The Boys Season 2: Black Noir's Actor Looks To The Future In This "Remixed" Adaptation
We chatted with Nathan Mitchell, the actor who plays the most mysterious supe on The Boys.
With The Boys Season 2 finally in the rearview, we have plenty to discuss. Let us know what you thought of the season as a whole in the comments below, then check out our ending and twist explainer, our discussion with VFX supervisor Stephan Fleet about the season's excellent head-exploding gore, and our chat with actor Claudia Doumit about the crazy Victoria Neuman twist.
Throughout The Boys Season 1, Black Noir remained one of the most mysterious characters on the show. Now that Season 2 has concluded with a shocking and satisfying finale, we can say definitively that Noir remains an enigma. Besides a few tidbits and a small reveal, we learned basically nothing about him throughout the latest eight episodes. Of course, as Nathan Mitchell, the actor behind the black mask, told us recently, that's entirely by design.
The Boys fans who have read the comics on which the series is based know that Noir has a massive role in the original story. But Amazon's adaptation has so far played fast and loose with the source material, and certain hints in Season 2--like the partial reveal of Noir's face during his fight with Starlight and Queen Maeve in Episode 7--seem like pretty definitive proof that Noir's backstory will be different in the show. But Mitchell wouldn't help us rule out any possibilities.
"I am aware of the [comics storyline]," the actor told us, deftly avoiding making any further comment on various fan theories (if you want to know more about Noir's role in the comics, check out our explainer here--but be warned of potential spoilers).
"As far as Black Noir's future, you know, I think it's best to just leave all of that up to speculation. I think there are certain things you can infer from the reveal, and you see what you see. I'm looking forward to going down this path, that we can keep surprising the audience," he said.
"I'm gonna let everybody have fun with their thoughts and their theories," he continued. "I think that's the best way to go. Like you said, it's an adaptation, you know, it's a remix, in a lot of different ways. And I think the fun thing about Noir is that he is a mystery, and that his motives and his backstory, his intention--they're all a mystery. And so I'm gonna keep it that way."
Of course the character is a mystery--it's hard to be anything else when you never take your mask off or talk. The fleeting glimpse of Noir's mouth and jaw in Episode 7 was the most skin Mitchell has ever revealed on The Boys, and yet he finds ways to express Noir's feelings.
"The decision you make of what mask you choose says something about you," the actor said, explaining that he likes to imagine what Noir would be saying if he chose to speak, act it out, then simply remove the words while keeping the emotion intact: "Every movement, every decision you make, verbal or nonverbal, the world views you in some way. And so for me, as long as I can move freely and express myself through my body, I'm happy. I think I can say a lot about Noir through his body, so I think it's a really fun role to play."
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Noir is a terror in battle, but this season also revealed a seemingly softer side to him. Although misguided, he attempted to comfort a child with a stuffed pink bunny in the Season 2 premiere (while holding a severed head in his other hand). We also saw him appearing to weep when the news of Compound V went global and the world learned that "superheroes are made, not born." Mitchell said in his opinion, those emotions are genuine.
"He does have a soft side and an empathetic dimension to him, and I think that's what makes him interesting," the actor said. "This is the reality of, he could rip you to shreds on the battlefield in a second, but when he's off duty, there is a human there that feels and is vulnerable, you know, is odd and quirky in different ways."
Noir had a few juicy fight scenes in Season 2, and Mitchell said the battle with Annie and Maeve was "a lot of fun." Hilariously, it ended when Maeve shoved an Almond Joy into his mouth, revealing that tree nuts are Black Noir's very own kryptonite--and one that Mitchell shares with the character.
"It was classic [showrunner Eric Kripke] writing. It's just such a great, great moment," Mitchell said. "The nut allergy is a thing that I deal with, so it's very art imitating life--not that I've necessarily, you know, had to deal with chocolate bars being shoved down my mouth by someone I was fighting." Luckily, they made sure to use a fake Almond Joy wrapper and a nut-free chocolate when shooting the scene (Mitchell thinks it may have had marshmallow).
With Season 2, The Boys proved itself to be one of the best shows on TV right now. Unsurprisingly, we already know that Season 3 is coming. We're excited to learn more about Black Noir as the character's drip feed of mystery continues in the future, and Mitchell left us with one tease: "It's gonna be crazy."
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