Gen V was one of the breakout shows of the 2023 Fall season, taking the world by storm as the most recent entry in the universe of The Boys. The series follows the dysfunctional cast of heroes at Godolkin University, and was renewed for a second season following their freshman outing.
Recently, Heroic Hollywood was able to sit down with one of the show’s stars, Lizze Broadway, who portrays Emma Meyer in the series. During the interview, Broadway talked about her experiences on Gen V and future plans beyond the project.
Note: The content of this interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
You’re one of the stars of one of the biggest superhero shows of 2023. Were you a big fan of superheroes before being cast?
Well, fun fact about myself… hi, I’m Lizzie, and I live under a rock! Like Patrick star vibes. So, no, I knew nothing about the Boys. When I got the call to be invited to the show, I was just excited someone said yes you know? I was like yay! But then I watched The Boys and saw the caliber of talent that was on the show and the brilliant storytelling, and the excitement quickly turned to panic [laughs]. I was like “Oh my gosh, this isn’t a small show. Like what did I get myself into?” Then, I got really excited but mostly nervous because it was like a big world that I was invited to be in. For sure.
Have you immersed yourself in any other superhero media since taking the role, or have you stuck to The Boys universe?
I mean, I am obsessed with Iron Man. Like I was into… I mean, like, Robert Downey Jr., hello, hi! I would love to be your daughter. Please adopt me. So probably the Marvel world with like Avengers and stuff. My friend turned me into the Spider-Gwen, like in the comics with that. But other than that, I’ve been kinda in the Boys realm.
Would you be interested in joining Marvel?
Oh my gosh, that seems so intimidating! Yeah! I mean if the opportunity came up like I would love to maybe play Spider-Gwen. That would be kinda cool.
I think you’d be great as Black Cat because you already played a jewel thief in Henry Danger.
[Laughs] I mean I feel like the Marvel world just keeps expanding! So I’m totally down if that opportunity comes. I’d be like, ‘Okay, let’s have some fun!’
Projects like Marvel and The Boys have a lot of secrecy. Do you ever feel like it’s a bit too much?
I wouldn’t say it’s too much. I think that they give you exactly what you need. I mean, at least when I was first cast, I would have at least liked to know I was a superhero! And like what my powers were. Like to find that out I was like – because it made me nervous to find out that, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m a superhero but I also am suffering from an eating disorder and that’s how I control my powers.’ So that’s when the panic started to set in I was like ‘Oh we’re making a real show. It’s not just a superhero show – it’s nuanced and layered and brilliantly written.’ So I was excited about that. I wish I knew that going in!
Gen V is a great TV show, but you’ve also worked on feature films like Ghosted with Chris Evans. In the future, do you see yourself sticking to this prestige TV landscape or pivoting more toward that film side of things?
You know, it’s so interesting. It was like 4 years ago I started taking [acting] quite seriously. So, I kind of like just being surprised. I think it all starts from a good script. And a good character. Because on paper, y’know, Emma is a YouTuber that like to box her gerbil. But then you read the script and you’re like, ‘Oh wow, this is brilliant!’ I kind of want to keep my options open. Whether that’s film, whether that’s television. I love the idea of film because there’s a beginning, middle, and end. Television is a longer production. But I’m kind of just open! I just want to work with cool people and tell great stories. I’m easy in that way.
In your last interview, you mentioned you’re not a big fan of horror. Would you ever want to step into the horror world if that script was good enough?
You know, it’s so funny. Being in The Boys universe there’s a lot of blood. I don’t like blood! Like when I watch my scenes with Emma I’m like, ‘Oh that’s fake’, right? But there’s a scene in — correct me if I’m wrong — when the memories are wiped, six… can I say the word d–k? So when they explode the d–k, I have to turn my head! Or anything relating to blood. I can’t watch because I didn’t do it so that looks real. I’m open to anything with horror, but I’m just a very sensitive little flower. And I get scared very easily! So I think I’d be fine doing horror, but it’s not something that I’m like, ‘Let’s do it!’ Only because I’m twelve and can’t swallow scary movies!
There are a lot of penises going around on The Boys. What was your reaction when you found out, for lack of a better term, you had to write that giant schwanz?
You know, it’s really [laughs] exciting. Let me tell you why. I saw it for the first time, and I was like, ‘This is my chance to add physical comedy’ Because, in the script, they didn’t add that! Shout out to Colin Penman — he crafted the d–k and the ear and the wonderland that Emma got to play in. But I immediately wanted to showcase — as crazy as it is — his creation. So I was like, ‘Let’s start at the head, okay I’ll kick his balls, okay I’ll slide down’. That was just my crazy mind being like, ‘Let’s add physical comedy!’ Because the story is so heartbreaking, and that’s how I wanted to add levity. But I was living my best life. It was one of my best days on set!
Because you dealt with a lot of blue screens and acting on your own, did you ever feel lonely on set talking to that big red dot in the sky?
Lonely? I had a remarkable crew. Like the crew and I had the time of our lives — like they’re still some of my friends after two years. I was never lonely, and usually, I would have my scene partner with me that day even though it was hard because I couldn’t look them in the eye. But they were still around, you know what I mean? So I never really felt lonely. But was I terrified half the time? Yes. It’s such a skill, like I said in another interview, it’s kind of sink or swim, and I had to pray to god that I swam that day!
Speaking of scene partners, the main two people you interacted with on set were Asa Germann and Jaz Sinclair. I’m gonna ask you a really tough question: If you had to choose one of them to star in an entirely different project with, which one of them would it be and what kind of project would it be?
Oh my god, that’s so hard! That’s… I-I can’t pick! It would be completely different. I feel like Asa Germann and I would love to do a small little indie. That’s what I feel like we’d be really successful in. And I feel like Jaz and I would do, maybe, a broad comedy. They’re just two different actors who bring two different, beautiful skill sets, and it’s not fair for me to pick one [laughs]. I can’t! They’re too much of a family! And I feel like with each artist that I worked with, they brought something new and inspired me in different ways. So, yeah, I can’t pick. I don’t have a favorite child!
Speaking of that indie landscape, do you ever have the inclination to step back into that smaller world?
Yeah, I do! I think again I really just love great characters. And characters I can craft really heavily. And I think with indies, I think, depending on the creative team involved, you have a lot more creative say. And I feel like acting is my way into directing — I think that’s ultimately maybe what I want to do. So, yeah, I think I would love to get into the indie realm. Like a Winter’s Bone… I’m trying to think off the top of my head — oh my gosh, I’m blanking! Let me circle back on the indies but Winter’s Bone, I love Jennifer Lawerence and that would be something really cool to do.
You mentioned that you’d want to direct. A lot of people ask what you want to do next, but do you have any goals you want to accomplish in the next 1-5-10 years of your career?
That’s so hard! I didn’t know what I had for breakfast this morning! When people ask me my goals, I just want to work with really talented people and I want to learn from them. So hopefully in a year, I work on a project where, hopefully, it’s a comedy, and I can bring that into [Gen V] season 2. And those skillsets. Y’know, in five years, I would love hopefully to direct my first thing. Produce. But again, I really like to keep my soul open and I feel like then I can receive a lot more. I don’t like being strict with myself.
When it comes to directing, do you think you’d want to direct other people’s scripts, or write your own and direct it from scratch?
For my first thing, I would ask Mr. [Eric] Kripke, Tara [Butters], and Michelle [Fazekas] if I could shadow one of the directors for season 2! I think that would be later in my career. I tried writing, but it’s not my first go-to right now. I’m really good at pitching alt-lines. That’s the consistency of my writing skills! So I think first I just want to direct someone else’s project. Or an episode of Gen V, like down the line if it goes on for multiple seasons.
Five minutes before we got on call The Boys got another spin-off. So it looks like you’re pretty healthy going into the future!
Yeah, it’s The Boys: Mexico! It’s got Diego Luna producing and all that.
Hi, I’m Lizze Broadway, I live under a rock! We’re circling back! Well, that’s exciting! Woo-hoo! Yay!
Shifting back, you come outside of this Hollywood ecosystem. How does it feel to suddenly have people asking you for all these interviews?
I’m still kind of processing it. I know that sounds really weird but the show aired during the [SAG-AFTRA] strike. And we got to watch the episodes at the same time as the audience, like, we didn’t get to see it beforehand, except for the first two. So it kind of felt… it didn’t feel as big as it does now. But now, since we can promote it, we can share how much of our blood, sweat, and tears we put into it and how much everyone — from the crew to the creative team — put so much of their souls into it. I feel like it’s kind of overwhelming, it’s a little scary, but I feel like it’s also really exciting. But it’s also humbling! You know, the audience, to spend 40-60 minutes with us. Our crazy faces, that’s amazing! All the love that’s being poured out, it’s so cool. Thank you to the audience!
You mentioned you were experiencing the journey along with the fans. Is there a moment in the show where you were watching it live and went ‘Oh god! I didn’t know that’s where that was going!’
All the visual effects! I mean, everything! I mean, the whole show! I remember watching the first two episodes with the cast for the first time before it aired. Because when you’re filming you don’t know how the show’s going to turn out. I mean, at least for me, I felt like we were doing a little indie. Because Emma’s like in her dorm room or either on a blue screen or in an abandoned drive-in. So I didn’t get to see the world at large. So I think for the first time for me I was like ‘Woah!’ was just seeing how big the world was. I was like, ‘So that’s what Godolkin University looks like!’ ‘That’s what Marie’s powers look like!’ ‘That’s what a classroom looks like!’ Because I’m not involved in most of the sets. That was just really wild just — to see a TV show come together the way it did was amazing.
Speaking of the drive-in, how did you react to seeing a puppet version of yourself?
I was so stoked. I was having the time of my life! Shout out to Lauren Greer who was the writer of 1×06. She wrote that brilliantly and tied it back to the Titanic moment. I just thought it was the coolest thing! When am I gonna be a puppet again!? I think I recently texted Eric Kripke and was like, ‘Do I have to sell my soul for a puppet?’ and he’s like, ‘Yes’. I was like, ‘Fair!’
Did you steal any trinkets from the set or anything like that?
You know, it’s funny. I had to do a lot of semi-nudity in the show so they gave me Sam’s wardrobe as cover-up. So I have a lot of The Woods — like Sam’s sweatpants and stuff. And mix-matched socks of Emma. I think I stole those. I didn’t mean to! Should I lie?! I didn’t steal anything! Yeah, some of Emma’s socks and Sam’s wardrobe and sweatpants.
Intimacy coordinators in Hollywood are a big topic, especially now with the new SAG-AFTRA deal. Do you feel like The Boys/Gen V crew and community did a good job making you feel safe in those scenes?
Wonderful! Wonderful! I love the intimacy coordinator. I mean intimate scenes are such a dance, it’s very much like a fight scene, not that Emma ever did fight scenes, at least not in season 1, and it makes you feel safe and they’re there for you. And I had to do a lot of nudity on the show, like, semi-nudity with blue screen, and I always felt safe. Like that was never — some days I was like ‘What are we doing today?’
Going in a bit more lighthearted direction, I’m calling you out on your Twitter/X! A while back the Gen V Twitter account released the “Marie/Jordan Cut” of you guys all in the woods, and you posted ‘Damn, Emma could’ve made it a threesome’. I have to ask, is this a subtle confirmation that, in your mind, Emma is bisexual? Or was it just a funny joke?
I mean, I like being funny on Twitter. It wouldn’t surprise me if Emma was bisexual. She’s wanted a threesome since episode 1, you know what I mean? The season finale, she could’ve dived into it. I mean, granted, you know, most people are dying. And probably wouldn’t be the time to do that. But I mean that’s the funny thing, especially with that dynamic with her mother, who’s to say that Emma’s mom would be okay with that? And Emma’s away at college for the first time so she gets to explore her sexuality, That would be something really cool to take into season 2 that I would love to explore.
Are there any other facets of Emma’s personality you’d love to explore in the upcoming season?
Well, Emma’s really neurotic. I would love to explore her strength. Her strength, for sure. I’d love to explore more of her insecurities too. I think we haven’t really touched on her healing journey yet. So I want to see how she overcomes her insecurities, that’s something that I really want to play with.
Last interview you answered the ‘How’ you got into acting, but I’m curious about the ‘Why’ you act. What gets you out of bed each day to tackle a new project?
God, that’s such a good question. Why, why, why do I act? You know how with certain things that you love, you can’t really articulate it? It brings me a lot of joy. I know that’s a very selfish reason but it makes me feel like I can still be a kid. And there’s that child-like sense of play. And I also love, well, I’m going to be honest. Growing up, I never fit in. So I feel like if I play characters other people can relate to, that makes me feel good. And especially after COVID and everything happening in the world, we turn to movies, we turn to characters when life gets hard. At least I do. So I just want to make people feel better. I love making people belly laugh. If I can make people cry or belly laugh at the same moment, that makes me feel really good. That’s why I do it.
I feel like I answered that so wrong because it feels so selfish, but I just want to make people feel good because this life can be so hard.
It’s not selfish! Art is almost like a cycle of putting our energy into the world and the world giving energy back.
I feel like acting, at least the way I craft characters, is very much a kindergarten art project. Crafting Emma was like, ‘We’re gonna throw some paint, some glitter, pour in some trauma, and then mix it all together!’ I just feel like I love being an artist in that way. You know, why do people love painting? Because you do. I love acting because I love coming up with crazy, cool, weird ideas.
Speaking of the more visual aspect, you’ve said you’re a very visual person. If Emma was to one day, potentially get a super suit, do you have any thoughts on what you’d want that to look like?
Oh… no! I haven’t thought about it yet. Because before she gets her super suit, she really needs to understand that she could be a superhero. But LJ [Shannon], the super suit designer for The Boys, it would be cool — you know, I haven’t thought of it yet! But also personally I will say I love wearing sweatpants and oversized T-shirts. So I’m okay if Emma never gets a super suit. I’m good! Just throw me in a onesie. Like that panda onesie that Sam wears in 1×07, that was actually on my Pinterest board and the costume designers made it for me, and then Asa [Germann] got to wear it before me and I was so upset with him. I’m still upset with him! He jokes all the time, ‘I stole it’ and I’m like, ‘You are… annoying!’
Going back to this newfound attention, every actor has their fans. But just in the past month, you’ve gained like thousands of followers. How does it feel having this loud and passionate fanbase watching you?
I’m just really humbled. I mean, again, people didn’t have to watch our show. Not only that, people didn’t have to share as much love or be as invested in these characters as they are. So I’m just really excited, not only are people watching the show, but they take the time to Tweet at some of the cast members or some of the producers to share their excitement or conspiracy theories. I was on Reddit once and I was like, ‘I need to pitch this to the writers! [The fans] are really impressive! I just hope I can give the love back. I mean they’ve been so lovely that someday I hope I get to meet some of them and be like, ‘Hey thanks for watching, guys. It really means so much.’
Have you had any interactions with fans so far that stand out as really impactful?
No, I haven’t left my house! I mean, I haven’t been in a situation where I’ve gotten to meet fans, but hopefully soon. I’ll pivot back in a couple of months and be like, ‘I have some fun stories!’
You’re young enough to have grown up in this digital age where fan edits and fanfiction are common. Is it weird now seeing yourself at the center of some of these fan edits?
Yeah, it is. It is! I have a sister who’s 10 years younger than me, and I’m not really familiar with TikTok, and she’s sending me fan edits of like Sam and Emma. And I’m just like. ‘This is impressive!’. A: How do you do this? And B: I think it’s just really cute! I think it’s really cool!
You’ve been asked a lot of questions in your recent interviews, but is there anything you want to get out there, either about your own journey or Emma’s journey that you haven’t been able to get out there yet?
Oh my god, that’s such a good question, I’m trying to think. I mean, no – oh my gosh, I don’t know! I think I brought up how collaborative I was just visually with Emma having a spray tan from 1×01 because she was so insecure. I wanted that metaphor of her shedding her insecurity so they shed the spray tan. I don’t know… I just…I don’t think I’ve gotten anything – I mean there’s the ear day, which was wild! No. I don’t think so.
I feel like I’m horrible at answering that question! I feel like I need to share more! I forget! I forget if there’s anything else I want to share about Emma other than she’s my best friend and a crazy, crazy girl!