Jack Quaid, 28, stars in Amazon’s superhero series, The Boys, in which he plays lead vigilante, Hughie Campbell. The Boys is based on the comic book series of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and also stars New Zealand actors Karl Urban and Antony Starr.
Prior to this career-defining role, Quaid made his acting debut as Marvel in The Hunger Games (2012) and reprised the role in a flashback scene in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). He also appeared in the main cast in the HBO TV series, Vinyl (2016), and in 2017 he appeared in Logan Lucky, as well as Tragedy Girls.
Quaid was born into Hollywood royalty as the offspring of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. Refreshingly, he is devoid of any affectations, unlike many of his peers, and like his parents, he comes across as charming and down-to-earth.
So, let’s start with The Boys. Are you a big superhero fan?
I’ve been a huge superhero fan forever and even though my character in the show doesn’t have superpowers, I was like, “I need to be a part of this project – I love this character and I love this world!” So, I auditioned and when I finally got the part, I was smiling for two months straight. I loved the fact I could be part of not only a superhero project but a superhero project that was unique and very subversive but still sincere and yet satirical. I still feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this project.
In what ways are you similar to Hughie, and what sets you apart from him?
Oh, man, Hughie reminds me a lot of myself when I was in middle school or high school. When I take on a new part, I usually create a Spotify playlist for that character, and for Hughie, it was filled with stuff I used to listen to back then. But Hughie is way better at tech stuff than I am because it took me way longer to figure out Zoom than most people (laughs).
Why do you think we love superheroes so much? And also, in The Boys, the superheroes are flawed. Can you talk about their appeal as well?
I think we love superheroes because they show us what we could be. A character like Superman is created to give people hope and to give people some sort of motivation to be a better person. I think that the reason our show has struck a chord with people is because we realize that people aren’t all altruistic, they’re not all good, and they’re not all bad either. So, I think our show takes almost a more realistic approach to what the world would be like if superheroes were a part of it.
You are the offspring of two very famous parents. Did it ever put you off going into the business after you’d witnessed firsthand what they’d gone through?
Here’s the thing. There’s a difference between being an actor and being a famous person. You can be both, but fame is hard sometimes to maintain because there’s a lot of perks that come with it, but also there’s a mountain of responsibility and added pressure, even if the pressure is not really there, but sometimes you believe it is. So, I think I learned a lot from my Mom and Dad about the trappings of fame. They basically taught me – if you’re going to do this, don’t do this to be a famous person, do this because you love it. And I love it.
Your Mom had one of the most famous feigned orgasm scenes in cinematic history. What was it like for you the first time you watched When Harry Met Sally?
Yeah, my life is weird, man (laughs). I actively avoided watching that scene for so long, and it’s not like my Mom was, like, “Take a look at this!” (laughs). She wasn’t forcing me to watch any of her movies necessarily, but I did a rom-com called Plus One a few years ago, and I figured When Harry Met Sally is the pinnacle of romantic comedies, so I would’ve watched it whether my Mom was in it or not, just to prepare for that movie. I wanted to understand the rhythms, the banter, which I think my Mom and Billy Crystal just nailed. So, for the first time, I watched that scene, and it’s hilarious – I realized immediately why it’s so iconic. When I finally finished watching it, I was crying because I was so proud of her. Actually, I was overwhelmed with pride at just how absolutely incredible she is in that movie.
You seem remarkably sane, especially considering you grew up with two quintessential Hollywood parents. To what do you attribute that?
Yeah, you’re not the first person to say that to me (laughs). I get it, though. There’s an assumption that comes with being the son of famous people, to be honest. When I first started to audition, I think the casting director must’ve known who I was before I got in there, and she said, “Oh wow. This was actually really good. I thought you were going to come in here and expect it all to be handed to you and be a real jerk!” I understand it. There are not great examples of people in my position throughout history.
Well, it’s a sign you’ve been brought up well.
Thanks. I don’t know who I attribute my sanity to. A good upbringing, probably, and as I said, my Mom and Dad instilled in me this sense of, like, “Fame isn’t everything.” So, yeah, I think I’ll attribute it to my parents. They’ve raised me right, considering the insane world they inhabit.