getting punished for it. Season two for Billy Butcher is all about finding his wife Rebecca, and rescuing his wife, Rebecca. And the very question that poses of Butcher is how far are you willing to go to achieve that? Who are you willing to sacrifice? And, you know, some very, very, very interesting, diabolical events happen along the way.
Laz Alonso: I’m gonna break it up into two parts. As far as MM and Butcher’s relationship is concerned, you know, the way that I kind of interpreted it was: why would Butcher go out and recruit someone just to have someone constantly trying to tell him no? I strongly believe that he did that on purpose. That he knew that having someone who is a real friend who cares about them would be the only voice in that particular group that could get through to him enough to be his conscience. You know, he knows himself enough and I’m not trying to speak for Butcher, Karl, but I just feel like he knew that he needed a conscience, and in the moments where he might grow cold and lose it, he knew MM wouldn’t wouldn’t leave him out there hanging to do something that could cost him his life.
As far as the canary is concerned, there is a very motherly or fatherly instinct that comes out in all of us when we have a pet to care for. I’ve seen some of the toughest guys in my hood growing up, but give them a puppy, and all of a sudden you hear baby talk. And no matter how tough they try to act, they’ll sneak in a kiss or two on the puppy. And that’s what a small, fragile animal does. It brings out our humanity, you know, and it connects us to that. And in many ways, what MM was doing to Butcher was reminding him that, listen, this kid is a part of your humanity. You went out, you found him, you brought him in, and now he’s your responsibility.
I’m not going to call him a pet, but, you know, he’s your little brother to mentor. We’re all here as a family, but he’s yours. And it’s just a reminder of that connection. You know, when Butcher starts to go off on his own, it’s like, wait, hold on a second. There’s someone else now that’s relying on you, that’s a part of you now. And so I think that Mother’s Milk is in many ways, Butcher’s, external conscience. And if I’m speaking out of line, Karl, you know, let me know.
Karl Urban: I think you’re bang on right. And actually in the tradition of it, it’s a very smart literary device actually. And it’s one, for example, Gene Roddenberry used to employ on the set of Star Trek.
He, essentially, fractured the mind of Kirk in two. And he had the voice of his conscious and humanity, and altruism embodied in Dr. McCoy and cold, hard logic in Spock. And so quite often these two characters would debate the central argument or the central dilemma, and leave it up to Kirk to make the decision. And in a way, like Laz said, MM, is that embodiment of Butcher’s conscience. And He serves a purpose to connect Butcher with his humanity. And the canary is a very specific image invoking an animal because obviously it was used in the mines to alert the miners if there were any poisonous gases – because if the canary died, they would all die. And, not to get too big on it all, but existentially the battle there is really for Butcher’s soul, for Butcher’s humanity.
Remember to watch The Boys season two starting September 4 on Amazon Prime and stay tuned for interviews with the rest of the cast!
(Interview has been edited for clarity.)