Exclusive Interview: Antony Starr Talks Banshee Season 2, Hood’s Real Name & More

You might have come to know the talented Antony Starr as Lucas Hood in Cinemax’s Banshee, when the show premiered last year. And now the show and Starr are back for a second season, which is shaping out to be even more intense than the first one (you can read my review here).

I got a chance to interview Starr about the second season of Banshee and ask him about what is coming up for Hood, his relationship with Carrie and other characters on the show, what Hood’s real name is, the season 2 finale and much more.

Let’s talk about the mysterious Lucas Hood, or the person who took over identity of Lucas Hood. Do you know what his real name is?

Antony Starr: I don’t, no. The name is a secret and hopefully will remain a secret. I think it’s a little bit of a nod toward the no name stranger of old.

Do you want to know what it is?

Antony Starr: No, not as much as other people seem to. I think it becomes a point of fascination. I don’t really feel the need to know, and I love the fact that we don’t know that. I think it’s kind of cool to have a slightly mysterious background going on. I think it gives it an otherness, and as soon as we have a name, like John… I remember in ‘Sex in the City,’ I think Mr. Big became John in the end, and it was like, ‘Now he’s just John,’. Before he was Mr. Big and something of an enigmatic quality to it, and it just sort of evaporates with John. So I quite like it.

In terms of his past, how much do you know? Have you been told more than what we know or have seen?

Antony Starr: Yeah, we’ve been told more than what’s been shown and that will get revealed as the series progresses, but some of it has been made up as well, as the show deepened and we got different people involved and different ideas come up from everyone’s creative input. So the depth and breadth of the characters and their back stories is in a constant state of evolution and growth, but we did have a lot hitting in, like Jonathan [Tropper] had really fleshed these characters out pretty well. So we sort of latched on to what he provided, and then extended on it ourselves. It’s great. It’s a really collaborative process which is fantastic.

At the end of the first season, we’re not sure if his cover was going to be blown. What can you tease about what’s coming up?

Antony Starr: Well, I was in the same boat. At the end of season one, I was like, ‘Wow, we’ve played a lot of cards,’ and I didn’t expect that. I didn’t see that coming. I remember talking to Jonathan about it, going, ‘Good luck getting us out of that,’ because we were in such a deep hole. Then they came back and they created a character, Agent Racine, who comes in and not only sort of, in my eyes, believably, cleans up a lot of the mess, but also presents a massive new threat to all of the characters, really shakes the cage.

We were lucky enough to get Zeljko [Ivanek] and he played the part of Agent Racine, and he’s quite a big part of the season, but it really is a continuation of what’s going on in season one, toward the end, but also an evolution in that the show is bigger and better and much more well constructed and enjoyable in season two, I think. I think it’s like the big brother of season one.

What was the difference in your approach to Lucas Hood from season one to season two?

Antony Starr: I think the shift in emphasis between season one and season two for character, being very introspective in season one and really focused on getting what’s his as opposed to season two, really focusing outwards on other people. That’s a fundamental shift from where the character is coming from. As far as approaching it from an acting perspective, it’s more of as we go and the ideas around the character and the show evolve, I’ve got to keep up with that.

It’s like anything, the further on you go, you put all that experience…it becomes accumulated and you sort of carry it with you wherever you go. You’re doing more of the same, learning more about the character the whole time and it’s been really enjoyable to sort of uncover different sides of Lucas through season two, and season three sounds like it’s shaping up to go even deeper.

How does Lucas’s relationship with Carrie evolve?

Antony Starr: They’re kindred spirits and they will always be connected in some way, especially because they have a daughter together. So there’s always going to be a connection and they’re always going to be drawn together, and of course being that it’s drama they can never be together. So that whole Shakespearean star-crossed lovers that can never be together sort of thing, that has to be a part of the show. That’s really the anchor of season one. Whilst there’s a lot of action, a lot of violence and all of that, it’s anchored in a love story.

I think that makes it much more accessible to a wider range of people because it has that dramatic side going to it. It’s not just straight action. As far as where they’re going to go, they both have different wants and needs out of their lives, and if they can’t be together, like I say, they’ll always be connected and there will always be a push and pull in their relationship that keeps them in each other’s worlds, as much as they want to be out of it. They can’t get rid of each other that easily. You can’t escape your past, and their present is so intrinsically linked with their past that there’s no escaping it. There’s no easy walk away, as we see in season two.

What about Deva?

Antony Starr: That sort of bubbles away in season two, but a lot of it is the responsibility that is internally taken on by Lucas, in terms of having to stay. At the end of season one, he’s got a second chance to make right what was wrong. In the first series, he was very focused about himself and what he needed, and now it’s about the needs of others and they need protection. So that makes it harder for him to leave. There’s so much story in the show that it becomes difficult to tell all of it and keep up with all of it and serve the greater needs of the show and the audience. That story is kept alive through season two, and I think will feature heavily towards the end of the season.

What about new relationships for Hood?

Antony Starr: Like I said about Carrie and Lucas, inevitably they are star-crossed lovers that can’t be together. So them not being together closes the door on that, to a certain extent, and with any door that closes another one opens. And of course there’s other avenues for Lucas’s romantic needs to go down.

What about Rebecca and Proctor, how does that relationship evolve?

Antony Starr: That’s a very twisted relationship. There’s something about it that makes it disgusting and hypnotic at the same time. It’s kind of like watching shows about Nazis or sharks. So it’s kind of one of those awful relationships that you really want to deepen and see how deep the rabbit hole goes. That all develops. It’s all in an evolving state in season two.

Looking at Job and Sugar, they have a different dynamic with Hood. Why does Hood continue to do those odd jobs with them?

Antony Starr: I think there’s an element of adrenaline and a need for that kind of excitement in your life. He’s a bit of a restless spirit and I think that those people gravitate towards putting themselves in positions where there are a threat. I think there’s a part of him that needs that adrenaline rush, that needs the thrill of the chase as well as the financial gains that they get.

I don’t think that Lucas is planning on calling in on the pension, a plan that may be available through being a police person. Inevitably they’re crooks. That’s what they do. These aren’t educated people that went through university and then came out the end of it with a nice big degree and a good job. They are people that hustled and came off the streets and came from checkered backgrounds, and that’s what they do.

At the end of season one, Lucas Hood’s son sees a video of you fighting online. Does that come into play this season?

Antony Starr: Jason, yeah. At the end of the first season, he sort of pops up as something. He might be a surprise contestant in season two. He pops up and inevitably that threat of exposure is almost realized, and he really presents a whole new set of unwanted issues for Lucas. That’s something, putting yourself in that position, he’s going to have to be able to deal with those issues coming up, and he deals with it in a fairly unexpected way, I’d say.

You’ve already shot the finale for season two. Is it going to be as big as the first season?

Antony Starr: It’s bigger. It makes the end of season one like a couple of kids playing around. It’s crazy. We went out with quite a bang at the end of season one, but this…I think that everyone will be very satisfied with where it goes to. The great thing about the finale is that it’s action packed and it is really quite explosive and really from a shear adrenalized point of view, it’s spectacular, but then everything is happening because of story and character. So it’s dramatically really satisfying as well, which for a show like ours, you can’t really ask for much more.

We know that Hood can fight pretty much everybody, and we know that Carrie can fight too. So if they were to face off, who do you think would win?

Antony Starr: I think Lucas would let Carrie win. I think Carrie’s pretty tough, but I think ultimately Lucas wouldn’t go there, like down to the death. So I think he’d let her win. So she’d win, but it might be allowed. Ivana [Milicevic] would say, ‘Yeah, Carrie would win.’

If you could talk to Lucas Hood, what would you tell him?

Antony Starr: I wouldn’t say anything. I would be quickly in a cab going the other way.[smiles]

Banshee returns tonight for its second season at 10pm on Cinemax.

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