Marvin Milk, who The boys fans affectionately known as Mother’s Milk or MM, has been on quite the journey throughout the series. We’ve seen him wrestle with his decisions to get revenge, go through morality battles with Butcher, and parse out the intricacies of PTSD. The third season takes her to a dark place with the secrets of her past resurfacing both literally and figuratively. Her story contains some extraordinary elements, but the heart of her emotional and family journey is grounded in reality and resonates with many viewers. Laz Alonso embodies MM to perfection, delivering the angst, righteous rage and frustration of betrayal. And, because of him, MM is attached to our hearts forever. nerdist caught up with Laz Alonso to talk about MM’s t-shirt collection on The boysYouTube hair tutorials, generational trauma, and her hopes for season four.
Nerdist: MM’s t-shirts and overall style deserve more praise. Are these shirts from your wardrobe or do you work with a stylist on set?
Laz Alonso: I work with our appearance costume coordinator, the head of the costume department, and each episode we choose a shirt that thematically encompasses what MM is going through and where we are in the story. We’ve always done bands and artists and this season we started doing songs as well. For example, we did “This is America” by Childish Gambino. … We’ve been shouting out to DMX and the Ruff Ryders this season. The one from DMX is in the episode where I knock out Todd. This [moment] was declarative. And we wanted to have this shirt at a time when MM shows a moment of reclaiming his family and his control. We have tried to be as methodical as possible in choosing matching shirts [the] intensity level.
It’s interesting that you raised MM and his family. One of the main themes of this season is the family and more particularly fatherhood. And MM has been through a lot with dealing with family deaths and stuff this season. Can you say more about the catharsis and accomplishments that came from its screenplay?
It was cathartic to be honest with you, you know, the relationship between [MM] and he and his father felt guilty for how he had contributed to his grandfather’s death. And, his level of wanting to protect his daughter from the trauma he experiences every day. He didn’t want to convey that. The way MM decided not to pass on the generational trauma is to protect and hide it.
And the problem with that is that he also hides his family background. And he hides where it comes from. You have to know where you come from to know where you are going. Knowledge itself is everything. And I think this season is where he realized that where he’s from and his family history is actually [him and his daughter’s] sense of power, not something they shouldn’t run away from.
Absolutely. And it happens so often, especially with black families. There are often family secrets and sometimes they surface and cause harm.
Yes! This generation is currently doing everything in their power to break the generational curses. Yes absolutely. I think MM was trying to break the curse by omission. And that’s not always the best way to break it. But I’m proud of some moments that you know we added to the script to really show that father-daughter relationship, like when he braids her.
Any black father raising his daughter needs to learn how to do his hair. Whatever your macho man card is, you need to put it aside. You know, because you have a daughter now. With this scene, they sent me wigs and these fake heads to my apartment in Toronto. And I was on YouTube, learning how to braid hair. They sent me barrettes and hair ties and all kinds of things. It was wild.
And you did a great job! I love how it all ends this season, because MM seems to be in a good place not only with his family, but also with most of the Boys collective. What are your hopes for him in season four?
I think in season four there will definitely be a lot more work with Starlight. They have become a friendship that we didn’t see coming and work very well together. She has the powers and he has the brains and detective skills. I think she also sort of evolved into the “MM whisperer” because she can talk to him from the ledge when he’s about to do something crazy. And that’s pretty much what MM does for Butcher. So having him in the team is really a big plus, because we have another supe. And it’s important to have someone else on the team now who he trusts.
I think the level of trust between MM and Buchter deteriorated after he teamed up with Soldier Boy. Butcher was the only person from The Boys who knew of his history with Soldier Boy. This tension between them needs to be resolved.
To see their relationship fall apart this season was a lot. But I like the way MM always keeps his spirits up compass intact. At this point, I can imagine it’s really hard to be shocked by anything that happens on set or in this series. But is there anything that happened this season that made you go, “Wow, that’s crazy?”
Episode six. I did not expect that. And when I read the script, I didn’t interpret it as I had to. I didn’t think it was going to be a human fluid. I thought it was going to be something else. And I learned the hard way what it meant to “throw a rope” that day.
Oh my God. We got a great screenshot though and put it on social media for everyone to see.
Yeah, I bet you did! I want to remind everyone that this was a very thick hand sanitizer. That’s all it is. You know, the funny thing is, all my fans were more worried about my Jordans… I would post a pic of her and most of the comments were about my shoes.
It’s hilarious. One last question for you, Laz. What did you learn about yourself playing MM?
I learned that I am very good at getting into character but, until now, I had never seriously thought about the importance of getting out of it. [of character]. I don’t live a toxic, stressful life. I do everything in my power to eliminate toxicity, be it from people, things, situations and I do my best to be as zen as possible. But to achieve those very honest moments on screen, you have to embrace that energy. I must get angry. And this character is very stressed, and very reassembled. And so in this next phase of my career, I’m going to try to learn not to take that energy. This is not mine. I’m going to be super, super vigilant and learn to leave this character on set.