CULTURE DIET

Chace Crawford Isn't Ready to Give Up On The Deep

The Boys star on embracing the aquatic himbo, the show’s upcoming final season, and missing the Gossip Girl cast.


Courtesy of David Amaya/Prime Video

Chace Crawford just might be the secret sauce. You know, the special ingredient that makes any recipe work—and in this case, the recipe is a long-running ensemble TV series. First, for six seasons, Crawford starred as Upper East Side golden boy Nate Archibald in the CW’s still-highly popular Gossip Girl. Many actors are lucky to get one such career-making gig in a lifetime, but Crawford’s current run as the aquatic antagonist The Deep in Amazon Prime’s bloody, satirical hit The Boys got very close to reaching Gossip Girl’s long life—one season short, to be exact. “I might be the only one who would do this show for another 10 years,” he tells W over Zoom ahead of The Boys’s fourth season premiere on Thursday. At this point, Crawford is used to donning a sleeveless wetsuit on the waterless set, reading lines alongside an anthropomorphized octopus, making an inappropriate comment to a woman (The Deep, not Crawford), and then heading home for the day. Not a bad existence.

And even though The Boys will soon come to an end (creator Eric Kripke recently announced that the show’s forthcoming fifth season will be its last), the spin-offs will live on. The show has already spawned an animated series, a handful of miniseries, and the young adult-led Gen V, in which Crawford’s The Deep made a guest appearance in the first season. At some point, while parodying the world of Marvel, DC, and Disney, The Boys birthed a cinematic universe all on its own. Of course, those former entities are void of superhuman orgies and breast milk fetishes, but The Boys will be The Boys, right? “When I first read the script for the show, the humor was really dark and right up my alley, but I didn’t know if it would work tonally,” Crawford says. “We thought it had a chance to find an audience, but for it to have this global popularity was a very pleasant surprise.” Below, Crawford gets deep on The Deep, discusses his unwavering love for sushi, and reminisces on the good ol’ days of Gossip Girl.

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

It was just announced that The Boys will end after its fifth season. How are you feeling about that?

I feel like I could do five more seasons, I love the character so much, but Kripke knows best and there had been whispers about ending after five. It’s tough to know when to stick the landing in TV and you don’t want to overcook the storylines. It definitely will be sad. It’s been one of the greatest rides of my life, but I’m looking forward to going out with a bang.

Can you believe you’ve been doing this for almost seven years?

I can't actually. It definitely flew by. It's a blessing to be a part of something that has this good of a run.

In your opinion, how has The Deep changed over the last four seasons? Or has he not changed and is that what makes him The Deep?

I think he tries to change, but he ends up back in the same place. He only feels bad when he's been caught for something. That's when he starts to feel a tiny tinge of humility. But he's just so not self-aware, which is the funniest part about it for me. We all know people like that. He's just the privileged asshole, and it's fun to play that.

Do you judge his choices, or do you have to view him through kinder eyes since you’re the one playing him?

I can't judge him. He’s insecure. Like the X-Men, he feels like a freak. That’s his sense of spite—he feels like his powers are stupid. I envision him having a rough family life, and the only people he could really hang out with were the fish in the sea and the lobster down by the local pier, which is pathetic and sad.

Crawford and Antony Starr.

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Before taking on this role, were you an aquatic guy at all?

No, not at all, and I had no idea what to expect. I was like, “Cool, I got this wetsuit, I'm going to be in the water doing stunt work. It's going to be great.” And there has been none of that. It’s just me in a therapist's office, which is actually even funnier. For the most part, The Deep just bounces around and does absolutely nothing. But I finally did get some cool stuff to do in season four.

So I guess this role hasn’t turned you into a seaman?

I don't really need to know anything about the ocean. I actually did watch My Octopus Teacher back when it came out, and then going into season three, Kripke was like, “Have you seen My Octopus Teacher? Because I have a really funny idea.” I was like, “Oh God, what are you going to do?” I was nervous about that, but they went there, and it was really funny.

What about seafood? Have you been completely put off octopus?

Oh, I'll crush some sushi, but, honestly, octopus grosses me out now. I'm not too big on it. I had to eat fake octopus over and over for that one scene last season. But some Sugarfish? I’m always down.

Crawford on the set of The Boys season three.

@chasecrawford

Do you think The Deep will ever escape the grip of Vaught and Homelander?

I don't know if he wants to escape. I think he is a soldier through and through, and that's his identity. That's all he knows. He needs that validation from Homelander, and he needs to be told what to do. I think he's just a sycophant who feels good following those orders and needs a leader, a cult leader almost, in Homelander. That's his pathetic nature.

Would you ever be interested in delving into his backstory to understand why he is the way he is?

Let's pitch a spinoff. But if you did that, you would probably need a redemption arc for The Deep, and I don’t know if that would really work. Can you really redeem him?

What about the suit? It doesn’t look very comfortable. Do you ever get sick of it?

It's not comfortable after a while. In fact, I just had to put it on for something recently, and the costumer was like, “By the way, we don't even make this material anymore because it's so ridiculous.” It's a wetsuit, but I’m not in the water. At least it's sleeveless, I guess. It's actually not a problem, though, because they keep the studios really cold, and I'm warm by nature, so it's fine inside. The second we get outside in any sun, though, I'm drenched.

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

OK, time for some Culture Diet questions. Are you a fan of DC or Marvel?

I was when I was a kid. I used to collect these 12-inch dolls: I got Superman when I was really little, then Batman, and then Spider-Man. I read some comics and watched the movies when they first came out with Iron Man and the original Toby McGuire Spider-Man, but I got burnt out a little bit, to be honest. I'm not really a big superhero watcher anymore.

What was the last movie you watched?

I just re-subscribed to the Criterion Channel so I watched Martin Scorsese's After Hours. Then I also recently rewatched Dumb and Dumber. So, two very different movies. I was cracking up, remembering how old I was when I first saw Dumb and Dumber. Stuff like that informs The Deep in a way—Zoolander, Anchorman—that's the kind of stuff I grew up on, so I still love all those types of comedies.

We, of course, have to discuss Gossip Girl at least briefly. Do you ever miss playing Nate?

Not really. I'll say I miss the people, and I miss being on set. I do miss being in scenes with Ed [Westwick] because we would crack each other up, and I loved literally everyone on that show: Penn [Badgley], Leighton [Meester], Blake [Lively], Taylor [Momson], Connor [Paolo], the actors that played my parents. We were all super close. That was like our college experience in a way. I was in college for a year and a half, and then I got into acting, and boom, went to New York City, which was pretty crazy. It was a wild time in our life.

Do you still see the cast at all? I think I saw you were with Ed recently.

I did see Ed recently. I saw him in Europe and we reconnected a little bit. He's living like an hour north of London. He's very rural up there with his family, and he's doing really well. So it was really good to see Eddie West. We used to be roommates back in the day when we were like 19 and 20 years old.

Westwick and Crawford on Instagram.

@chasecrawford

Why do you think that show was so popular and has had such incredible lasting power?

I don’t know, to be honest. It keeps getting these bumps because of the streaming. There’s basically a whole new generation of fans now, and we are so grateful for that. I think there’s something so consumable about it with no commercials on Netflix. It's a guilty pleasure thing, and people can just breeze through it.

[Creators] Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage really know how to do that genre. Now, you have Euphoria, which I love, but it’s pretty intense. I guess if you want something a little more PG, you can watch Gossip Girl. Which is funny—we used to be the racy show, but not anymore.