Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” has made a name for itself as a very R-rated, adult spin on the superhero genre, and nothing better encapsulated that than Episode 5 of Season 3, where Laurie Holden’s new supe Crimson Countess puts on an OnlyFans -style webcam session with none other than executive producer Seth Rogen.
In each season of “The Boys” so far, Rogen has had cameos as, essentially, himself. He’s appeared as a producer who works with the likes of Black Noir and Translucent, but now he appears as “SirCumsAlot779,” an eager webcam subscriber to Crimson Countess. In the scene, Crimson appears in full costume and talks to Rogen over Supe Porn Platinum, an obvious parody of the real-life platform OnlyFans, while charging $19.50 per minute for the session. She then pulls out comically oversized anal beads and prepares to put on a show for Rogen, but she’s tackled off her bed by Karl Urban’s Butcher before things can get too steamy. Rogen, however, still gets his money’s worth in a messy conclusion.
In addition to her webcam hobby, Crimson Countess has another surprising passion: chimpanzee activism. Holden filmed an entire music video and received professional vocal lessons for “Chimps Don’t Cry,” a surprisingly emotional and thoroughly researched ballad about how chimpanzees don’t have tear ducts and are unable to cry.
In an interview with Variety, Holden explains shooting her webcam scene with Rogen and making the “Chimps Don’t Cry” music video.
What was your first reaction to reading the webcam scene with Seth Rogen?
I thought it was super funny. A lot of that scene was improvised. This is the beauty of “The Boys,” they support you and they’re so kind and collaborative that you can creatively fly. A lot of what I did in there was just inspiration in the moment that ended up being completely whacked out.
Did you interact at all with Seth, or was that added in later?
No, I knew it was probably going to be Seth. But it was just the script supervisor saying lines off camera and me just looking into the iPhone and playing it in my imagination as if he was really there. What’s kind of fabulous about that scene was our tempo was so connected. However, it was edited and he did his performance with mine. It was seamless, as if it was really happening in real time.
Were there any parts that got cut out or that you improvised?
The writing is brilliant, and you always honor the script. I said to the director after I did what was scripted, “Can I play? Can I do a take where I just kind of play?” He was like, “Yeah sure, go!” And then they were on the floor laughing — a lot of the jumping on the bed and all of that.
To the public, Crimson Countess is this beloved singer and Voughtland employee, and privately she’s doing X-rated webcam sessions. How did you play that split in her public and private personas?
I think the X-rated persona came when that accident happened at Voughtland and she was on the run. There was no way that Vought was gonna let her come back. She had to make ends meet. She’s always been crowdfunding to try to support the chimps. She’s a survivor. She does whatever it takes, and if that means she has to livestream on OnlyFans, so be it.
So all of the proceeds from the webcam sessions went to the chimps?
I think a lot of them were.
Where was “Chimps Don’t Cry” shot?
That was shot in northern Ontario. That was my favorite day on set, hands down. First of all, they didn’t even tell me I was singing when I got the part. I only found out about a week before my final fitting. They came to me and said, “Oh, by the way, you’re going to do two musical numbers. Are you OK with that?” I haven’t sung professionally in my adult life. I’m not a singer and never thought I was. I said, “I’ll give it my best shot and if you don’t like it, you can always dub me in post.” I reached out to my network and asked about great vocal coaches. I connected with this great Broadway guy, and three times a week I started belting out tunes to be ready for the moment that I got those songs, which was a week before I flew out to Toronto to shoot and record. So when we did the “Chimps Don’t Cry” video, it was the very end of what was a gorgeous creative process of learning to sing, recording the songs and then literally being set free in northern Ontario on a really hot, humid day and being able to be as wacky as possible. That was pure joy, every moment of that. It was my favorite day ever of my creative life.
Who found all of the different chimp facts?
That was the composer. They put that song together and I’m sure they did a load of research. There’s a lot of that that’s true. Chimps don’t actually cry. It’s actually quite brilliant because in many ways, it’s a metaphor for the supes as well. You don’t know the pain they’re in, and they’re treated by the general public like they’re circus freaks? The supes are the same. We have to keep this celebrity persona on, and nobody knows what’s really going on on the inside. So I think there’s something to that with Crimson, where she sees herself in them.
This interview has been edited and condensed.