The Cinemax drama series Banshee is wrapping up its second season (and thankfully has already been picked up for a third), as Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), an ex-con and master thief who has assumed the identity of the town sheriff, continues to attempt to find a balance between his own criminal activities and solving crimes in a town with more bad elements than any one person can keep track of. It’s intense, violent and bad-ass, but it’s also one of the most fun roller-coaster rides on television. The show also stars Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen, Frankie Faison, Hoon Lee, Rus Blackwell, Matt Servitto, Demetrius Grosse, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Lili Simmons, Antony Ruivivar and Odette Annable.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, actress Ivana Milicevic talked about how tough this show was to shoot, how she feels Banshee Season 2 compared to Season 1, what it’s been like to hear feedback from fans, what this season has been like for her character, whether Carrie can ever get back on track with her kids, whether Carrie is conflicted between Gordon and Lucas anymore, the complicated relationship between Carrie and Rabbit, and what the prison scenes were like to shoot. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
IVANA MILICEVIC: Season 2 was probably a mix of both. Season 1 was so exciting. Everything we were doing was so exciting and new. We were like, “I can’t believe we’re doing this! Let’s do this!” And with Season 2, it was like, “Oh, we’re doing it again. Okay, we’re gonna go bigger.” The bigger was born from deeper storylines. I was more exhausted at the end of Season 2 than I was with Season 1. At the end of Season 1, when I went home, I was in shock. I think I had post-traumatic stress. At the end of Season 2, I was prepared for that, so I didn’t go home right away. I stayed in New York a little longer and did some publicity stuff there, and just hung out with my friends.
How did this season feel to shoot, compared to the first season? Did you easily slip right back into it, or did you have to find your footing again?
MILICEVIC: When I first came back, I was like, “What’s happening? What’s going on? I don’t remember anything.” Also, when we were doing the first season, no one had anything to lose. We were just going gang-busters on this little TV show that was the underdog. We were just like, “We’ll see what happens.” And then, we had some success, so you want to hold onto that, if not make it bigger. There was more stress, on everyone’s part, because you want to make good on that. At the end of the day, it’s still a business that has to grow. And with the big gap, you’re like, “Ugh!,” but we got back into it really quickly.
Before this show started, you were initially worried about how the female audience might react to it. When did you start getting feedback from female fans, and what have they said to you about the show?
MILICEVIC: The first people that came up to me that had seen it, I was actually at a funeral and this older couple ran up to me and were like, “We love Banshee!” That was good news to me. I knew young people would like it. I knew guys who like violence would like it. But the amount of ladies, of all ages – from young girls to grandmas – are on Twitter talking about it. Even though our show has a lot of sexuality in it, the women are still very, very strong, and it really is on their own terms. I think that’s what’s speaking to the women. I was very curious about that. I think women might have shown up for the love story, but it might speak to something in their hearts where they’re like, “Yeah, I like sex, and I want to be tough.” Not every woman is going to go out and kick butt, but they want to see other women doing it.
The women on this show get in fights, but also don’t need a man to come rescue them.
MILICEVIC: That’s the thing. And Antony Starr is so awesome that, especially in the first season, he had no problem with being rescued. He was mixing it up. That takes a really strong man, to be able to be cool with that.
At this point, can Carrie turn off her criminal side and go back to just being a mother?
MILICEVIC: I hope not. I want Carrie to be that woman who can have it all. She’s a criminal and a mother.
MILICEVIC: She wanted to come clean, and no one would listen to her. In her head, she doesn’t believe it’s beyond repair. She just feels like, “If you knew my circumstances, you would understand.” She feels really misunderstood, and she just wants her family back. I believe she can fix it, at least for a little while. The pendulum has come to rest. She can never be fully Carrie again, and she can never be fully Ana again. It’s something in between. You can’t take away that she’s a mother, and you can’t take away who she really is, in her DNA. I hope she comes up with a way to live a less secret double life.
How challenging will it be for her to get back on track with her kids?
MILICEVIC: I think that’s going to be the big emotional battle for the end of the season. Max doesn’t seem to mind. He just loves his momma, no matter what, but he’s scared. And Deva is cut from the same cloth. Maybe thievery is in the blood. Or maybe when you discover that about your mother, and you’re so angry, you’re like, “Oh, is this what it’s like?” You want to get in there to see what it feels like.
Is she conflicted between Gordon and Lucas anymore?
MILICEVIC: I think she knows what she has to do. Lucas is always going to be the father of one of her children. They’re always going to have that. And he’s still somebody that knows her better than anyone else. But, she can’t have both. At this point, she should be like, “I don’t want either of you. Forget you guys. You’ve both failed me.” It’s just complicated.
MILICEVIC: That’s hard to say. I love Ben Cross so much that I loved that he was back. It’s so fun to have him, I just didn’t know how much more Ukranian mob story we could do. But, it’s not my job to decide that. I like to think that she didn’t kill him as hard as she could have because something subconscious in her still didn’t want to shoot her father. It was like, “Okay, I’ll kill you enough, and then, if you die, you die. I hope you die. You’re not dead. Crap, I wish you’d died. But, I guess I’m glad I didn’t kill you.” It’s her father, no matter how bad he is. That’s conflicting.
What was it like to shoot the prison scenes?
MILICEVIC: I loved them because I got to wear those comfortable prison clothes. And I enjoy doing scenes where I don’t wear make-up and I can be raw. I like that. I feel like it’s easier to act. When I have to have make-up on, I feel like I’m expected to look a certain way, and then it’s harder to act because I’m more self-conscious.
Banshee airs on Friday nights on Cinemax.