Joining this summer’s anticipated list of big-budgeted on-screen action is Amazon’s comic-book based series, The Boys; a fun black-comedy about “super-heroes” with a surprisingly grounded reality, where superheroes have taken a turn for the worse..and the showy. It’s also a reality that challenges gender roles in heroism and upholds individuals with integrity and a will, to be honest.
Erin Moriarty stars as Annie January, a member of the superhero team, The Seven. We sat down with the 25-year-old New Yorker about growing up in the city, the qualities of a good book, and what it’s likes being an actress in 2019.
You’re a born & raised New Yorker. In your opinion, what makes one a New Yorker? What’re the tell-tale signs?
I think that because New York City has such an eclectic population, New Yorkers tend to be some of the most inherently accepting people I know in the country. It may not be what initially comes to mind when imagining the quintessential New Yorker for most people, but I’d consider that a tell-tale sign. Growing up, I would take the subway to and from school, and the subway train would be full of all ages, ethnicities, and personalities. It’s an amazing thing to be exposed to growing up because it’s so perspective-expanding and conditions you to be innately accepting of all individuals. Another trademark characteristic: independence. Not having to rely on your parents to transport you everywhere in a car had a huge impact on myself and everyone I know that grew up in New York City.
Your new Amazon series, The Boys takes place in a world of Superheroes. However, its undertones feel like they are taken from issues plaguing society today. Abuse of power, etc.. was this something that was present in your mind during production? Did it affect your character’s choices and the way you played Annie January?
TOTALLY. It was impossible for the zeitgeist-y nature of the show to not be present in my mind and my portrayal as Annie January throughout the filming process. The underlying commentaries that deal with these topical issues made the project hugely attractive to me in the first place. There’s immense levity found in the humor of the show, but there’s a depth beneath that that serves a greater purpose than just story-telling. The undertones hold a mirror up to our society that provides a bleak reflection. We need that right now, though. When talking about these undertones, I keep coming back to the same saying: sunlight is a great disinfectant. With Annie, it just served as a great motivator to dive deep and work my ass off to do that character justice. She may have superpowers and spend 70% of her time in a super-suit, but all of the issues she’s dealing with throughout season one are issues far too common in the real world amongst young women her age.
On the topic of women in the industry, and the recent movements in Hollywood—has this affected the roles you take on? Or the way you navigate the industry?
In order to ensure that this movement continues to catalyze a lasting and definitive impact on the role that women play in the industry, I have an obligation to be mindful about the roles that I accept. This means essentially pursuing roles that don’t adhere to the formulaic and stereotypical box that we tend to put female characters in, often that of the ingenue. We definitely have a long way to go, but it’s such an exciting time in the industry, and I feel lucky to be an actress as this movement kicks off.
The world right now has a sometimes overwhelming amount of TV. Some shows though, pass the test of time like Gossip Girl. Talk to me about working with Chase Crawford in The Boys. Were you a fan of the series growing up in New York City?
Gossip Girl was a juicy, dramatized, and sexy version of the world I grew up in, so it was impossible to be immune to the craze surrounding it. In short, yes. Chace is honestly one of the most humble and kind dudes I’ve ever worked with, so you totally forget that he was a part of this massive phenomenon once you get to know him. It’s been so fun to watch him in a role that’s antithetical to what he’s previously played and who he is in real life. It’s been a pleasure.
Were you into superheroes growing up? Certainly, you had to have been a superhero for Halloween one year, no?
I was definitely into superheroes growing up, often the less conventional ones (“Hellboy,” the first “Iron Man,” etc.). Funnily enough, I’ve only ever been a super-villain for Halloween. I was the Green Goblin from Spiderman two years in a row when I was quite young. I went through a massive tomboy phase when I was younger, so I wouldn’t have dressed as a female superhero. I was also obsessed with horror films, so I think that combination led to the super-villain choice. Perhaps it was a subconscious homage to Willem Dafoe, and a foreshadow to my later obsession with him as an actor. He played The Green Goblin in the Spiderman film I repeatedly watched.
I read that you have a reading corner in your home in Los Angeles. What’s the best book you’ve read lately— and why?
There, There by Tommy Orange. Hands down. I finished it about a year ago and am constantly reading, so it’s a testament to how much it got under my skin (in the best way). It’s composed of vignettes that are told from the perspectives of Native Americans in Oakland. I love novels that tell stories from a perspective that is deeply different from my own, and this one deals with such a specific ethnic identity that I was formerly ignorant about.
Paper books or digital?
I tried going digital for a few years because I travel so much, and it meant I could always have a book or two on hand without the extra weight. I quit, though. Going to local independent bookstores makes me feel like a kid in a candy store, and I can’t sacrifice that experience. Also, nothing beats the feel & look of a classic paper book (in my opinion).
I once visited Puerto Rico in the summer and remembered entering a mall, and everyone was exquisitely dressed. I’ve never forgotten that. What was your experience like on the island during filming of Driven?
The Driven shoot was my third time on the island, actually. The former two times were just for leisure. I love that island so much. It was a crazy experience though because Hurricane Maria happened literally right in the middle of our shoot and we had to evacuate the island. When we returned just two weeks after the hurricane, we were the first people returning to the island other than people who were there as aids. It was totally heartbreaking and surreal.
That photograph of you lying face down in a pool wearing a sequin dress beside Jason Sudeikis, taken by Iddo Goldberg is single-handedly my favorite thing on Instagram right now. You should frame that. But with that said, tell us about your craziest night out, while still holding onto your integrity. GO!
In order to keep my integrity intact, I’m not going to fill in the gaps here. I’ll say this: I had one evening in Los Angeles that started off innocently with Thai take-out followed by “one nightcap” with a girlfriend. We ended up in Vegas that night. My most fun nights out have definitely been the ones completely unplanned.