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“The Boys” Composer Christopher Lennertz Interview: “Getting to Write Such Earnest Yet Bonkers Material Almost Doesn’t Feel Real”

“The Boys” are suited and booted, ready to continue their heroic quest to expose the truth about The Seven and Vought in the fourth season of the show which premiered on June 13 with a three-episode debut. The eight-episode season streams exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide with a new episode every Thursday, ending with the epic season finale on July 18.

Based on The New York Times best-selling comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, season four of “The Boys” finds the world teetering on the edge of disaster. Homelander is tightening his grip on power, with Victoria Neuman poised to reach the Oval Office under his influence. Meanwhile, Butcher, facing a terminal diagnosis, has lost both Becca’s son and his position as leader of The Boys, whose members have grown weary of his deceptions. Confronted with graver stakes than ever before, the team must find a way to work together and prevent catastrophe before it’s too late.

In anticipation of the highly-anticipated return of the series’ signature pitch-black humor, lewd comedy, and gory Grand Guignol style, CinemaChords’ Howard Gorman interviewed the show’s composer, Christopher Lennertz to discuss his approach to writing the music, to ensure that it aligns with this fun, irreverent take on the superhero genre that incorporates substantial social commentary.

CinemaChords: Congratulations on your work scoring season 4 of “The Boys.” I read that you consider one of the new season’s songs to be the best of your career so far. Has that episode already aired, or is it still yet to come?

Christopher Lennertz: It just came out in episode 3 and I think that one’s one of my faves, absolutely. It’s called “Let’s put the Christ back in Christmas,” and for lack of a better description, it’s basically Ice Capades and Disney on Ice, but produced by Vought with a Christmas theme about the war on Christmas. Basically, to try to drum up more support for Homelander from the far conservative right and talk about woke mobs and being canceled. So it’s pretty timely and appropriate. The humor in it is very “The Boys,” but it also does what is, oddly enough, becoming my thing.

If you ever look at the Venn diagram of people who like Broadway, and people who like superheroes, it doesn’t cross over much. Most people like one or the other, and I somehow have been really lucky to have become a kind of superhero musical guy. I did the my first Marvel song for the show “Agent Carter” long ago, when Captain America’s girlfriend sang on the show like 10 years ago. And then last Summer, I did Rogers: The Musical for Disney and now this. I was so excited. Obviously, this one is much more edgy and it’s much more of a skewing thing, like “The Boys” normally does. So it’s even within my crazy little world of being maybe the only one, or or one of the very few superhero Broadway composers. Even with this one I get to write stuff that’s very earnest, and stuff that is so ridiculous and so nuts and bonkers; have Jesus coming down the rafters, and a singing donkey and angels. It almost still doesn’t feel real.

CC: You mentioned that you’ve written for Marvel and the like previously. Writing for “The Boys” and getting this alternative creative freedom must be cathartic in that is allows you to venture beyond your typical writing boundaries, right?

CL: I would say you have just encapsulated my work on “The Boys” with that question. The reason why everyone who works on “The Boys” is so happy and has so much fun all the time is because this show has been ultimate experience of creative freedom, but also social commentary freedom in such a smart way. Everybody, from from writers to either our choreographer and the cast have been able to really push the envelope.

The funny thing is that I never got a note that’s like, “Oh, can you tone it back?” or, “Maybe you’re you’re pushing it too far,” or, “Maybe you’re gonna offend somebody.” Those notes are everywhere in Hollywood, so to be on a show where literally that note never happens, is kind of ridiculous.

And then we get the opposite note almost all the time from Eric [Kripke], which is, “Can we take it any further? Can we be more over the top? Can we make a bigger statement,” and thankfully between Eric’s sensibilities and the fact that we have this amazing story device called Vought, which, by its very success and existence allows us to be unnaturally over the top, it’s pretty amazing. And as a creative, to be able to write with that sort of freedom is like you said, It’s cathartic, it’s joyful and and it’s fun. And we laugh, you know! For a show that has so much blood and gore, we laugh and hug so much. Everyone is so close and adoring of each other. Having worked with all of them recording, it’s just like it’s such an unusual family. Everyone is happy, free, and respectful. Being in a place where you can just explore creativity without all those notes is a rarity in the industry and I really give a lot of credit for that to Eric Kripke, and to Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, because the three of them set that tone from day one.

CC: I can only imagine the creative freedom and excitement you must feel from getting dreaming up these wild, imaginative ideas for the show. At the same time, I’m curious to know how you approached certain scenes, like the infamous “Herogasm” moment. I know you like to compose the music shortly after viewing each episode, so that the score is imbued with the same raw, visceral feelings the audience experiences in that first watch. As an audience member, the Herogasm episode evoked a strong reaction, so I’m curious to hear what emotions or impressions you took away from that to then channel into the musical score.

CL: I knew Herogasm was coming but I still couldn’t really prepare myself for it. One of the things that’s really unique about Eric is that no matter how ridiculous a scene or a shock moment is, whether it be the exploding penis at the beginning of the beginning of season 3 or whatever, there is always good reason for it. We’re doing all of this because we need to. You know, we need Butcher and Frenchy to see the depravity of these heroes. We need to see all of that in order to make sure that The Boys then make the right choices that they make later in the season, as far as taking Temp V and things like that that they probably wouldn’t have ended up doing if they hadn’t seen all of the above. So it’s really always story related.

Even the beginning of season three where we see Stormfront in the hospital, with all her limbs cut off and the weird sex moment with Homelander. We get to see all of this stuff but the whole point of that scene, for example, is to show how absolutely insecure Homelander is and how much he cares for her in a weird way, because she filled the hole in his bucket that he’s had since birth, because he didn’t have parents, and he didn’t have a childhood. Eric creates horrible characters like this who do the worst things imaginable, but literally gives them that ounce of humanity. That’s what makes the show so great instead of just fun to watch. That’s an Eric thing and he’s just magnificent at that.

CC: Well, it’s been a pleasure to speak to you. Congratulations again on the season. I can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with next, and I hope to speak to you again sometime soon.

CL: Awesome. Thanks, Howard. Appreciate it.

[Featured photo credit: Alice Kuo Shippee]

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