Jack Quaid Talks ‘Star Trek,’ ‘The Boys’ Fan Culture — And Voicing Superman

Jack Quaid Talks ‘Star Trek,’ ‘The Boys’ Fan Culture — And Voicing Superman

Jack Quaid is a fan, himself. Since joining the Star Trek universe in the animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks and starring in the popular Amazon superhero show The Boys, he’s all about the dedicated fandom culture.

”I, myself, am a huge nerd,” Quaid tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to be in projects that I would watch if I wasn’t an actor in them. This has always kind of been the dream for me.”

He adds, “Fans are awesome. If you’re so into something that you’re gonna dress up as one of the characters or make fan art of it, that’s so cool.”

Last year, it was announced that Quaid would be joining yet another beloved franchise as the voice of the titular character in HBO Max and Cartoon Network’s animated series My Adventures With Superman.

With now two major voice acting roles under his belt, Quaid enjoys the laid back nature of the job, while also finding the process to help his on-screen acting.

“In voiceover, you get a lot less fluids on you — that’s the good part,” Quaid says, referencing how often he’s covered in blood on the set of The Boys. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot about on-screen acting through voiceover. Kind of going for it and not thinking about it too much allows you a freedom that I’ve hopefully tried to carry into my live action work.”

Ahead of Thursday’s season three premiere of creator Mike McMahan’s Lower Decks, Quaid spoke with THR about a post-pandemic Comic-Con, bringing his Lower Decks character to live-action in a Star Trek: Strange New Worlds crossover and his desire to be in a Star Wars project one day. Read the full interview below.

You were just at Comic-Con for Lower Decks. With seasons one and two both having been released during the pandemic, what was it like to finally see such a visceral audience reaction to the show?

It was such a fun time. It’s cool to actually be back in that kind of venue and see all those fans again. That was our first Hall H since the first time we went up there. [Back then,] we had nothing to show and the show wasn’t available yet, so it was slightly strange. But this time, it was great. I had a blast. The energy in that room is just — you can feel it. It’s so palpable.

A lot of your work does fall into that Comic-Con territory of fandom, which can be intimidating for some. What has your experience been like working on projects with such dedicated fans?

I’ve loved it. My first movie ever really was The Hunger Games and that definitely had a very dedicated fandom. I think I got used to it with that experience. But ultimately, it’s been a great experience because I, myself, am a huge nerd. I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to be in projects that I would watch if I wasn’t an actor in them. This has always kind of been the dream for me. To be able to be in something that has a presence at Comic-Con, much less a few things that would have a presence at Comic-Con, I feel really lucky. I feel like I do a lot of stuff that has to do with fans and hero worship. It’s been kind of an interesting to bring that to Comic Con. Like, Boimler is a fan of the people from The Original Series and The Next Generation. [In The Boys,] Hughie used to be a fan of superheroes before Robin died. I got to be a toxic fan in Scream. And I’m just a fan myself as a person, so it’s been a cool kind of analysis of fan culture.

Very meta.

It’s very meta. But ultimately, fans are awesome. If you’re so into something that you’re gonna dress up as one of the characters or make fan art of it, that’s so cool. I love that so much. It’s so genuine and so awesome.

It was recently announced at Comic-Con that we’re going to see a live-action crossover with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks. Are we going to get to see you dressed up in character as Boimler?

Yeah, I feel like I should specify the exact way that it’s going to be because I’ve been looking and seeing a lot of different takes on it. So we already shot it, and it’s Tawny Newsome and I as the live-action versions of our animated characters. I don’t know if I can get into plot details or anything, but yes, I’m going to have purple hair, we had uniforms made. We got to step on board the Enterprise, which was really interesting, and got to interact with that amazing cast and that amazing crew. And it was such an interesting challenge to be a live-action version of an animated character. What do you do? What’s too much? What’s too little? How do you stay in the voice? How do you bring some physicality to it? How does the character move on the animated show, and how can you make that work in live action?

But everyone was so welcoming. I feel like [Strange New Worlds star] Ethan Peck and I have a firm bromance now. He’s amazing. We just had a blast. Tawny never thought that she would be on a physical Starfleet ship, so she was touching a lot of buttons and dials and knobs, and breaking things. Just to see that through her eyes and see her light up — that was so cool. We’re really good friends in real life, so to be able to do that together was such a dream. And there are going to be animated elements to it, but not like a Roger Rabbit with cartoons and real people mixed together. You’ll see how it all works out. It’s pretty cool.

Star Trek Lower Decks

Courtesy of Paramount+

The show makes a ton of deep cut references and nods to Star Trek lore that even super fans might not catch. Are you able to keep track of those when they do pop up?

I’m relatively new to Star Trek, like I know very basic things. The deep cut stuff is something that Mike McMahan and Tawney have had to kind of coach me on. And what’s nice is that when I’m recording, they explain everything to me, just so I understand. I don’t think you can be funny without context and Star Trek has a lot of context, and our show has even more. We just tried to jam in all the references, as much as possible. So it’s been actually kind of cool having the finer points of the Star Trek universe explained to me through these super fans who have their own Star Trek show. But there have been a few things that I’m starting to learn more and more and become an even bigger Trekkie. There’s a few things that I’m starting to notice. The first one I noticed independently was when there was an episode in season two in the collector’s Museum, and there was a gigantic Spock skeleton. So I immediately knew what that meant. I was like, it was a giant Spock from Phylos [in the Animated Series episode, “The Infinite Vulcan.”]. He’s dead now. People are gonna be so mad at Mike, but that’s such a cool reference.

On The Boys, you’re often covered in blood, which I imagine is not easy to get off at the end of the day. Is it a little reprieve to show up to work for something like Lower Decks and just chill out in the recording studio?

I love voiceover. In voiceover, you get a lot less fluids on you — that’s the good part. I’ve been lucky enough to do this show, do a few animated shows, and I love the process so much. I don’t know if I like one better than the other. They’re so different, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot about on-screen acting through voiceover, as well. Kind of going for it and not thinking about it too much allows you a freedom that I’ve hopefully tried to carry into my live action work. It’s a really great experience and I love that you don’t necessarily have to physically look like you’re animated counterpart. You can be whoever.

And both of those shows — Lower Decks and The Boys — can get pretty raunchy at points. Does anything shock you anymore when you’re reading a script?

Not really. I think I’ve gotten all that out of the way pretty fast. Nothing really fazes me anymore to be honest with you. I mean, I don’t know, I say that before I’ve read the scripts for season four of The Boys. I’m sure something will faze me. [Creator] Eric Kripke always finds a way of surprising me. But my ceiling for fazing at this point is pretty high.

Next up in voice acting, you’re going to be playing Clark Kent in My Adventures With Superman. Was that an exciting moment to book such an iconic role?

Oh, absolutely. When I first got the audition to go out for that part, they were like, “Hey, there’s this new Superman animated show coming out. Would you like to audition for the role of Superman?” And I think my first reaction was a very sarcastic. “Sure. I’ll be Superman. Like that’ll ever happen.” So I gave it a shot. I was like, you know, why not? And I think you always book stuff when you’re like, “Why not? This will never happen.” And then it happens.

Is it because there’s less pressure?

There’s no big pressure, because you’re like, “Oh, this is just never gonna happen. But like, whatever. At the end of the day, I can say that I auditioned for Superman. That’s cool.” But then I got it. And I freaked out. I never thought I’d be anywhere close to being able to play Superman like that. That never crossed my mind. But the show is awesome. I’m really such a fan of the show. It’s such a pure, innocent, genuine take on a superhero, which is so great for me coming from The Boys. I get to play two sides of the same coin — one where we’re taking superheroes down a peg and one where we’re saying that they actually are altruistic and good. Some of them can be a beacon of hope in a dark world. I love that about Superman. I think a lot of people growing up were like, “Oh, Batman is my favorite, because he’s dark and gritty.” And he is, he’s really cool. Superman has never really been cool. But that’s why I like it. Despite the way that the world is, whether it’s a bad time or a good time, Superman is always there protecting people. I think we need a character like that, now more than ever. That might even sound hokey, but a character that believes in the good in people and wants to do the right thing.

Being a part of all these different universes, do you have a dream role or franchise that you would want to join?

I don’t know if anyone’s ever been in both — and I’ll probably be very much corrected by nerds — in both a Star Trek live-action project and a Star Wars live-action project, but I would like to be one of the first. The reason why I’m into sci fi and fantasy comes from Star Wars. I would kill to be a droid or a Jedi or a Han Solo type, whatever. I could be a blade of grass in a field, I don’t care. I’d love to be in a Star Wars project, for sure. I never thought I’d be on Star Trek show — period. That was a dream come true. So I don’t know. Maybe that could happen.

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Season three of Star Trek: Lower Decks streams on Paramount+