From the mind of David Weil and produced by Jordan Peele, Hunters is an absolutely jaw-dropping television experience.
When you think you have a grip on the show — it gleefully (and often violently) pulls the rug right from under you. Set in New York City in 1977, Hunters follows a ragtag group of Nazi hunters determined to bring the remaining members of the Third Reich to justice by any means necessary.
Gorgeously crafted and produced, the Amazon Prime series follows 19-year-old Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerner), who gets swept into the Hunters club when his beloved grandmother Ruth (Jeannie Berlin) is murdered.
Led by millionaire and Holocaust survivor Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino), the Hunters consists of former MI6 agent Lonny Flash (Josh Radner), Sister Harriet (Kate Mulvaney), weapons experts Mindy and Murray Markowitz (Carol Kane and Saul Rubinek), Vietnam vet, Joe Mizuhshima (Louis Ozawa), and the badass afro-wearing Roxy Jones (Tiffany Boone).
Before sliding on Roxy’s shades, Boone was known for her role as Jerrika Little on the hit Showtime series, The Chi. Boone exited the show after Season 2 when her work environment became increasingly unsafe. Boone spoke with The Knockturnal about Hunters, her rapidly expanding resume, and why she will always speak her truth.
“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” the Baltimore-born actress explained when she first learned about Hunters. “I read it and thought, ‘Wow, I’ve never read anything like this. There’s so much happening. There are so many interesting characters.’ I had no idea how they would make it all happen, but I was interested in seeing how it would go down and I thought it really had a message. I knew it was going to start a dialogue and that’s the kind of work that I like to be a part of. I was just like, ‘Yeah, let’s just see where this ride takes us.'”
In Hunters, from her glistening fro to her “don’t play with me” attitude, Roxy is very much her own woman. Boone was inspired by so many outstanding Black women of the era to help bring her character to life. “For the audition, I came in with the Afro wig,” she recalled. I knew she had to have an Afro. I was deeply inspired by women who were a part of the Black Power movement in the Southeast. I was inspired by Angela Davis and Assata Shakur and Elaine Brown. I was thinking about Blaxploitation films — the feeling of that. Between the creators and myself, we kind of found a place that made sense for her. She always just seemed like she should be really cool to me. In addition to all of my research for Roxy, I watched a ton of documentaries. I mean I’m still watching this stuff. I watched The Devil Next Door the other day about alleged Nazi living in America in the ’80s — it was a lot of research for all of us.
Though Hunters has a lot of buzz, the series is getting some heat from the critics who are accusing it of blending fact with fiction. Boone wants people to understand the intent behind the show. “David Weil, who is our show creator, was inspired to write the show because of the stories of his grandmother, who was a Holocaust survivor,” she explained. “This is kind of a love letter to her and the other survivors. A lot of the stories, they’re fictionalized. Obviously, you can’t imagine the brutality of the Holocaust. However, there would be characters that I thought that David created that later we’d be on set, and I’d find out it was a real person. There was a real Nazi who was living in America. Then other characters were completely fictionalized. I think all of us should strive to do as much research as we could, mostly just to honor the stories of the victims and survivors. We can’t go in blindly playing around with this; this a weighted subject, and these people really deserve our respect.”
With such an expansive cast — including 12 series regulars, recurring characters, and a slew of guest stats — we don’t begin to unpack who Roxy is until Episode 5. “I think that’s when you get to know more about Roxy’s background, and from that point on in the season, that’s when Roxy starts to open up a little bit more,” the Little Fires Everywhere actress recalled.
Without the confines of a network, Hunters really goes there when it comes to the dialogue,acts of violence, and depictions. At times, even Boone was astounded. “Some of the flashbacks really shocked me, but I’m not in those flashbacks, and I haven’t seen them,” she revealed. “So I’m guessing they are probably just as shocking watching. But there is a one torture scene that I’m a part of that did shock me and even while we were filming it, my mouth was wide open. I think you’ll know it when you see it for sure.”
Up next, as she glides into a new chapter of her career, The Following alum is simply taking it all in. “I want to continue to play people that are different,” she reflected. “I don’t want to play the same character over and over again. I want to continue to show the breadth of all Black women are; we are not one thing. I think we’re moving to the space where we can really show all the colors of who we are. So I want to continue to be a part of that. I want to continue to be a part of projects that I think are starting conversations in the world and really have something to say. I hope in my career that I continue to be a voice for little Black girls like me and for other women of color. I’m some perfect person, by any means. However, I try to be super honest about who I am and what I believe in. I want to continue to do that and hopefully inspire other women in the industry, and outside the industry, and men and whomever to just speak their truth, do what’s best for them, do what makes them happy and not be afraid of taking chances.”
More than that — Boone has had a particular project at the forefront of her mind that she’d love to bring to life. “I want to do Tammi Terrell—about her and Marvin Gaye’s relationship. They didn’t have a romantic relationship like people think, but they had a very close relationship, and I want to do that… I want to do it with Marque Richardson, but he doesn’t want to play Marvin Gaye,” she laughed. “I’ve been putting that little bird in his ear for a long time, but I’ll keep trying.”
Season 1 of Hunters is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Aramide A. Tinubu is a film critic, consultant and entertainment editor. As a journalist, her work has been published in EBONY, JET, ESSENCE, Bustle, The Daily Mail, IndieWire and Blavity. She wrote her master’s thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger, and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can find her reviews on Rotten Tomatoes or A Word With Aramide or tweet her