Charles and Edwin look at each other in Dead Boy Detectives.

‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Stars Reveal What It’s Like to Live Up to Fan Expectations

Dead Boy Detectives, originally created by Neil Gaiman and now appearing in their own Netflix series, is an interesting contradiction: it stars two teenage boys who have been dead longer than many people have been alive. What’s it like to play someone who’s 16 and 123 at the same time?

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We sat down with George Rexstrew, who plays Edwin Payne, and Jayden Revri, who plays Charles Rowland, to talk about the new series. Together with Crystal Palace (Kassius Nelson) and Niko Sasaki (Yuyu Kitamura), George and Edwin solve crimes from beyond the grave and try to come to terms with their own troubled pasts.

Edwin met his untimely end more than a century ago, and that comes out in his character. “One of the things I really enjoy about playing Edwin is the conversation around age,” Rexstrew says. “Because he’s a sixteen year old teenage boy, but he’s also a one hundred and twenty-three year old soul. As an actor, I think there’s a really interesting interplay between those two things. It was a fun challenge, trying to find balance.”

Edwin enjoys a relatively quiet un-life, but that goes out the window when the show begins. “When we first meet Edwin, he’s been working with Charles for thirty plus years,” Rexstrew says. “He knows his routine. He has quite a simple existence, really. He’s a detective, and he’s got a best friend, Charles Rowland. Then Crystal comes in, and she opens the gateway for both boys to really confront their demons … I think it’s a very lovely thing, after all these years, experiencing that change, and ultimately moving towards a version of yourself that’s more authentic and more open.”

Charles, on the other hand, is more of a wild card. “Say you go to a dog walking park,” Revri says. “Charles is that puppy that doesn’t listen to its owner, but you cannot help but go over and see it. That’s Charles. He’s quite an irresistible character. He kind of talks his way out of any situation. Edwin is quite set in his ways, and Charles is the only one who’s able to get him out of those situations, and get him to do things that he wouldn’t normally do.”

But there’s more to Charles than meets the eye. “I think Charles’ journey throughout this series is such a beautiful one,” Revri says. “He shows a lot about what being a teenage boy is like, and how they can put on this brave facade, where realistically inside they might be struggling. I think the chosen family that Charles has with Edwin, Crystal, and Niko brings it out of him, and being able to embody him was such a privilege.”

But what about fan expectations? After all, the Dead Boy Detectives are over 30 years old, having first appeared in the Sandman comics that make up Season of Mists. “When it comes to Neil Gaiman properties, there have always been different iterations of the same thing,” Rextrew says. “This is ours, and we’re really proud of it.”

You can check out the full interview in the video above!

(featured image: Netflix)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>