The cast and producers of Hunters, Amazon's upcoming revenge thriller series, appeared at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Tuesday to preview the hyper-stylized show about Nazi-hunters in 1977 New York City. Stars Al Pacino, Logan Lerman, and Jerrika Hinton and executive producers and co-showrunners David Weil and Nikki Toscano talked about the show's superhero influences and contemporary resonance.
Hunters takes a unique approach to its subject matter, turning what could have been handled solemnly into a superhero origin story, with strong influences from Batman and Spider-Man (as well as Inglourious Basterds). Weil, who created the series, said that his grandmother was a Holocaust survivor, and the stories she would tell him about her experiences felt like comic book and superhero stories to him, a grand struggle of good and evil with horrors that were hard to comprehend as a boy living on Long Island.
"That became the lens through which I began to see the stories of the Holocaust," Weil explained. "And as I got older and became a student of the Holocaust and my grandmother's story, those poppy colors began to desaturate. I began to see the stark, depraved moments of what happened. And I think you'll see the show toes these different tonal lines that explores the kind of wish-fulfillment, comic book superhero of it all, and then the very sobering, reverential portrayal of life in the camps."
Weil describes the show as a love letter to his grandmother, who told him stories of the Holocaust when he was young. "As I got older I struggled with that feeling of birthright," he said. "What was my responsibility now to continue her story? So many Holocaust survivors are no longer with us, and that community is growing smaller and smaller by the year."
Weil said the show is also "a quest to don that vigilante cape in the face of the rising anti-Semitism in the world." And it was also fueled by desire to create a sense of catharsis for how he felt when he was a boy. He wanted to see a superhero who looked like him reclaiming power from the people who had perpetrated such heinous crimes on the Jewish people. As Al Pacino's Bruce Wayne-like character, Meyer Offerman, says, "the best revenge is revenge."
Hunters premieres Friday, Feb. 21 on Amazon Prime Video.