Tomer Capone Talks Evolving Frenchie For Season 4 Of ‘The Boys’, What’s Next After The Superhero Satire Ends & Navigating Life As An Israeli Actor

EXCLUSIVE: Tomer Capone has long been a household name on Israeli screens, having worked on a number of successfully exported TV shows such as Hostages, political thriller Fauda and When Heroes Fly. He won an Ophir (equivalent to an Oscar in Israel) after he was handpicked by Natalie Portman for the romantic lead in her directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness. But when he was cast as series regular Frenchie (or Serge) in Amazon’s hit series The Boys, he was catapulted into the mainstream. His depiction of Frenchie, a former assassin with a murky past who is mired by deep childhood trauma, and the character’s heartfelt relationship with Kimiko (played by Karen Fukuhara) has offered audiences moments of respite from the superhero satire’s often dark, violent and lewd storyline.

With the newest instalment of The Boys set to drop on Prime Video on Thursday and creator Eric Kripke recently announcing that this will be the penultimate season, making the upcoming Season 5 the end of the series, Capone sat down with Deadline to discuss what The Boys has meant for him and his career, his experience of navigating life as an Israeli actor amidst the ongoing Israel-Gaza crisis, and what’s next on the horizon for the actor.

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DEADLINE: The Boys is such a huge show for Amazon and it’s so outrageous in so many ways. When you got the script for Season 4, what were your initial reactions to what was happening? How can it get more outrageous and top what it’s already done? 

TOMER CAPONE: You know that’s a really good question. Ever since Season 2, and after I had figured out what The Boys playground was all about, I have this ritual when I read a script where it’s almost like I’m trying to channel friendship while reading it – it’s like I’m sitting down with my friend Frenchie and we’re reading it together. [Creator] Eric Kripke is crazy talented and writes these action-packed but super intelligent and super diabolical scripts every time that put you almost under a spell. When I say spell, I’m talking like sorcery here because the show always seems to predict things in the real world that happen after.

At first it’s like going to an amusement park but then you have to put that aside for a second and then you go deeper and ask, ‘What is this all about?’  What makes the show, at the end of the day, is the brilliance that is underneath the surface. It’s the poking of the soft spots in the belly of Western society and whatever is happening in the world.

DEADLINE: I imagine you guys have a lot of fun on set together – I feel like that really comes across in the show.

CAPONE: The script just allows us to have fun. That’s always the first reaction, but it’s definitely the case in Season 4. I say this every time I read a new season and I think, ‘How are they going to top that last season?’ and they surprise me every time.

DEADLINE: How have you evolved Frenchie as a character in the last three seasons and how can we expect to see him evolve in Season 4?  

CAPONE: I’ve developed a lot since we started the show and Eric [Kripke] and I know each other in a way so we have a lot of conversations and it’s a lot about listening and how to navigate the character and pushing the characters to corners that we would never expect them to be. With Frenchie, it always starts from the outside in. The hair is a big thing with Frenchie – we took it to a different direction this season. We started off with blue hair and then didn’t like it, so we changed it. But everything is very dynamic. You’d think everything is so well organized but no, man, we’re crazy.

Tomer Capone as Frenchie and Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko in ‘The Boys’
Tomer Capone as Frenchie and Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko in ‘The Boys’

DEADLINE: What are some of the parts of Frenchie’s character that you warm to and what are the qualities of his character that you like? What connects you and do you find you’ve grown with him?

CAPONE: At the end of the day, Frenchie is the wild card. If The Boys is a family, then it’s obvious that Frenchie is the troubled teenager and I find this really endearing. Eric likes to say that Frenchie and Kimiko are the heart of the show and I agree with that. I always feel that when Kimiko and I have our scenes, something stops in the full gas of the show. Just for a second, there’s something about these two outsiders, these two animals, who found each other and are hanging on in this crazy, crazy world.

When I got the role of Frenchie, the fact I was a foreigner I think helped me. I believe that production was actually looking for a French actor but they couldn’t find the right person for whatever reason. And when Eric was talking to his mom about it and said that they couldn’t find this Frenchie character they were looking for, she was the one who had seen me on When Heroes Fly and told him to check me out.

It all happened really fast after that. They were already going because Frenchie doesn’t come in until the second episode of the first season and so I was jumping in while they were in it. It was a very interesting process that I had never experienced before. He was the only foreigner on the show (until Kimiko comes in later on) and my English wasn’t as good as it is now because everything I had done before were local, Israeli productions. But I thought I would hang on to that. I didn’t understand the language that much and you know, if someone gives you lemons, you make lemonade. So, I decided to fool everyone on set for the first couple of weeks and pretended I was actually French. I said I lived in Israel and my family was French and I spoke in my French accent the entire time and people bought it and I felt good. We went to the most bizarre places in Toronto, Canada to check out people and get some ideas and this character came to life very quickly.

It’s funny because Frenchie is known for his big facial expressions, which are all over the place and that actually came from working with Karl Urban and Jack Quaid and me not totally understanding what they were saying. So, I just went with it and played on that whole foreigner concept, which I was really experiencing at the time.

DEADLINE: What is your perspective of The Boys and what it says about the U.S. and its politics as someone who lives outside of the U.S.?

CAPONE: Maybe I was naïve before I started The Boys in thinking that it was hard being an American man because I had seen that there was so much cynicism about America and American culture. But now, I’m growing up and having my own identity crisis in a way. It’s not easy being Israeli these days. It’s very challenging and it brings up a lot of questions and makes you grow up really, really fast, which is not a fun thing to do.

I feel like the criticism goes both ways – I’m not talking specifically about my country – I’m talking about the whole region. The stupid, egomaniac, power-driven men in this power-drunk society that we live in. And that’s something that The Boys touches on obviously with the story of Homelander and Vought International and merchandise and selling weapons and creating weapons. And on the other side you have a group of vigilantes who are not like freedom fighters but who all have their own revenge story. The only idealist actually is Frenchie, and even he had a horrible past as an assassin.

What I find myself doing more these days is running towards escapism – and I mean that in a positive sense of the word. I’ve been watching more movies than ever and have been trying to get through all of the craziness in the world by watching all of my favorite movies again and drowning myself in those stories in hopes that it can make me learn something about myself and how to be a better man.

DEADLINE: You’re an Israeli man living in Israel. As an actor, how have things changed for you since October 7? 

CAPONE: It’s still an ongoing experience. I can’t sum it up with a few sentences or words. I’m still going through everything that is happening here. What I can say is that it all starts and ends at education and the responsibility of an individual to take on that education himself, and be a man of peace and choose to speak with values. It’s not about thinking about himself but about our children’s grandchildren, the future that they should be left behind. But I’m sad because I don’t think anything is going to change at all right now. I have a great idea though – why don’t we just decide to let women take over and run the entire world? That will save us so much time!

But listen, at the end of the day, when this started, I was very depressed. I was in a very dark, dark, dark period like the majority of us here in Israel. It’s crazy how this situation is the new fire on social media that everyone is watching and throwing into. And with the new election that is coming our way and your way [in the U.S.], I ask myself, “Where are all the leaders?”

It took me a lot of time to shake it off and understand this and I was asking myself some really serious questions about my identity and who I am, and who I want to be right now and what I’ve learned is, you have to shut everything out and you have to just do what you believe is the right thing for today and for this hour and for this minute. For me, it was to use my privilege as being a well-known figure in Israel to open up doors and raise funds and money and whatever I can.

I also realized that while this is a small industry in Israel, it is still an industry and the people around me, while I’m acting are providing for their families and the people working in this industry. So, I decided to come back to work in Israel and work on something I have never done before.

(L-R) Laurence Fishburne, Casey Affleck and Tomer Capone in ‘Slingshot’
(L-R) Laurence Fishburne, Casey Affleck and Tomer Capone in ‘Slingshot’

DEADLINE: Yes, you’ve just wrapped a romantic comedy series in Israel. The world feels like it needs more romantic comedies right now. What can you tell us about this one? 

CAPONE: It’s called The Wedding Organizer. It’s really funny mash up of sort of Napoleon Dynamite meets The Wedding Singer. It’s a six-episode series. That’s all I can say right now.

DEADLINE: How are you finding this experience of working on something that is so different from The Boys or anything you’ve been involved in for a while? And how has this experience helped you against the backdrop of where you are right now? 

CAPONE: I think I needed to remind myself that this too has meaning. With everything going on here and in the world right now, everything became grey and dark and almost meaningless. And I needed to remind myself that even if it’s between those words “action” and “cut”, having those pure moments again of community and working with a team of people is important. And it took a second. It’s weird.

People don’t understand really what is going on here from afar and what this is all about and how we got here. It’s not about picking sides. Of course, when people ask me, of course it’s about freeing Palestine but free Palestine from what? Free Palestine from terror, free Palestine from Hamas – yes. But the same goes for Israel. Free Israel from all of the extremist, weird people that are trying to take over my beautiful country. These people are everywhere and it’s so sad to see that the extremists are the new mainstream.

DEADLINE: That really gets you in the pit of your stomach. It’s very depressing. Were you personally affected by what happened on October 7? Were there people you knew who were involved in the atrocities that happened on that day? 

CAPONE: It’s a quick yes. There were many people I know who were murdered on that day. I’m so traumatized by the whole situation. Listen, I served in the army here and nothing like that has ever happened to us. I remember the day that I went to visit the wounded people in the hospitals and it almost didn’t feel real. It was like having an out-of-body experience.

DEADLINE: Let’s move on to what else you have coming up. You recently worked with Casey Affleck and Laurence Fishburne on upcoming feature film Slingshot. What was that experience like? 

CAPONE: It was a crazy experience – just to work with actors like Laurence Fishburne and Casey Affleck, was amazing. Mikael Håfström is an incredible director. We play three astronauts on an endangered mission to Saturn’s moon Titan and it’s a very psychological and exciting ride. I’m really excited to see what audiences think of it when it comes out later this summer.

DEADLINE: There’s going to be one more season of The Boys. How do you feel knowing that you have one more season playing Frenchie and working with this team? 

CAPONE: I’m already packing my stuff and getting ready to go back and shoot in Toronto and you know, I’ve realized that time passes so quickly so I’m really going to enjoy this last ride. It’s a riot – it’s an amazing playground and I’m just going to soak it all in and enjoy every second of it. But my dreams are endless, and the music never stops.

Capone is repped by Arik Kneller’s The Kneller Agency, Thruline Entertainment, Independent Talent Group and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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