The intensely violent Cinemax drama series Banshee is bolder and even more ambitious in its third season. With the aftermath of the events of last season bleeding out over everyone, and the dangerous threat of Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers), who’s hell-bent on righteousness, ex-con and master thief Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) is beginning to wonder if it’s all worth it.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, actor Geno Segers talked about what sort of feedback he heard from people about his character, the very pure motivations of Chayton Littlestone, the appeal of the show’s unwavering honesty, that Chayton could have his own spin-off where he becomes the Chief of the Kinaho tribe, just how little he knew about where things would go, when he signed on, and what he personally thinks of his character.
Collider: How do people react to Chayton Littlestone? What sort of feedback do you hear from people?
GENO SEGERS: Those people who are of an activist spirit got Chayton in Season 2, without any help at all. I’ve had a lot of people from the Native American community, who are more of an activist type of person, speak very highly of Chayton. I’ve had people from the African American community say that some of the things that Chayton said to Emmett were so cutting that it changed their perspective on themselves. It’s very interesting when you’re out and about and people come up to you and say what they’ve gotten from the show, and they share what moved them and what they appreciate from the character. They appreciate his honesty, his conviction and his intensity. I’m just gracious and happy to have been a part of bringing him to life.
He’s a very pure character, in his motivations.
SEGERS: He’s very pure. In Season 2, particularly, he felt very justified in the actions that he took and the words that he expressed himself with. He’s very calculated and very intelligent. But Chayton in Season 3 is more dark and more troubled. He’s coming to terms with some of the facts and realizations that he’s not really going to be able to have what he wants, so he’s resolved in taking what he can. When you get to that point, his conviction becomes desperate. He becomes less righteous and more desperate.
Can no one just have a nice, quiet life in Banshee?
SEGERS: Honestly, I think that that’s probably one of the driving factors in its popularity. It’s a very real, very visceral, very honest, and very in-your-face reality. The reaction is often, “Did they go there? Did he just say, ‘These chains belong to you’?” It’s really a matter of smack-you-in-the-face honesty. It’s very cleverly done. Moreover, the honesty that comes off the page, when I read the script for the first time, is unwavering. And then, once it comes to the next step of putting it on film, it takes on a whole new breadth of life and reality. With the instant reality sensation, where we want to be flies on a wall watching something unfold, it’s really close to that. It gives you that feel, when you’re watching the show. I watch the show. I’m a fan, as well. And in watching the show, I realized that I’m watching Chayton. It’s actually me, but I’m not even thinking about it being me. That’s Chayton. I’m often surprised by some of the decisions and choices I’ve made. Invariably, you forget about it because you’re working on other things and doing other things and reading for other parts, and there’s some time and distance between you and the character. And then, when you actually see the work, it’s like, “Wow, I can actually see what was going on in my mind, and I hope that read for everyone else.”
Chayton is such an interesting character, in his own world, that you could easily just keep watching what he goes off to do when we don’t see him.
SEGERS: Absolutely! You could spin off into a Kinaho series where Chayton Littlestone becomes the Chief of the Kinaho. I like that. Are you listening, Cinemax? I’m available. If you have time, let me know. Give me a call!
How much did you know about who this character would be, when you signed on?
SEGERS: Basically, all I knew was that he was the gang leader of the Redbones, he was a Native American, and he had a lot of tattoos. As I was reading the script, I thought, “Is this guy intelligent, or is he just another thug?” I saw quite a bit of intelligence in the writing for this character, in terms of the line of reasoning that he was going down. There was a bit of a question, as to whether I would be myself, vocally, or do something different and make him scary and thug-y. I thought about it and the text was too intelligent for that. I said, “If you want him to be a thug, he can’t be so intelligent. But if you want him to be intelligent, you should allow me to enunciate the words properly.” It was a question, and I think we went the right direction. He’s not just a thug. He is a very intelligent, calculated, smart, moving force that takes Banshee by storm.
What do you think of Chayton Littlestone?
SEGERS: I think of Chayton as a pro-antagonist. He has a good heart, but bad morals for that good intent. He has a great idea, but he’s willing to use any means to get there. He’s that guy.
Banshee airs on Friday nights on Cinemax.