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The Boys: What makes Karen Fukuhara the most fearless cast member - Exclusive

The Boys, based on its premise alone, was always going to be a massive show in terms of storytelling scope. This is a series set in a world where an all-consuming corporation has the market cornered not just on superhero movies, but on superheroes themselves, who preside over the United States from a tower in New York City and hide their nefarious misdeeds behind all manner of public relations smokescreens. This is a show where the greatest villain on Earth just might be a guy with Superman-style powers who literally wraps himself in the American flag. It's an action-comedy epic with a lot to say about the state of superhero media, and according to stunt coordinator Tig Fong, the edict for the show's second season was "go bigger."

"I would say the main difference [between the two seasons] really was really the mandate, if you will, that came down from above, which was to say, 'Hey, let's make season 2 bigger and better. Let's make it twice as big,'" Fong tells Looper. "And I think that might've actually been a metric that was thrown out there. Let's make it twice as big. We were given more days to shoot the episode, a couple more days per episode to shoot, but it wasn't a couple more days of stunts. It was a couple more days in general, to shoot the entire episode."

What makes The Boys' scale all the more impressive is the way every dollar has to show on the screen. "We didn't necessarily have double the budget to do it with," Fong continues, "so I really feel the challenges were, 'Let's live up to, let's do what they're asking, let's absolutely pull out all the stops and let's let our imaginations run wild and let's build big feature film-level stunts and action sequences.' However, we still didn't have a feature film budget, nor did we have feature film timeline. Yeah, I think that was the biggest difference in the challenges for season 2."

So, how do you make an even bigger show while still working within the budget constraints of a streaming series? You get creative, and you find stars who are game for all the action, no matter how demanding. For Fong, he and his stunt team found that in The Boys star Karen Fukuhara

A star who is 'up for anything'

Fukuhara's character on The Boys, Kimiko, gets a greatly expanded storyline in season 2 of the series, after spending much of the first season as a frightened mute who barely communicated with any member of the team. In the second season, we learn much more about her roots, the source of her powers, and why she's so hesitant to get close to anyone. The more she opens up to Frenchie (Tomer Capon) and the rest of the team, though, the more we also get to see her powers in action. Throughout the season, Kimiko lands some truly devastating blows, both emotionally and physically. According to Fong, those blows land in no small part because, out of all the members of The Boys cast, Fukuhara was the one most game to dive right into stunt work. 

"She is absolutely amazing," Fong says. "She really is very invested in the Female [Kimiko's title before the Boys learned her true name] and her physicality, and is basically just up for anything. I mean, we had her doing wire things in season 2 and jumping down from high platforms and so on, and she did it with such alacrity, it was only after the fact that she's like, 'Well, I've actually never done anything like this before. I've actually never jumped down into a box rig.' I would never have guessed, because she really didn't seem to hesitate to do any of these things."

Fukuhara's willingness to really dig deep on her stunt work, and The Boys commitment to practical stunts in general, was exemplified by season 2's third episode, "Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men." That episode's climax featured the villainous Stormfront (Aya Cash) pursuing Kimiko and her brother Kenji (Abraham Lim) through and up an apartment building, culminating in a rooftop fight. Though we didn't get to see the full extent of the stunt work in the final cut, Fong noted some of the most ambitious stunt work of the entire series was brought to bear on that sequence by The Boys' stunt team.

"We have the Kenji character jumping off the rooftop, in being pursued by Stormfront, he and Kimiko. That was a practical jump," Fong notes. "It's a little bit unfortunate that when we saw the final footage of it, they cut it in such a way that it might've been possible for us to cheat it. But that was definitely a stuntman, a very talented stunt double, actually, and our very, very talented world-class rigging team created that wire jump, which was a 60-foot gap from a six-story building to a three-story building. That required implementation of very large, heavy cranes to get the kind of height you needed to span that gap. It was three days of setup and rehearsal to have that all ready to go. And of course, there's certain risk involved in it. So that would definitely have been the most challenging single gag to set up for season 2."

The complete second season of The Boys is now streaming on Amazon Prime video.