Tomer Capone on Playing Frenchie in “The Boys” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 24th, 2024  

Tomer Capone in Season Four of The Boys

Tomer Capone on Playing Frenchie in “The Boys”

Red Light Magic

Jun 13, 2024 Web Exclusive Photography by Courtesy of Prime Bookmark and Share

There’s something about that little red light.

Tomer Capone says he used to believe he grew up a reserved boy who somehow made his way into show business, but a fairly recent discovery of old VHS tapes of his childhood has reminded him that he’s been ready to entertain from the moment someone is ready to record.

These days, he’s ready to start a new season of The Boys (season four just premiered on Prime Video) and it’s providing Capone with some of the most fun he’s had as an actor yet—a thrill ride of a show with authentic and meaningful stories couched within a major tentpole of a TV series. On the show, Capone has been able to stick around despite the creators’ willingness to get rid of anyone at any time, and as Frenchie, that’s a good thing for fans who love his courage and convictions.

We sat down with Capone to hear more about his own creative background, the trust he feels playing Frenchie, and how The Boys is a “jackpot” for an actor.

Matt Conner (Under the Radar): I want to get to The Boys in a second, but I’m curious if I could pan the camera back in your own life, would I see a boy who was always trying to entertain?

Tomer Capone: [Laughs] To be honest, I was the opposite. But it’s funny that you ask because after finishing shooting season four of The Boys, I had some downtime to see family and I had a chance to collect old video cassettes of my grandpa that he used to take with his old Sony whatever. I’m talking about big-ass tapes that nobody knew existed. I had to find an engineer to allow me to see them on my computer. My grandpa basically raised me and seeing videos of myself as a 10- or 12- or 14-year-old is not an easy thing, but I was surprised by how much of a trapeze artist I was.

I’m still digesting the fact that even then I somehow had this obsession when the camera was turned on to do something extraordinary—to jump into a bush Jackass style, to make funny voices and sounds, to do something to get the camera’s attention. It’s crazy for me to just now learn some of that, because if you’d asked me that question a week ago, I would have told you that I remembered myself as a very shy kid.

But something about the red light on that camera being on allowed me to feel more free and exploratory in some way. Of course, it was very bad acting. [Laughs] I’m scared to watch it all at one time, so I’m taking it in a bit at a time. It’s me singing a Tupac song, imitating ‘90s wrestling heroes, playing Nirvana, or dancing to David Bowie in my uncle’s attic. Stuff like that. Crazy stuff to find on these tapes.

But I never did anything with it from there. I never went to drama school. I never went to acting classes as a kid. It was never anything in my landscape. I never thought being a performer or actor was something reachable or possible because of the environment I grew up in from all aspects. I didn’t look to the stars and say, “One day I’m gonna be on TV.” It was just a beautiful accident that got me back on stage when I was 27—funny enough, it was to deal with my shyness. That was my excuse. From that moment on, I never stopped working until this point.

Is that still how it is today? Is that relatable? In other words, are you still going from that shy kid to attention-seeking performer in a way?

That’s a great question. I think that shyness is still there and it’s something I hold onto dearly, dearly, dearly, because as an actor, you’re a grown-ass man. Let’s say on The Boys, Frenchie, as everyone knows, is all over the place. There’s a certain courage that you have to turn on like a lighter when somebody yells action. Then the shyness aspect behind the scenes helps me to recharge myself in terms of getting ready and to surprise my cast members or even myself more than anything.

Also I think the shyness helps me protect a certain authenticity in a way. It’s funny. It’s the yin and the yang in life. As an actor, everything is out there. Your feelings have to be on your sleeve and available at any time. Then in real life, I keep to myself. Even doing this with you and getting a glimpse of myself, it’s like, “What the hell is going on?” I have to have a hat or something to make myself smaller. [Laughs]

I love what you said about authenticity but I’d love to explore that more. What’s at stake if you don’t protect that?

The fear of maybe falling in love with your schtick, with your tricks. For me, finishing a scene and thinking, “I nailed it.” When I get there, please send your people to take me off-stage. You know what I mean? [Laughs] There always needs to be a little bit of danger, the feeling of screwing up, of fear—those things make the performance a lot more complicated and layered and interesting.

On a show in which it feels like anything is possible, which also means any character could be written off at any time, are you shocked that Frenchie has been around as long as he has?

[Laughs] Before I got into The Boys, every TV show I did, my character vanished in some way. I exploded. I drowned in another one. In another movie, we’re not even sure if the character is real or not. So if I’m finished, I’ll be ready to go out well.

Is it safe to assume this is a lot of fun for you?

With Frenchie, reading the scripts, it’s music. You know when it’s good or when it’s good for you. When you read something, you get a sense of how surprising it’s going to be on set or not because the scale of this thing is obviously big. But then when you go into the scenes and the relationships and the character-driven stories inside that big, big show, it sits on stuff like choices, love, friendship, power. It’s very, very grounded, as big as you think it is.

We hear it all the time, “This show is massive.” It is massive, but if you go into the core of what we’re really doing and what we’re really talking about, it’s about relationships. For me, it’s the relationship with Kimiko and both of them, broken as they are, to make amends with their traumatic pasts to see if they can forgive themselves. What is forgiveness? What does it mean? How do you reach your arms in terms of saving yourselves from the black holes that chase you? It’s all so beautifully written and made so clear to us.

And then it’s not as if you’re doing all of this alone. There’s a group of people doing it all with you. With The Boys, it’s a jackpot. It’s one of the most talented group of people I’ve ever worked with in my life, period.

Watching the show, it feels that element of surprise is ever-present. When you’re doing a cast reading or something, are you ever in the role of the audience and just shocked by the audacity of a particular episode?

Well, I’ll let you know a little secret: we actually don’t do readings. Which is something I really, really like. A reading is important and it does depend on what the project is about and how you assess the characters, but with The Boys, because there are five or six shows inside of this show, you want to be focused your little story. We do get to sit with Eric [Kripke, showrunner] and the writers and talk about our arc and where we’re going in our little story.

I think that’s smart because, I think with Season four, we’re up to around 15 regular cast members. Each cast member has a big arc and a serious story. So it’s very smart in terms of time management to get specific and get into the core of what we want to take away.

Also one of the big things is the say that we as actors have—talking about the story or talking about our arc and working together as a unit to make it better. I don’t take that for granted with such a big show. As an actor who loves my character, hearing the powers-that-be say, “What do you think? You know best.” That’s a win-win situation.

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