Let’s just get it out there right off the bat: Chace Crawford is in on the joke when it comes to that wild The Boys-themed calendar featuring only his aquatic superhero The Deep. And yes, he’s most definitely laughing with you about that eyebrow-raising bulge.
When Amazon Prime Video sent out a promotional calendar to some lucky members of the press to promote the series premiere of The Boys, the internet immediately zeroed in (and zoomed in) on one photo in particular. You know exactly which one we’re talking about — the one in which Crawford’s, ahem, groin area seemed to be… particularly noticeable through his tight superhero bodysuit.
So far, both Amazon and Crawford have kept their lips sealed about how that photoshoot, especially with that one pic, came to be. Until now.
EW went straight to Crawford to get the lowdown on that now-infamous photo. And in between laughs and groans, he finally addressed the elephant in the room: that bulge. “There is a story behind that but I’m sworn to secrecy by Eric Kripke,” Crawford says with laugh, referring to the showrunner and co-creator. “I’m sworn to secrecy. I wish I could give you a good answer but we’ll never know. It will forever remain a mystery. We will never know!” He groans again before adding with another laugh, “Oh my god!”
Crawford knows exactly why the internet latched on to that particular photo, and yeah, he gets it. “I thought it was so funny, but I don’t think anyone got a bigger kick out of it than Eric Kripke,” the Gossip Girl alum says. “He thought it was the funniest thing in the world. Oh god. It was probably a little bit overcovered but I was like, ‘Whatever The Deep can do for you guys to get some press, you know I’m ready to support the show!’ That was one I had to explain to a few people. I got a lot of weird DMs in my inbox.” He laughs and adds, “A lot of love, a lot of love!”
As for that calendar, Crawford says he wasn’t even sent a copy (hey, Amazon, get on that!) and admits he didn’t realize what he was getting himself into at first while posing for it.
“I remember late in the season last year, we were doing a big Amazon promotional shoot,” Crawford says. “We were all there on set doing group shots. They pulled me over to a green screen and told me, ‘We’re doing calendars.’ I’m thinking, okay, everyone’s got a calendar. That’s great! But no. It was just me!”
Crawford still remembers the moment he realized the calendar only featured his fictional vain superhero The Deep. “They showed me one of the months and I’m like, ‘Cool.’ But then I’m flipping through and I’m like, ‘Wait… I’m in every one of these. It’s just me. Well… s—t,'” Crawford says. “I died laughing. It’s obviously in character and it’s amazingly cheesy and really funny. We really went for it.”
Even without knowing the calendar was just going to be photos of him, Crawford still had a great time hamming it up for the camera. “They had this prop jar and I was just grabbing props and doing silly stuff, like holding a rose and turning over my shoulder,” he says with a laugh. “I knew it was going to be ridiculous but I got the calendar fake-out. I really thought it was the whole crew, the whole team! Thanks, guys! And when I was at Comic-Con they just had like 40 of them. I was like, ‘Okay, no one’s ever going to really see these.'”
He laughs again before adding, “Little did I know… yeah. Yup.”
And just like with the calendar, Crawford didn’t realize when he first signed on to The Boys just how big the Amazon series was going to get. “Talk about a project that I didn’t know what the reaction was going to be like!” he says with a laugh. Currently filming season 2 in Toronto, the actor isn’t even sure he understands now how popular the show has gotten. When he saw the “Banksy-inspired” marketing campaign for season 1 and appeared at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, he started to get an idea. But it was only recently when he was in New York eating at his favorite Chinese spot that it really began to dawn on him how much this new show was going to affect his career.
“This guy comes up to me, my age, maybe older. ‘Hey man, are you Chace?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ ‘My girlfriend over there – ‘ and I’m thinking here we go, ‘Yeah, yeah, Gossip Girl,’” Crawford says with a little sigh. “And he’s like, ‘No, we just binge-watched The Boys, man. We love it! She loves it!’ It was the first time, and it was actually really refreshing.”
Crawford laughs about how, for the first time in his career, he’s getting approached by more men than women. “It’s funny to get some of the reactions from the guys, like these big, big dudes at the gym come up to me like, ‘Yo man, can I get a picture?’” he says with another laugh. “When that started happening I had a big smile on my face. I was surprised. It’s got such a different demographic. There’s more guys coming up to me now but they always say they binged it with their wives or girlfriends.”
On a show as gory, brutal, and shocking as The Boys, Crawford’s scenes as The Deep stand out as some of the most scandalous, hilarious, and downright gut-wrenching as he goes from an unapologetic sexual assaulter to a victim of sexual assault himself. Plus his extremely close and, well, questionable connection to the aquatic life he converses with constantly pushes the boundaries of what you’d expect to see on a superhero TV series. Let’s just say Aquaman would be deeply offended by The Deep’s relationships with dolphins and lobsters.
“It’s obviously a dark, complicated character but to get to do some comedy as well and have fun with the character and make fun of the superhero tropes is something that’s completely different for me,” Crawford says. “They kept throwing me curve balls every time I got a new script! I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that on TV before!’ I mean, I’m doing scenes with inanimate objects, a dolphin, a lobster! I went crazy with it and those crazy moments made it.”
And there’s one moment from season 1 in particular that sticks out in his mind: when The Deep gets sexually assaulted. “It actually made me more sick shooting it than watching it back,” Crawford says. “There were gills involved. That was a surreal day. I mean, I had prosthetics done and they built a mold of my chest and stomach with the gills with my chest hair in there, my skin tone matched. For some reason, they put the fake torso on top of my torso and then the camera is tight and the director’s right there and they had pumps to make it look like it was breathing and I’m just sitting there like, ‘Oh my god, I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into. This is the most odd, bizarre day of filming I’ve ever had.'”
But he took it all in with a good attitude. “We were all laughing,” he adds of filming that intense scene. “Every single person in that room was ready to call it, ‘Okay, that’s enough of that. We got it, let’s get the hell out of here.’ It was pretty funny.”
And while Crawford can’t reveal much about season 2, he does tease that’s it’s going to be “interesting.”
“What I can say is, I remember walking on to one of the sets on the first episode and it feels like there’s maybe a lot more money behind this,” he says, laughing. “There’s a lot more detail and the props guys went all out. It’s amazing. The scope of it just feels bigger. It’s been quite a ride. We’ve got some new characters and the writing is just incredible.”
Here’s hoping there will be more photoshoots of The Deep coming with the new season of The Boys too.