The intensely violent Cinemax drama series Banshee is promising a bolder and even more ambitious third season. With the aftermath of the events of last season still looming over them, and an even more dangerous threat in town with Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) hell-bent on righteousness, ex-con and master thief Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) discovers the possibility of a huge but highly risky big-money heist and must re-enlist Carrie (Ivana Milicevic), Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar (Frankie Faison) to help him pull it off.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, actor Antony Starr talked about how the third season of the always ambitious show is maybe the most ambitious yet, the great response they’ve gotten for the previous seasons, the team dynamic, what sort of trouble Chayton Littlestone will be causing, maintaining the anchor of the show around the drama and characters, and where things are at with Lucas’ n love life this season. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: Do the physical demands of this show get any easier?
ANTONY STARR: I am 100% committed to saying that it is no easier. It is maybe harder. This season is huge. It’s always been a very ambitious show, and this season is maybe more ambitious than the seasons we’ve already made. It’s wild. It really is. But it’s very rewarding, as well. There are more action sequences, and the fact that we do a lot of them ourselves means that the audience is watching me, nine times out of ten. It makes it satisfying for the audience and for us, to know that that’s us up there. It’s intense, but it’s worth it. Just when you think you need a break or you want a break, the foot seems to go harder on the gas and we go even more. It’s pretty relentless, but it’s been great. Jonathan [Tropper] has managed to balance it out, with the drama still being the focal point or anchor for the show, so that it really does have a very balanced feel.
How did you feel about Season 2 and the way everything played out?
STARR: The very end of Season 2 was very interesting with Deva coming and saying, “Hi, dad.” It’s been interesting, delving into that in Season 3. Season 2 played pretty well. The response was really good. We definitely elevated the show from Season 1. We’re working our asses off out there, so it’s really nice to have some positive fan response. Especially for Season 2, our fan base grew. So, as far as how it played and the response that we’ve had, it’s been great.
What was it like to do that big shoot-out in the church, at the end of Season 2?
STARR: That was crazy, wasn’t it?! It was cool. We shot that in a church in Harlem, New York. We had to make our own pews to tear apart with gunfire. It was crazy. We had about six days of shooting squeezed into about three days. We really pushed the envelope. It was great to have a finale that not only had those big action sequences, but also tied the loose threads and dove back into the history and the backstory of the characters, and dovetailed those things together. It was a nice, fitting end to the Rabbit storyline. It was time for that storyline to go the way that it went. We had two good seasons with that, as a significant plotline. For the show to evolve, we can’t just keep hanging onto the old. We’ve gotta come up with some new stuff, and we certainly do in Season 3.
How was it to add Fat Au (Eddie Cooper) to the mix, with Lucas, Carrie, Sugar and Job, and how challenging is it to bring in someone new in a way that works?
STARR: It was fun. It’s like when one of the Beatles gets a girlfriend and tries to hang out. If you try to force your way in, it doesn’t really work. It’s a casting thing, and it’s also about creating that character that finds its way into that group harmoniously. It also depends on how much they have to do with that group. He seemed to fit in fairly smoothly, and that’s up to the writing, as well. A character like Fat Au doesn’t need anything from us. Everything that he gives us is a gift. He’s not reliant on us. It’s not a buddy film with him as half of the buddy equation. You can slot people like him in fairly easily, take them out and reintroduce them at a later point.
What can we expect from Lucas Hood’s interactions with Chayton Littlestone, this season?
STARR: Violence, in a nutshell. He’s a beast. Try rolling around on the ground and fighting with him. It’s awful. He’s hugely strong. The challenge when we fight is to get around the potential repetition that can come up from two people fighting, over and over. I don’t think you can go around too many times with the same people fighting each other without it becoming a little bit boring. One of the challenges has been making each fight fresh, and coming up with a new approach to each fight. We also want to tease that out and put some good dramatic beats in between. We’re very lucky that Jonathan is very open to the cast having ideas, or myself, anyway. I’ve come in with a couple of ideas for Geno [Segers] and I to work with, through the season, that he’s taken and run with. We’ve got some pretty cool scenes together.
Inevitably, there is repetition in TV. It’s just the nature of the beast. It’s just the way it goes. There has to be an element of repetition for TV to do what it does, which is create addicts. You want people to be addicted to your show, and the way to get people addicted is not to give it to them once, but to give it to them a few times, until they get on board with it. It’s just about finding that balance of the necessary repetition and making the things that are repetitive absolutely necessary while keeping everything else fresh. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of fight scenes in the show, and we don’t want to become a brawny action show with nothing else. One of the most important things is to maintain the anchor of the show around the drama and the character stuff. The bones of the show are the characters and the story. The action is what it is. It’s the bells and whistles. If you take the action out, you still have a show. But if you take the drama and the characters out, you don’t have a show. You just have action. That really, in a nutshell, shows you where we should be putting the emphasis.
Lucas Hood does not have the best track record with women. Where is he at with his love life, this season?
STARR: The beginning of Season 3 is interesting because he’s in a relationship with Deputy Kelly, and for the first time in about 16 or 17 years, there’s no threat to his life. He’s slightly under threat because he’s living a double life, but there’s nothing really going on, immediately. He’s in a state of relative calm, which is a new state to be in. We really wanted to play around with that and see what felt right and how far we could go with that, toying with very seemingly mundane ideas. For this character, the idea of just moving in together, or something like that, is very normal stuff, but normal is extraordinary because he’s got such a heightened existence. So, it was really interesting to play around with that. But inevitably, when things are going good, we have to make them go bad. It’s a pre-requisite in drama, on any show, to break what’s good and fix what’s bad. It’s just one of those things. He’s never going to be a happy chap. You often find that with leads of shows. They’re not happy. There aren’t many shows where the lead is like, “Yeah, I’m a happy guy.” There’s no conflict in that. There’s no drama. You don’t really have a show. It would be a boring character on a boring show. So, as much as the conflict can be difficult to navigate, it’s an essential part of the show.
Banshee returns for Season 3 to Cinemax on January 9th.