NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Giancarlo Esposito said he joined the cast of The Boys because the darkly comic, action-packed epic is an "illuminating" show that reflects some of what he sees in real-life society.
Season 2 of the adaptation of Garth Ennis' and Darick Robertson's graphic novel will be streaming on Amazon Prime starting Friday.
In The Boys, Esposito plays Stan Edgar, the CEO of Vought International, a corporation that markets and monetizes crime fighters known as The Seven, whose extraordinary powers are courtesy of a performance-enhancement drug called Compound V.
Karl Urban plays Billy Butcher, leader of the titular vigilante group determined to bring down "supes" they feel are careless and corrupt.
"Season 2 is going to blow your mind," Esposito promised in a recent Zoom interview with UPI. "Intention, morality, politics, money, science -- it's all there in a wonderful way on this show, and I really respect Eric for creating it."
Esposito became aware of Kripke nearly a decade ago, thanks to his four daughters' obsession with another of his projects, the long-running, fantasy series, Supernatural.
The actor then went on to collaborate with the filmmaker for two seasons of the post-apocalyptic drama, Revolution.
"I met him on Revolution and fell in love with him. His ideas, his energy, his clarity were really, to me, pushing the envelope, always," Esposito recalled.
Several years after Revolution ended, he ran into Kripke just as he was about to start filming Season 1 of The Boys.
"He said, 'Would you...?' First thing out of his mouth, 'Would you?' and I said: 'Of course, I would. Of course, I would. Because I love you and the concept sounds great,'" Esposito said.
About a month later, the show's producers called Esposito's representatives to formally offer him the job, but they admitted they couldn't pay The Mandalorian, Breaking Bad and Once Upon a Time star what he was used to earning.
Esposito still wanted to do it.
While he was only slated to appear as a guest star, his role was expanded for Season 2 after Elisabeth Shue's Vought veep character Madelyn died.
"I was onboard immediately because I felt the essence of the show was something different. It was about superhumanity being human," Esposito said.
"Superheroes did things that humans did -- abused each other, hurt each other, had to apologize, stole from each other, tried to kill each other."
The show also explores how someone's words, deeds and motives can be twisted for nefarious purposes in today's corporate-sponsored, media-saturated society.
At Vought, superheroes are the bedrock of the corporation and "company man" Edgar views them with a mixture of contempt and appreciation.
Knowing he has to assuage his employees' anxieties and egos because, at the end of the day, they are powerful and have what he needs, Edgar still manages to stand strong and remind them who is boss.
"Stan is completely cool. No fear, no worry," Esposito said. "Stan doesn't have time to play games."
Kripke was clear with the cast and crew that Season 2 of the show was not intended to top Season 1 just for the sake of being bolder and louder, Urban told reporters in a separate Zoom chat.
"What we want to do is delve deeper. We want to find out more about these characters. We want to make it a more rich character development experience," Urban quoted Kripke as saying.
"Not only has he done that, but he did definitely go bigger as well. Season 2 of The Boys is like Season 1 on V-Compound."
At the end of Season 1, Butcher discovers his presumed-dead wife Becca (Shantel VanSanten) actually is alive after she was raped by the squeaky clean-appearing hero Homelander (Antony Starr.)
"Butcher's main goal and agenda through Season 2 is to find her and reunite with her and rescue her," Urban said.
That raises issues for Butcher, primarily how far is he willing to go to achieve that goal.
"He will have to find out who is the main puppeteer of The Seven and how do you take them down," Urban said.
Many of the stunts in The Boys are filmed "old school" style, instead of using digital special effects, the Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings alum said.
"In Episode 3, we are speeding along a lake and jumping waves. That's actually us in the boat driving, and we had a helicopter hovering 100 feet in the air filming us," Urban said.
"All around, the bar is raised on Season 2 and I can't wait for folks to see it. It's a lot of fun."