Marvin Milk, whom The Boys fans affectionately know as Mother’s Milk or MM, has been on quite the journey throughout the show’s run. We’ve seen him grapple with his decisions to pursue vengeance, go through morality spars with Butcher, and parse through the intricacies of PTSD. Season three takes him to a bleak place with the secrets of his past resurfacing both literally and figuratively. His story has extraordinary elements yet the crux of his emotional and familial journey roots itself in reality and resonates with many viewers. Laz Alonso embodies MM to perfection, delivering anguish, righteous rage, and the frustration of betrayal. And, because of him, MM is tethered to our hearts forever. Nerdist caught up with Laz Alonso to talk about MM’s T-shirt collection on The Boys, YouTube hair tutorials, generational trauma and his hopes for season four.
Nerdist: MM’s T-shirts and overall style deserves more praise. Are those shirts from your wardrobe or do you work with a stylist on set?
Laz Alonso: I work with our onset costume coordinator, the head of the costume department, and every episode, we pick a shirt that kind of thematically encompasses what MM is going through and where we are in the story. We have always done groups and artists and this season, we also started doing songs. For example, we did Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” …We did a shoutout to DMX and the Ruff Ryders this season. The DMX one is in the episode where I knock out Todd. That [moment] was declarative. And we wanted to have that shirt during a moment when MM exhibits a moment of gaining back his family and control. We tried to be as methodical as possible with picking out shirts that matched [the] level of intensity.
It’s interesting that you brought up MM and family. One of the big themes this season is family and specifically fatherhood. And MM went through a lot with processing family deaths and other things this season. Can you talk more about the catharsis and realizations that came from his storyline?
It was cathartic to be honest with you, you know, the relationship between [MM] and his father and him feeling a level of guilt over how he contributed to his grandfather’s death. And, his level of wanting to protect his daughter from the trauma that he lives through every single day. He didn’t want to pass that on. The way that MM has decided not to pass on generational trauma is by shielding her and hiding her from it.
And the problem with that is, he’s also hiding her family history. And he’s hiding where she comes from. You have to know where you come from in order to know where you’re going. Knowledge itself is everything. And I think that this season is when he realized that where he comes from and his family story is actually [him and his daughter’s] sense of power, not something they shouldn’t be running from.
Absolutely. And that happens so often, especially with Black families. There are often family secrets and sometimes they surface and cause harm.
Yes! This generation right now is doing everything in their power to break generational curses. Yes, absolutely. I think MM was trying to break the curse through omission. And that’s not always the best way to break it. But I do take pride in some moments that you know, we added to the script to really show that father-daughter relationship, like when he’s doing her braids.
Any Black father who’s raising his daughter has to learn how to do hair. Whatever your macho man card is, you gotta put that to the side. You know, because you have a daughter now. With that scene, they sent me wigs and these fake heads to my apartment in Toronto. And I was on YouTube, learning how to braid hair. They sent me barrettes and hair ties and all kinds of stuff. It was wild.
And you did a great job! I love how everything ends this season, because MM seems to be in a good place with not only his family, but with most of the Boys collective too. What are your hopes for him in season four?
I think in season four there’s definitely gonna be a lot more working with Starlight. They have grown into a friendship that we didn’t see coming and work really well together. She’s got the powers and he has the brains and detective skills. I think she also has kind of evolved into the “MM whisperer” because she can talk him down off the ledge when he’s about to do something crazy. And that’s what pretty much MM does for Butcher. So having her on the team is really a big plus, because we have another supe. And it’s important to have somebody else on the team now that he trusts.
I think the trust level between MM and Buchter has deteriorated after he teamed up with Soldier Boy. Butcher was the only person in the Boys that knew about his story with Soldier Boy. That tension between them needs to be addressed.
Watching their relationship crumble this season was a lot. But I like how MM always keeps his moral compass intact. At this point, I can imagine that it’s really hard to be shocked by anything that happens on set or in this series. But was there something that happened this season that made you go “Wow, this is wild?!”
Episode six. I wasn’t expecting that. And when I read the script, I didn’t interpret it the way that I was supposed to. I did not think it was going to be human fluid. I thought it was gonna be something else. And I learned the hard way what “throwing rope” meant that day.
Oh god. We got a great screenshot of it though and put it on social media for everyone to see.
Yeah, I bet you did! I want to remind everybody that it was very thick hand sanitizer. That’s all it is. You know, the funny thing is all my fans were more worried about my Jordans… I would post a picture of it and most of the comments were about my shoes.
That’s hilarious. One last question for you, Laz. What have you learned about yourself from portraying MM?
I have learned that I am very good at getting into character but, until now, I had never seriously thought about how important it is to get out [of character]. I don’t live a toxic stressful life. I do everything in my power to cut toxicity out whether that be people, things, situations and I do my best to be as zen as possible. But in order to achieve these very honest moments on screen, you have to take on that energy. I have to get upset. And this character is very stressed out, and very wound up. And so in this next phase of my career, I am going to try to learn how to not take on that energy. It’s not mine. I’m going to be super, super vigilant and learn how to leave that character on set.