Jack Quaid on Hughie’s Family Drama in THE BOYS Season Four and His Love for Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Almost five years ago, we met Hughie Campbell (played by Jack Quaid), a tech nerd living a quiet life until tragedy turned his world upside down. Who can forget that show-defining moment in The Boys when A-Train accidentally runs through Hughie’s girlfriend and completely obliterates her body? If ever there were a moment that would radicalize a normal person, that was certainly one. Since then Hughie’s been on quite the journey, from joining the Boys and screaming at all things bloody to gaining powers of his own and killing for survival. Ahead of The Boys season four, Nerdist caught up with actor Jack Quaid to chat about Hughie’s evolution, working with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and what we can expect next. 

Nerdist: In the season 4 trailer, Hughie has a sobering moment where he says that the Boys’ solution to everything is murder and violence, and that isn’t always the answer. Can you tell us about his mindset and how that’s going to challenge his relationship with everyone? 

Jack Quaid: What I love about playing Hughie is his growth throughout every season… I love that line in the show. I won’t blow the context of how that comes out, but I love that he went from a guy who wanted revenge for his dead girlfriend in season one to a character who says some pretty sobering stuff like this. I think that’s kind of the hidden message of the show.

As violent as the show is, as extreme as it is, that violence isn’t brave. It’s kind of our secret little, if you could call it, moral in a world like The Boys. So the fact that I got to be the one iterating that notion was really special to me. But yeah, obviously [the Boys] solution to most things is murder, and having an idea like that does put you at odds with the team that seems hell-bent on that, particularly somebody like Butcher. You’re going to have to wait and see how that all plays out. It’s amazing.

Oh yeah, for sure. I know you can’t spoil things, but can you tell us how Hughie is going to continue to be challenged and grow throughout the season?

Quaid: Well, I think I could talk about this ’cause it was announced. So this season his mom comes back into the picture. His mom, as we know from other seasons, left him when he was a kid, and it’s the reason why he is the way that he is in a lot of ways. He is loyal to a fault, he’s afraid of being alone, and she comes back into his life in a very interesting way and they have to deal with that.

Rosemarie DeWitt plays Daphne Campbell, and getting to work with her was a dream ’cause she’s a legend. And getting to work with Simon Pegg [who plays Hughie’s father] again was also a dream ’cause he’s a hero and continues to be a hero. I’m very excited for audiences to see the Campbell family chaos that ensues. And as an actor, it’s so rewarding to have a character like that come back into Hughie’s life ’cause you get to deal with characters’ core trauma. I really thank [showrunner Eric Kripke] and the writers for coming up with some really good stuff for not just Hughie, but for everybody. I was very happy with my material this year. It was great.

We are definitely looking forward to get into Hughie’s psyche a little more and know more about his foundation. You mentioned working with legends, and you’ve got Jeffrey Dean Morgan, yet another legend, joining the cast this season, which is super exciting. What was your experience like working with him on set?

Quaid: Oh, man. I mean, you said it, he’s a legend. I was really lucky because he joined The Boys and then months later, after we were done wrapping, I shot a little indie movie with him. Obviously it has nothing to do with The Boys, but it’s the two of us working every day together. I already knew it from working with him on The Boys, but he’s the best. He’s one of my favorite people I’ve ever worked with in my life. He is such a professional, he’s so unbelievably nice and generous, and I want to continue [working with him] forever if I could. Jeff is the best. I’m really excited for audiences to see him in The Boys because obviously this is something that’s been brewing for a while…  It’s phenomenal what he does in the show.

Love that! You’ve also got a couple of the Gen V cast members in the fold this season. How much of an impact will The Boys season 4 have on what we can expect next for Gen V?

Quaid: I remember being 26 when I started doing The Boys. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would have our own universe spanning two shows. That’s unbelievable! And now the fact that we’re having a little bit of cross-pollination between the two is huge.

Each season of each show does influence the other, and there is a continuity that fans can track and that’s so cool. That’s the stuff nerd dreams are made of and I’m a huge nerd, and once I heard that they were coming aboard the show, I lost my mind. 

It is super cool. As you said, you’ve been tapped into this universe and the character of Hughie for a while. What ways have you grown as an actor and what have you learned about yourself through this experience?

Hughie looks at Starlight with regret on The Boys
Prime Video

Quaid: It comes down to time on a set. I know that that sounds so simple. When I first started, I had done a TV show and a few movies. But with TV, you’re [on set] a lot. You’re boots on the ground and you get this crash course of what it means to be on set and do your best work. You learn the ins and outs of the rhythm of a set, and what you should bring to each day. I feel like that’s helped on so many other projects. So I’ve grown in about as many ways as you can count. I was relatively green when the show started and now I’m a little less so.

I got to grow as a person. I think Hughie has grown as a character, and to get to do that alongside him is so surreal. I was 26 when I started, I’m 32 now. I can’t even begin to tell you how lucky I am to be on a show that’s run for four seasons.

I don’t think Hughie and I are exactly the same person. Obviously we’re similar, but to me he’s like an old friend from middle school. I fit with him like a comfy old sweater now. And I love every chance I get to go and play him again and discover these new layers to him…  it is so cool to see him grow and change and evolve…

That’s an awesome journey! And, I am very glad that you are more like Hughie and not like [your Scream character] Richie. What a relief!

Quaid: [laughs] Yeah, I think we are all happy about that!

Tai Gooden is the Features Editor for Nerdist and a big fan of bloody and shocking universes like The Boys. If she could, she’d totally raid MM’s closet for one (or five) of his T-shirts and wear them while hanging out with her daughter (in her mind) Marie Moreau.

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