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I have an interesting history with The Boys in that I was pretty late to the table. I remember hearing about it when it first released back in 2019, and I had initially intended to watch it. I’ve always been big into superheroes so it was on my radar, but for whatever reason, I kept putting it off. Eventually, I started watching it in summer 2022 and was immediately hooked. Since then, I’ve watched it 4 times, and I still can’t get enough of it!
Going into it, I had no idea of what to expect other than it was a superhero show, so that early scene with Hughie and Robin (no spoilers) really caught me off guard. It was a fantastic moment to have so early on, and it really set the scene for what to expect from The Boys. I don’t tend to enjoy shows with so much gore, and I usually don’t have the patience for hour-long episodes, but this is my exception.
I love going to conventions, so when I saw that 4 of the cast mates were going to be in the same place, I couldn’t resist attending. Here’s my experience of meeting them!
My Experience of Meeting Them
- Who attended? Antony Starr, Chace Crawford, Laz Alonso, and Shawn Ashmore
- What was the best moment? The ‘The Boys‘ panel with Antony, Chace, and Laz
- Who was the funniest? Antony Starr
- Who was the friendliest? Antony Starr, but they were all lovely
- Who was the coolest? Chace Crawford
- Who was the most affordable? Shawn Ashmore
For those of you unaware of the North/ South divide in England, let me paint you a picture. Northerners are very proud of their heritage, and Southerners are very proud of theirs. There are stark differences between the regions which lends itself to some friendly (and less friendly) banter between the two. As a lifelong Southerner, the furthest North I’d ever been before was Birmingham, and I’d never intended to go higher than that.
So initially, when I saw that For the Love of Sci-Fi was being held in Manchester, I decided “Not a chance”. But the more The Boys guests they announced, the more I couldn’t get it out of my head. And when they finally announced that Antony Starr would be attending, I could no longer resist. So, I bit the bullet, booked tickets, travel, and accommodation, and waited patiently for the time to come.
I’ll be honest, the convention itself didn’t necessarily stand out amongst the many other cons I’ve been to. The location was comparatively small, and despite having lots of cool prop builds, there wasn’t all that much to do. It was also FREEEEZING, so everyone was walking around in thick jumpers and coats. You could tell that the celebrity guests were really cold too, and I do wonder if it affected their moods at all.
Still, one thing that did impress me was the organization, and it was easy to know what was happening and when. I also liked that all the talks were free, as I’d already spent so much money just to be there. The guests were neatly arranged around the hall, so it was clear where you had to queue for each one, and there was a separate section for priority customers (I was able to skip the queues due to my autism, an accessibility measure I was really grateful for).
I’m glad I was seeing 4 guests over the course of the 2 days, as well as some extra talks (Anthony Mackie, Clark Gregg, Christopher Eccleston, and Billie Piper were all incredible). Overall, it was a decent convention, and I was thrilled to get so many autographs for my collection.
- Autograph price – £80
- Selfie price – £80
- Auto/ Selfie Combo price – £140
- Photograph price – £80
Antony is a really funny and friendly guest who makes so much time for his fans. He’s perfectly happy to chat with you, and you don’t feel rushed or like you’re annoying him. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, yet he still has a very strong presence just because of who he is. He was accompanied by his manager, who was a lovely guy, but who I did find sometimes hovered a bit close during the interactions. It wasn’t really a problem, it’s just that being autistic, I get a little nervous when people are around me, and so I did feel a tad unnerved by the unexpected additional person in the interaction. Also, Antony definitely has a bit of a potty mouth, so not one to meet with the kids!
Who is Antony Starr
Although technically not the protagonist of The Boys, Antony is probably the actor you’d consider the star of the show. He plays Homelander, arguably the best villain in current media. Homelander is insanely powerful (within his own universe, at least, as he pales in comparison to superheroes like Superman or Thor) and unfortunately that power has completely corrupted him. He sees himself as a living god, and can’t stand regular humans, or ‘mud people’ as he calls them.
Antony’s acting in the show is phenomenal, and he does a perfect job of capturing Homelander’s fragile mindset. Despite being undeniably evil, Homelander never comes across as one-dimensional, and there’s a terrifying depth to him that’s extraordinary to watch, you never know when he’s going to snap. There are some hilarious memes of Homelander on the internet, and I love seeing the various edits people do of his character.
Antony also played the leading role of Lucas Hood in the show Banshee, where he played a criminal who’d assumed the identity of a sheriff. Banshee is so graphic that at times it makes The Boys seem PG, but aside from the shock value, it has a really incredible story. Antony also played twins in the New Zealand show Outrageous Fortune.
Getting His Autograph
To say I was nervous to meet Antony would be an understatement. He was the main reason I’d travelled all the way to Manchester, and I was just in awe of his talent. He’s my absolute favorite actor, my number one dream guest, and I was so worried I’d embarrass myself. I have a habit of getting star-struck when meeting celebrities, and I didn’t want to ruin my moment with him.
That first moment with him on the Saturday is a bit of a blur to me. I was fumbling my words like an idiot, but I did still manage to at least show him whereabouts I wanted him to sign my book. I had a Sharpie that I’d brought with me to keep autographs consistent, but I forgot to give it to Antony. Worse still, I forgot that I’d forgotten, so after he signed, I tried to take his pen from him! I was mortified and apologised profusely, but he just laughed and called me a “cheeky f**ker”.
I’d also crocheted him a small gift, a coaster with a pouch keyring that it could be stored in. I’d made the keyring in the shape of a surfboard as I know he likes surfing, and he was so excited when he saw it. He was already happy about the coaster as he’s a big coffee drinker, but he was amazed when he realized that it folded inside the keyring. He thanked me profusely, and I was so glad that he appreciated my gift.
I had anticipated being awkward on the Saturday, so I’d bought an autograph for Sunday, too. That one went much smoother, and I was able to get my words out like a semi-functional human being this time. I apologised for how weird I’d come across on the Saturday and joked that I was usually a little bit cooler than that, and he just replied “believe me, I’m the least cool person there is”. I love how down-to-Earth and self-deprecating he is, it’s great to see that all the fame hasn’t inflated his ego.
We talked a bit about his shows, and I mentioned how I thought he’d done a great job in American Gothic. At that point he started laughing and said what a rubbish show it had been. I was trying to be tactful so I was like “I, uh, I liked the concept, although I can see why it didn’t get a second season. You were good in it though,” to which he replied “Thanks, you’re very sweet, but you can be honest… It was s**t”. He then told me a fun anecdote about how he’d been chatting with one of his co-stars from it just the other day and they’d been ripping into how bad it was. I think it’s sweet that he stays in touch with his ex-colleagues like that.
Finally, at the end of the day, I decided to try my luck and went back when he didn’t have a queue as he was finishing up. I asked his manager if I could go over and say goodbye, and since his manager knew me pretty well by this point, he agreed. I went over to Antony who recognized me from earlier in the day, and I told him how much I’d appreciated how kind he’d been with me. I said how he’d been the highlight of my weekend and had made the 7 hour travel time worth it. Antony seemed genuinely touched that I’d travelled so far to see him, and he said that it had been wonderful to meet me. I really felt a connection with him, and that kind of reciprocity isn’t something I often get with celebrities.
Getting His Photograph
Photographs are very different to autographs in that you don’t have any time to chat to the guest. The time slots are really tight, so it’s a case of go in, take your picture, go out. The whole thing usually takes about 5 seconds. I’ve done photo shoots before, so I knew what to expect, but it’s still always a bit nerve-wracking.
With Antony, I had a clear pose in mind. Since he plays a villain, I thought it would be fun to pretend we were in a fist fight. He loved the idea and moved into position, but before we took the photo, he wanted to change the angle. I trusted his judgment, but couldn’t quite work out where he wanted me to move (clearly I wouldn’t hack it as an actress).
After a few failed attempts of me trying to copy what he was telling me, wasting valuable seconds, Antony took matters into his own hands, literally. He just laughed, reached out and grabbed my arms, and moved me where he wanted me to be. It was hilarious, I felt like I was a puppet! He was so right, too, and the picture turned out perfect. Not only was the pose brilliant, but the funny interaction meant we both had genuine smiles on our faces from having been laughing.
- Autograph price – 65
- Selfie price – 65
- Auto/ Selfie Combo price – £110
- Photograph price – 65
Chace is a really chill guy to meet who just emanates coolness. He has an easy smile and is clearly really happy to be there. I was surprised to see that he’s actually quite reserved compared to some actors. He’s not shy, but he’s also not as extroverted as I might’ve expected. He’s friendly with fans, but although he’s willing to chat, I did feel a little rushed. That could be more to do with the queue behind me, though, rather than anything Chace did himself.
Who is Chace Crawford
Chace plays The Deep on The Boys, who is simultaneously one of the funniest characters and one of the worst. Even though A-Train is the villain who starts everything off, The Deep is probably the one who the audience hates the most at the start. Right in the very first episode, he sexually assaults Starlight, and that sets the scene for the kind of depravity you learn to expect from him.
One thing that Chace gets just right when portraying The Deep is how he manages to make such an awful character feel like comic relief. The Deep talks a big game, but when it comes down to it, he’s a right idiot. He’s also a total suck-up who’ll say anything to get approval from Homelander and the general public. He has some really funny lines, but Chace’s delivery is what makes them stand out.
Prior to his role in The Boys, Chace was most known for playing Nate Archibald in Gossip Girl. Nate, like most of the characters, was a spoiled rich kid, but unlike the others, he didn’t lord it over poorer people. He went through tough times and was probably the most relatable of the Upper East Side elite. Chace’s acting was wonderful, and the character development across the seasons was excellently performed.
Getting His Autograph
Chace was the first The Boys actor announced for the convention, so I did my homework. I knew I wanted to meet him since I have my book that I want to get signed by as many of the cast as possible. However, it felt weird to pay so much to meet an actor who plays one of my least favorite characters. So I decided to watch Gossip Girl in preparation for meeting him.
I’m very glad I did that, as not only did I enjoy the show, but I also really connected with Chace’s character, Nate. It also meant that I had more to talk about when getting my autograph. I told Chace how Nate was one of the only characters I liked the whole way through the show (Gossip Girl is full of awful people), and we laughed about how different Nate and The Deep are.
Although I was nervous to meet him, Chace was great at putting me at ease, as he has a comforting presence that’s hard to explain. When he was first announced, I hadn’t been too excited about Chace, but now that I’ve met him, I’m so glad I had the opportunity. He’s a fantastic guy and it was really cool to meet someone who I knew from 2 shows that I like.
Also, some hot gossip for you all – I overheard his conversation with the person before me, and he confirmed that The Boys season 4 is completely finished. I know people were speculating about whether they still needed to do ADR after the SAG-AFTRA strike, but it looks like that’s all done. However, season 5 is likely a long time away, as Chace admitted they don’t even have a script yet, so filming isn’t in the pipeline.
He said how he loves the show and wishes he could do it forever, but that he doesn’t think it’s likely to go past season 5. Honestly, as much as I adore The Boys, I’m glad to hear that, and I’m not surprised either. 5 seasons feels like a perfect amount of time to wrap up the story, and I hate when shows get stretched out.
Getting His Photograph
I tend to get stressed with the fast pace of photographs, but I got in at just the right time with Chace. As I entered, he took a quick break to drink some water, which gave me time to breathe and mentally prepare myself. When he came back, he said hi, and he reached out his arm (his standard pose was just hugging the guests) but I asked if we could do a pose.
I asked for a ‘cheesy superhero pose, hands on hips’ and he loved the idea, jumping straight into character and turning dramatically to be side-on to the camera. I did my best pose too, but unfortunately there was a slight miscommunication. Chace had gone for a brooding, mysterious expression, whereas I’d gone for a wide “I’m here to save the day!” grin. Totally my fault for not clarifying, and I think Chace’s expression works really well, but the mismatch in expressions looks a little jarring.
Still, overall it’s a great photo, and I’m glad I took it. I’ll just have to be more careful to specify facial expressions in the future! I’m not sure whether Chace recognized me from the day before, but I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t, as he met so many fans.
- Autograph price – £55
- Selfie price – £45
- Auto/ Selfie Combo price – £90
- Photograph price – £55
Laz is very different to MM when you meet him in person. Whereas MM is very calm and collected, Laz is more funny and extroverted. Much like Chace, he’s got a cool vibe, and I’d bet money that he was the popular kid in school. Laz is friendly, but I found him to be less chatty than the others.
Who is Laz Alonso
Laz plays MM (aka Mother’s Milk) on The Boys, and is very much the heart and soul of the team. While Butcher is undeniably the leader, MM is the one who keeps them all in check. As Butcher readily admits, the whole team would fall apart without MM. He’s got a smart head on his shoulders, and is as emotionally strong as he is physically strong.
MM goes through a lot during his life, and his whole journey centers around the injustice perpetrated against his family by Soldier Boy. Laz does a great job of capturing the emotional anguish that MM experiences, especially in season 3. I love how his OCD starts off subtle, but becomes more and more overt as the series goes on, culminating in him pretty much breaking down when he loses control.
Laz didn’t have any particularly well-known roles prior to The Boys, however, he did play Tsu’tey in the 2009 movie Avatar. In case you’ve forgotten who’s who (which you probably have), Tsu’tey was the leader of the Omitakaya clan, and he was the one who had the rivalry with Jake Sully. I never would’ve guessed that was MM!
Getting His Autograph
I deliberately got Laz’s autograph first, because although I like him, he’s the one I was least excited about as I only knew him from one franchise. I know what I’m like around celebrities, so I wanted to get all my awkwardness out of my system so I could play it cool with the others (a plan that didn’t work in the slightest).
However, Laz actually ended up being half an hour late for signings, due to an issue with the airport. The airline had lost his luggage in transit, and so he was having to hassle around trying to sort it out, resulting in him being late. Normally, this would’ve stressed me out, but it worked out very well in my case. Laz was directly next to Antony Starr, so being at the front of Laz’s queue meant I got to watch several fan interactions with Antony, which calmed my nerves a lot as I had a good idea of what to expect.
By the time Laz arrived, I was actually feeling pretty relaxed, and so I went over to him and was able to converse like a semi-functional human being. Laz greeted me with a smile, and I told him how I was a fan of the character and showed him where I wanted him to sign in my book. It was a quick interaction but a good one, and I was pleased with how smoothly it went. Laz offered to do a quote (he suggested ‘Got Milk?’) but I refused as I wanted the autographs to be consistent with just the signature and character name.
- Autograph price – £45
- Selfie price – £45
- Auto/ Selfie Combo price – £80
- Photograph price – £45
Shawn is a lovely and chatty guy who is clearly very passionate about his projects. Of all of them, he was the most eager to talk about his characters, and it’s clear he has a real appreciation for the roles he gets to play. He comes across as very genuine, and is friendly and patient.
Who is Shawn Ashmore
Shawn plays Lamplighter in The Boys, a character who is mentioned in season 1 but doesn’t show up until season 2. He used to be a member of The Seven, but was replaced by Starlight after he retired. We naturally assume he’s evil like most of the rest of the supes, especially as the only thing we know about him is that he killed Mallory’s grandchildren, but he’s a lot more nuanced than expected.
When we meet him, he’s working for Stormfront at the Sage Grove Center. His job is to ‘torch the evidence’, aka, kill all the subjects once the experiments are over. He’s clearly very conflicted about this and we see pain and guilt on his face as he kills Tim (a 17 year old patient). He gets into an altercation with Frenchie, and he admits that killing the grandchildren had been an accident, and he hadn’t realised they were there. His story ends with him committing suicide in Vought Tower.
Shawn is also known for playing Ice Man in the X-Men movies. However, I personally know him best for playing Wesley Evers in The Rookie. Wes is a main character throughout the series, and his relationship with Angela Lopez is one of the best parts of the show.
Getting His Autograph
Although I wanted him to sign my The Boys book, I spent most of the interaction talking about The Rookie. Shawn seemed really happy to talk about it, and I complimented him on the amazing chemistry his character had with Angela. He credited Angela’s actress for being so amazing, and said it all felt really natural when shooting their scenes.
He made a lot of eye contact, and didn’t try to rush me when he’d finished signing the book, carrying on our conversation with not hint of wanting to be finished. Admittedly his queue was shorter than the others, but it was still really kind of him to make me feel so welcome.
At first, I was a bit confused as to why he wasn’t in the panel for The Boys, but it made sense during his own panel. I’d never really considered it since I just think of the show as being one big thing, but Shawn hadn’t ever actually met Chace or Antony since Lamplighter only had scenes with a few of The Boys. Even with Laz, they’d only had a few scenes together, so wouldn’t have had too many anecdotes.
His talk was great though, and there was a really funny part where an audience member asked a question but had mistaken him for his twin brother. He was really lovely about it and said it happens all the time, and he joked about how if it happens in public, he just rolls with it and pretends to be his twin.
The Boys Panel
Easily the highlight of the entire show was the panel for The Boys which had Antony, Chace, and Laz all on stage together. I got very lucky and managed to score a seat right in the middle of the front row, so I had an excellent view. The entire thing was hilarious, with Antony especially stealing the show. He was an absolute joker and couldn’t help but make ridiculous quips the whole time. I heard someone behind me say that “Antony doesn’t have a filter” and that’s just spot on, he was just saying everything that came into his head.
Laz was really funny and outgoing too, and he seems like a cool guy. Chace was a bit more reserved and didn’t speak as much as the other two, but when he did, it was gold. He’s got a naturally smooth sense of humor, and all of his jokes landed beautifully. The 3 of them have excellent chemistry and you could tell they’re good friends. Here are some highlights from the talk:
- Their go-to karaoke songs – Antony’s is Sweet Caroline, Laz’s is anything by LL Cool J, and Chace’s is I Wanna Dance With Somebody. That led to a hilarious interaction where Antony was teasing Chace, and the audience tried (unsuccessfully) to goad Chace into singing.
- The Homelander memes – Laz said how much he loves all the Homelander memes, and that he sends them to Antony to annoy him. Antony joked about how he wants the meme creators to pay him since “my face is everywhere but I’m not getting any f**king money from it”.
- MM is gonna get covered in fluids – Laz said how he couldn’t give any spoilers for season 4, but that MM’s going to get covered in all kinds of fluids and be in his most uncomfortable situation yet. Hard to imagine how it can be any worse than his experience at Herogasm!
- It’s hard filming on wires – Antony talked about how tricky it is to film scenes where Homelander is flying, and in particular talked about the raunchy scene with Stormfront. He decided to demonstrate by standing up and thrusting the air while flailing his arms around, which had the audience in stitches.
- Which Spice Girl would The Deep be? – Someone asked Chace which Spice Girl The Deep would be, and without missing a beat, he answered “Slippery Spice” which everybody laughed at.
(I ask the question at 9:37 in the video).
Was It Worth It?
Overall I had an amazing time, and I’m so glad that I decided to go. I’d been hesitant since it was a long way to go and a lot of money what with travel and accommodation on top of tickets. However, I felt it was worth every penny for the incredible memories that I made. I truly treasure my photos and autographs, and thinking about my interactions makes me so happy. It feels awesome to watch The Boys and think “I’ve met them”.
Conventions in this day and age are expensive, there’s no denying it. The price people have to pay to meet actors is astronomical, and I understand why some people think it’s crazy. However, if you like collecting autographs or meeting your favorite actors, then you won’t regret meeting the cast of The Boys.