Cinemax's action series "Banshee" is a shotgun loaded with sex, violence and bad behavior, but star Ivana Milicevic sees something sweeter in all the darkness: love.
"I grabbed onto this understanding of loving desperately somebody that you have no business loving," Milicevic told me during a recent phone conversation about the show's second season airing at 9 p.m. Fridays.
Milicevic's character, Carrie Hopewell, currently sits in jail for shooting up her gangster father, Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross), and his henchmen in the show's first season after he kidnapped her son and Banshee Sheriff Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), who also is hiding his criminal past as her former partner in crime and in bed. She's estranged from her hubby, Banshee's district attorney Gordon Hopewell (Rus Blackwell), and their children after she lied to them about her past. They still don't know all of the details, specifically about her relationship with Hood.
"It's like you've got such a good thing going, but there's somebody from your past you passionately love and you have no business being with but you love him anyway because the heart wants what the heart wants," Milicevic continued, explaining the very complicated Carrie and her desire to be both loving wife and a thief—and to love both the men who come with those extremes. "She wants both. She wants both and neither and it's just all a big mess."
Milicevic and I talked more about Carrie, why filming the show's fight scenes is a lot more fun than the sex scenes, and what's coming in Season 2.
Read all that in the Q&A below, but first, here's her secret for getting rid of a cold: "Apple cider vinegar. Hot water and, like, half a bottle of Bragg vinegar and just cover up under blankets and sweat it all out."
Click here to read what Ivana Milicevic said about the scene below.
You probably get asked about the fight scenes all the time, but ...
I know, but I love talking about it. It's one of my favorite aspects of the show.
You enjoy the stunts and doing all that?
I do. By the end of the season I get really, really tired and my adrenals get shot and it's just harder. It's a lot of training. I get really fit but it's really scary. I get a lot of bruises. Like, I don't ever break anything. My bones are really strong, but man, I bruise like a banana.
The Season 1 fight with Olek I thought, "Is this thing ever gonna end?" Did you feel that way filming it?
Yes. But you know what? You get so much adrenalin and you start to have tunnel vision that you just go, go, go till it's done. And then you're so tired. You're just spent afterwards. And it took one day, like really, one day. We shot a little bit of the beginning before it gets messy. And a little more the next day when I'm already in the blood. The hardest part of it was all that sticky blood and putting on the hard, crusty, sticky blood clothes the next day to shoot me on the floor. That was probably the worst part. The adrenaline really pumps you up because your brain doesn't know the difference if it's happening for real or not.
Those fights are heavily choreographed. Is there room to just let loose?
Heavily choreographed. Yes, because I'm pretty clumsy. Things happen because there's a lot of movement. So in that fight scene that you're talking about, I gave myself a little black eye ... And then I hit my ankle on a corner being pushed around. Your body just gets it. But they padded his whole apartment for me because that was the fight of the season.
And then this year in Episode 2, [the prison fight] was also heavily choreographed but we made room for some improvised bits that looked really brutal, but they're actually less brutal to film than how they look--like when we're kind of pulling each other's hair.
When you're fighting those folks do you just get up and go, "Hey, nice job," or do you kick them again for good measure?
No! I'm constantly checking to see if they're OK. Because, listen, these are stunt women I'm fighting. It's designed for me to win. They are actually way more badass than I am—and they take much more of a licking than I do.
But you do most of that work, right?
I do most of it. They'll save me for a rehearsal, because the way we shoot we just go through the whole fight over and over and over again and the cameras are just being set up. We don't shoot it in pieces. We shoot the whole fight over and over again. I mean maybe they'll get the beginning of the fight and then we'll pick it up from another area ... It's not like planned shots for how to shoot it.