The unspeakable horrors of the Jewish Holocaust are sometimes relegated to being a distant, grainy, black and white mark left upon world history. The sad truth is that Nazis and their sympathizers continued to spread their hate in living color long after the fall of the Third Reich. In his new Amazon series, Hunters, Executive Producer Jordan Peele has imagined a world where the Nazi reach extends past Europe a finds its way into American government and society, hiding in plain sight. It’s a concept that may sound far fetched, but sadly, Peele didn’t have to work that hard to imagine this reality.
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Hunters takes place in New York in 1977 and a quick query finds evidence of real-life gatherings by Nazis and their supporters taking place in New York, Chicago and Washington D.C. during that time period. In reality, the Nazis often enjoyed police protection at their rallies (and still do). In Hunters, a team of vigilantes take matters into their own hands, tracking down the surviving agents of Adolph Hitler, picking them off one-by-one before they can bring about a Fourth Reich.
Actress Tiffany Boone stars as Roxy Jones, a beautiful but deadly Black woman fixer who is trained in hand-to-hand combat and is best known for getting “stuff done when things go left.” A single mother with allegiances to The Black Panthers, Jones is a complicated character and is a worthy addition to Boone’s resume (The Chi, Southland, Greys Anatomy.)
BET spoke with Boone about working with the legendary Al Pacino, which Beyoncé songs get her in her best fighting mood and the fine line between sweet revenge and vigilante justice.
BET.com: Roxy Jones sounds like a pretty badass woman. Was there a part of her character that you related to more than others?
Tiffany Boone: I don’t love anything more than being a Black woman and she’s so proud of that. In the ‘70s where there was “Black and Proud” and “Black is Beautiful” she really stands in that, and that’s who I am, too. I absolutely relate to that. She has a little bit more attitude than I have on a regular day. She’s a bit tougher than me. I think our morals are the same in that we’re willing to use our voices and whatever it takes for justice to happen for the people we care about and people around us. I feel like that’s the same with both of us.
BET.com: You have a pretty intense fight scene in one episode. How did you prepare for that?
Tiffany Boone: It was less training than I thought it would be. It was my first fight on screen. I only did about two or three training sessions, some boxing training, and then learning the choreography with the stunt double in the scene with me. It was about two or three sessions of just learning that. I’d never boxed so just learning the right positioning for that. I had a stunt double but she only did one full take. And I did everything else myself. I loved it! It really got me interested in doing more stunt work. I just did a Netflix film that George Clooney directed and we did a lot of stunts with that and I think I’m moving into more action stuff because of it.
BET.com: The cast of Hunters is pretty stacked and you’ve got Al Pacino as your group’s leader, Meyer Offerman. What was it like working with him?
Tiffany Boone: It’s a gift. I didn’t know what to expect. He plays pretty hard people. People that are very intimidating. I didn’t know that he would be as sweet, welcoming and warm as he is. I look at it like getting paid to go to acting class every day. Just the amount of knowledge you can learn from watching Al Pacino in a day’s work is insane. He shares so many great stories. If you get him between takes he tells whole stories about what was happening to him in 1977 when the show is set. You get so much knowledge.
BET.com: Your team employs some unorthodox torture methods. If you could play one song on continous loop to torture someone, which would it be?
Tiffany Boone: Oh geez! This is gonna be weird, actually, but I’d use Beyoncé’s “Don’t Hurt Yourself” because it brings a fire out of me that I cannot explain!
BET.com: They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but what’s something you hate to eat cold?
Tiffany Boone: I don’t like to eat anything cold. People eat pizza, fried chicken and Chinese food cold. None of the above. That is disgusting. All of those things should be hot.
BET.com: On a more serious note, Pacino’s character says at one point that “the best revenge is revenge” and yet, the Hunters’ mission feels more like justice. Is there a line between revenge and justice to you?
Tiffany Boone: I think that’s the big question of the show. I don’t know if I have an answer for it and I know the show doesn’t have an answer for it. It’s a really thin line. The line between the good and the bad guys is so thin. In the show, as Roxy, there are a lot of moments where she questions whether or not she’s the good guy anymore. What is she doing this for? Why is she torturing these people? Why is it going this far? Is she actually setting a good example for her daughter? I think we all go in with the best of intentions but there’s a moment where you go ‘I’ve gone too far.’ So, I don’t know. I think that’s for each person to decide.
BET.com: What makes this series so timely despite it taking place in the past?
Tiffany Boone: We’ve seen this all through history and it’s sad to say, I don’t know when it will stop. There are always going to be people who, because of their hatred, are going to attack marginalized groups. We see that happening TODAY. Maybe not on the level of the Holocaust, obviously, but there are genocides happening all around the world right now. People who are trying to erase whole cultures. You see it in this country and other countries. So, it’s very timely. People probably shouldn’t be handling it the way the Hunters do, but we all have a responsibility to do our part to make sure people are protected and that we’re looking for justice in the world. It’s as relevant now as it would have been in the 70s.
BET.com: Did you learn anything new while filming the show?
Tiffany Boone: I knew about Project Paperclip where they brought these Nazis into the U.S. into high levels of government, but there are certain people I didn’t know about. Not to give anything away, but there is a mix of fact of fiction in this show. Some characters I thought were made up, then one of my cast members would say, ‘No, that’s a real person we’re talking about that actually did this thing.’ Then I’d look them up and go, ‘oh my gosh, I thought David [Weil] just made them up!’ The lines are so blurred on what’s fact and what’s fiction--which is really scary--how much of it is true.
BET.com: Since this is an Amazon Prime movie, what’s the longest you’ve kept something in your cart without buying it?
Tiffany Boone: I’m a pretty quick buyer. I don’t like to play those games and hold stuff there. Maybe a couple of days but I’m not that person. I go straight in. I know what I want, I get it, and that’s the end of it.
BET.com: You have a project with Kerry Washington coming up. What can you tell us about it?
Tiffany Boone: Little Fires Everywhere is coming out March 16th and I’m playing the younger version of Kerry Washington’s character, Mea in some flashbacks. So, you kind of see her coming from Pennsylvania to New York and building her art career in New York and the challenges she faces there. I can’t give much more than that, but I can say that I’m such a fan of Kerry and have been for so long. It was such a treat to get to work with her in that capacity and create something everyone is really proud of.
BET.com: Lastly, if Roxy Jones, Foxy Cleopatra and Pam Grier walk into a bar, which one of ya’ll got the best fro?
Tiffany Boone: Pam Grier probably. Roxy’s is pretty good, but Pam Grier is everything and always will be.
Check out Hunters which is streaming now on Amazon Prime.
Photo Credit: Amazon