Exclusive Interview: Ivana Milicevic Talks Banshee Season 2, Carrie’s State of Mind, Fight Scenes, and More

Banshee Season 2 (4)

In season one of Cinemax’s Banshee, Ivana Milicevic impressed not only with her subtle and powerful performance but by her kick-ass ability as Carrie Hopewell (formerly Anastasia), a jewel thief, whose family knows nothing of her past.

Now in its second season, Banshee returned with a strong episode last week and Ivana Milicevic is ready to impress once more. I recently got a chance to talk to Milicevic about this second season and what we can expect for Carrie, as well as her fight scenes, who she’d like Carrie to have scenes with, who would win in a fight between her and Hood and more.

Do you refer to her as Carrie or Ana?

Ivana Milicevic: I refer to her as Carrie because Carrie is who had the children.

Season one was insane, the way it ended, and so what’s coming up for Carrie in season two?

Ivana Milicevic: Season two is Carrie ready to talk, ready to spill the beans and nobody will give her the time of day to do it. She’s in the dog house with her family. She’s kind of in the dog house with Lucas because she won’t give him what he wants, and so he’s going to just kind of move on, and at the same time, she really needs Lucas to be there. She’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s safer for you to leave. Go and leave,’ but really, and she knows this, she’s unsafe if he leaves because now she’s got nobody. Especially when she goes to jail, when everything comes down on her.

She’s just trying to get her family back and she’s trying to come clean. She believes that it’ll work. She’s always believing things that aren’t true, I think, believing in possibilities that are more difficult to come to fruition.

What about Hood, where does that stand for her?

Ivana Milicevic: He’s still nothing, but conflicted. She doesn’t want to be with him, but she loves him. It’s still a come here, go away, but her main focus is her family back, because think about it, her own mother died in childbirth. So she wants to have a together family for her kids.

How does that evolve throughout the season because it doesn’t look good at the start?

Ivana Milicevic: No, it’s not looking good. Little by little they open up to her, and she starts to tell Gordon a little more, but that is going to be short lived again. Like, you’ll see. It’s going to be typical Carrie fashion. You’re like, ‘Okay! Aw. Look at the choice she had to make.’

We find out that Rabbit is not dead.

Ivana Milicevic: Not as dead as Carrie would’ve liked, maybe.

How does that come in to play?

Ivana Milicevic: Well, if he’s not dead, then where is he and who’s taking care of him because he’s been hurt pretty badly. By the end of episode four, she’d like to really believe that it’s all good, that they can let bygones be bygones. I also like to think that there might be a subconscious reason why she didn’t kill him all the way because she’s a pretty good shot. She’s a pretty good shot, and I still think it’s difficult to kill your father. So maybe she didn’t kill him as hard as she could have.

To his credit, he’s pretty hard to kill and so is she and so is Hood. They come from some pretty tough stock, but I think that she’s a better shot than that. So I think that something subconscious kept her from finishing him. She might regret that now. She may be regretting that because now she still has to be on pins and needles, but yeah, the Rabbit is still out there.

Why do you think she keeps going back to Job and Sugar and getting involved with heists?

Ivana Milicevic: Now she’s out of money. She’s got no one now. So now it’s about survival, and it’s a small town. Everyone knows what she’s done. So this is pretty much her only recourse. She doesn’t have the kids. She can’t get out of town. She can’t start anew. Gordon is not having that. So that’s kind of all she can do.

There are so many characters on the show. Carrie interacts with a lot of them, but not all of them, like –

Ivana Milicevic: The women.

Or Proctor or Rebecca –

Ivana Milicevic: No, not yet, and that’s what I was saying. Someone asked me what I would like to see happen in season three, and I’m like, ‘I would like to take Rebecca under my wing.’ Get my daughter, Rebecca, and then we’ll just start taking care of business. No. My story’s connected to Hood and my family, a little bit Sugar and Job, which is a lot. Everyone is connected to Hood. It would be kind of interesting. I wonder if that will move out a little bit more. I’ve got a little connection with the BSD because I had them help me take down the Ukrainians at the end of season one. I’m about to pay for it.

Banshee (Cinemax) A Mixture of Madness Episode 10 (2)

In terms of fight scenes, you kick-ass in so many ways.

Ivana Milicevic: I met a woman in Vegas, during the UFC fight and she ran up to me and said, ‘You don’t understand, I fight now because of you.’ She started to take Krav Maga because of that, and I think that’s great. It’s such fun physical exercise, and I don’t really, really, really get hurt like those real fighters. I do get banged up and bruised up pretty bad, but not compared to real fighters. I highly recommend it.

What kind of training do you do most of the fighting on the show?

Ivana Milicevic: I do ninety-five percent of it. If there’s anything that’s very dangerous, where something so bad could happen… they don’t care if I’m tired or bruised, but if something could really happen to me where production would get shut down, they can’t afford that, and that’s fine with me. The way that we shoot our fight scenes is really, really brutal. It’s four cameras. We’re doing the fight over and over and over and over again. It’s not in pieces. It’s not like, ‘Okay, we’ve gotten that section, moving on.’ No. I don’t know if that gives it more life and velocity, shooting it that way. I have no idea, but that’s how we shoot them, and I prepare for them by stunt training early on, fight training.

A lot of the martial arts I’m not interested in. Like, I’m not interested in wrestling. I’m not really interested in UFC because you’ve got to be too close to very sweaty people, and I’m not into that. That’s not my thing, but I love stick fighting like they do in the Philippines. There are these other martial arts and artists popular by name that makes me really excited to go to the dojo every day to train. Then I do regular weightlifting, but that’s more for like shape and strength, but it’s a lot of it.

I asked Antony [Starr] this too, but who do you think would win in a fight again Carrie and Hood?

Ivana Milicevic: I think it would depend on what we were fighting for. Ultimately, he would. He’s a man, but if I was fighting for my family, it would be close. What did he say?

He said he would let you win.

Ivana Milicevic: He’s so great, exactly. That’s perfect. That’s fair.

What’s been the most surprising part so far about being a part of this show?

Ivana Milicevic: How much I like the fighting scenes, and how hard it was to shoot the attempted rape scene in season one. That was really hard for me. That was the hardest day of work that I’ve ever done. We all survived it, but it was really hard. It’s really hard.

What’s the fan reaction been for the show?

Ivana Milicevic: The fans that like the show don’t just like the show, they love the show. They are very enthusiastic about it, and I don’t think there’s anyone that’s on the fence. Like, it’s either not for them, which I could completely understand. We are not out to make a show that’s for everybody. We’d like everyone to like it, but we understand that everyone doesn’t, and so we kind of lose them pretty early, but the fans have been amazing. We have a genre show, and so without the fans, without people like you writing, our show doesn’t exist because it’s not a procedural on CBS. There’s nothing wrong with procedurals on CBS, but that’s not this. You have to really invest in this show to get it. Our fans have watched it more than one time. You probably don’t have to do that because you’re literally watching everything, but our fans, they’re like, ‘I’ve seen it ten times now. I’ve seen it four times.’ They love it and we love them, and we are very grateful for them and we totally know what part they play in this whole thing.

What do you think is so addictive about ‘Banshee’?

Ivana Milicevic: I think the emotional depths that the characters go to, we almost have a harder job making the emotions real on our heightened reality show than you would have on a straight drama because the more grounded we make it, the further we can go with the ridiculousness because people care. So they’re going to be invested and say, ‘Yeah, I know. The bus toppled over and then there was a fight for half a scene.’ Everyone knows that you can’t do that, but if the love is that great and the love of family is that great and the mob is that messed up, then you can believe it. I think the love story, especially in season one, I think there’s not a woman out there that doesn’t want to be loved the way that Lucas Hood loves Ana. No woman, which gets me in trouble because they get upset when I don’t return the affections.

If you could talk to Carrie, what would you tell her?

Ivana Milicevic: Get some therapy, Carrie. My goodness, get into therapy with your kids, Gordon and then do a separate one with Lucas so that you guys can have an amicable break.

Banshee airs on Fridays at 10pm on Cinemax.

Follow me on Twitter @sosandrine and Facebook