Exclusive interview with Antony Starr
May, 2013 | The mid-season brought us the exciting new action show "Banshee" on Cinemax this year. The show focuses on Lucas Hood, played by Antony Starr. Hood is released from prison after 15 years and while looking for the love of his life, his former accomplice Ana, he ends up as the new sheriff in the quirky small town called Banshee. We had the opportunity to talk to the star of the show, Antony Starr, about his work on "Banshee" and to ask him a few questions on aspects of the special style and effects of the show and on the development of the storyline in season 1.
1. Lucas Hood on "Banshee" is your first TV role in the US. What was it about the character that got you hooked?
From the moment I read the pilot script and saw the names involved it was a no brainer. The script was interesting, fun and original and immediately distinguishable as something unique and with massive potential.
2. In the first half of the season we had fun watching Lucas as this rad, cool, tough guy who would lunge into a fight and never give in no matter his opponent. But it was Ep. 1x06 that we viewers could finally unleash our love for the guy. The moment when you could add the new layer of vulnerability to your portrayal. How important was that for you and the development of the character?
Interestingly I never saw it like that. While I agree episode six shows Lucas younger and less world weary/wary and streetwise, I would say that Lucas is vulnerable right off the bat from the first episode. We see him struggle to come to terms with what is left of his life fresh out of prison (confronting Carrie in the backyard). In episode two he has intimacy with Deva towards the end of the episode. These are two examples but there are many more if you look. We wanted Lucas to feel human and not comic character. Obviously the show is heightened but there is an emotional reality that we wanted to reflect in the characters.
3. To dart for the exposed position of assuming someone else's identity to become sheriff is something of a bold move for an ex-con. Did that sort of set the tone for the whole show, to enjoy the ride and not take it too seriously?
Yes for sure. once you accept that notion, that someone could pull that off, you accept the heightened reality of the show and what happens within the world is accessible and entertaining rather than excessive and or dangerous
4. Did you do some research on people who spent a long time in prison? What does this background mean for Lucas in his attempt to live and work in Banshee now that it turns out a little more longterm?
I researched various aspects of character, long term effects of prison of course being a part of that. A lot of the show is about Lucas coming to terms with his place in the world and finding a way to get through what is going on internally as well as externally. Lucas lives in the moment and deals with things as they come up. Long term vision is not a strong suit...
5. You often said love has been Lucas' anchor all the way. And there is this riveting love scene at the end of Ep. 1x07 in which all the bottled-up feelings were slowly but surely released. But the bottom line is Ana abandoned Lucas 15 years ago and sold him out to Rabbit when he came back. I'm not sure if we're really encouraged to root for them. What do you think?
I have always thought Lucas got the rough end of the stick-whatever way you cut it. The guy gave up his life for his love and has become a distant (violent) version of the man he once was. He has no one and nothing. Ana does what she thinks is right to survive and protect her kids, but ultimately I think Lucas got the raw deal out of the two.
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6. In most of the violent scenes we see the actual actor doing the stunts and you are known to have taken one or two blows during shooting. On Twitter you even measured it in terms of you having been beaten up "most" in Ep. 1x06. Do you think the fact that the violence on the show is "handmade" helps in its reception by the audience?
The bumps and knocks are a part of it I guess. Not a pleasant part, but if you throw yourself around and play fight with large men you will get a bruise or two. I think seeing the actor in the fights and stunts lends a credibility that you don't always get with tv. It feels more authentic and allows the editors to cut the show with more scope. They are not as bound by camera angles and keeping stunt faces out of the shot. Also the actors are generally rougher, less technical and less polished than the stunt guys which lends itself to the style of this show well.
7. Greg Yaitanes said in an interview "The intimacy of fighting is evoking some sort of emotional connection. The fact that it's so intimate, Lucas craves that." Might that be one of the reasons the show also appeals to a huge female audience, the emotionality in the graphic scenes?
Possibly but I think Greg refers to a different kind of intimacy. The kind of intimacy when you knife someone as opposed to shooting them. Up close and personal. I am not sure what women think at the best of times (joke) and I am not going to speculate as to whether or not they like that aspect of the fight scenes but I think the fact that there is a man who has fought for his life and love and continues to deal with things in a hands on, less diplomatic approach has a definite appeal. Someone that takes care of business and is unafraid seems to be attractive I think.
8. We had a glimpse of the real Lucas's son and there's gonna be Agent Jim Racine (Zeljko Ivanek) and Rabbit's brother (Julian Sands) in season 2. What do you expect from these characters?
Trouble and great performances.
9. You can probably not say much about season 2 but are you going to explore the dangerous but extremely entertaining relationship between Lucas and Procter? And please tell us Job will feel the need to work by Lucas' side a lot?
Correct I cannot say much but those relationships serve the show so well and will be explored further in the next season but surprise elements also serve the show and we never know who's coming or going from week to week...
10. Which was your favorite scene or episode and who was your favorite villain in season 1?
I loved ep 6. The collision of past and present being so prominent and the way it all played out worked for me. The Albino was an odd and great villain and Wicks was a great lovable screw up. I like that when he was killed in the end it was a questionable move on Lucas' part. Less clean cut than other acts of violence... to me at least...
11. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about U.S. television shows, do you have one or more favorite show(s)?
"The Wire", "Deadwood", "Breaking Bad", "Mad Men", "Game of Thrones", "Boardwalk Empire", Teletubbies.
Thank you, Antony, good luck with season 2 and your future projects!
Nicole Oebel - myFanbase
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