“Banshee is the story of ex-con and master thief Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) who takes on the identity of a small town Pennsylvania sheriff who delivers his own brand of justice while continuing his criminal exploits and trying to win back the heart of Carrie (Ivana Milicevic), the woman he once scorned. It’s been a big hit for Cinemax, the sister network of pay cable juggernaut HBO, and will launch its fourth and final season this January.
At New York Comic Con, Milicevic and series newcomer Eliza Dushku, who plays Veronica Dawson, an FBI profiler with plenty of personal baggage, visited the world famous CBR Tiki Room to speak with Jonah Weiland about what fans can expect from the final season. They discuss upping the extreme ante season after season, why the role brought Dushku back to acting after taking a break for school, and the incredibly intense action sequences and fight training the entire cast had to perform and learn.
On what drew Dushku to the series and the role:
Eliza Dushku: I was about to head back to summer school in Boston and I got a call — I’m just a lucky woman who got a call from [co-creator] Jonathan Tropper and he said he had this awesome role in this awesome show and that was really how it happened. I was sort of taking a break from acting for a bit and I’m back in school in Boston and, yeah, I’m just a girl who couldn’t say no to this one.
Ivana Milicevic: Lucky for us.
Dushku: I’m such a fan of this one and I was just telling her in the elevator that she was a big part of — you know, because you have to watch what the other women are doing on a show before you go on and see if you want to be in that company and this one was a big boo-yah, mmm hmm.
Milicevic: Thank you.
Dushku: It was a super unexpected turn for my summer, and it was doper than summer school in a big way. It was the right choice.
On the show’s intense stunt work:
Milicevic: Our stunt team is really, really incredible. We’re really lucky to have them. When we’re not working on set we are in the dojo just learning how to fight and they had different — through the years — they had different masters from different walks, like we would have Filipino Kali, Jeet Kune Do, which was Bruce — Bruce Lee, I almost said Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis’ martial art that he created. [Laughter] Bruce Lee’s method, system. It was very intense, and also what makes our show cool is they made it dirty. Because if it looks really choreographed like real martial arts movies, that’s one style, but this is just dirty, dirty style.
On Dushku’s “Banshee Butt Diet”:
Dushku: There was a joke because I’ve been in school, and so I had like left my Hollywood trainers and nutritionists [Laughter] back there, so I had like a little bit of like the Freshman 15 going on. [Laughter] Which is cool.
Milicevic: No she didn’t! Do not believe what she’s saying.
Dushku: But they had to like turn that into like, you know, a Banshee — like I was on the Banshee Butt Diet. I had like that butt scene and it was like — between the trainers and the diet — I was like just trying to like get it up, trying to get it back up.
Milicevic: Right, she does her own butt work.
Dushku: Yeah. That was um…
Milicevic: Don’t believe her, she was hot as balls [Laughter] day one when she showed up. She’s being very modest.
Dushku: I was like, “I’ll do the show, but what’s with the…”
Milicevic: But we have a whole — not only do we have a stunt department, we have a whole “Banshee” fitness department. So not only are we doing stunts, we also have two trainers that are working out our bodies as well.
Dushku: It’s very uncommon.
Milicevic: But we almost have to be athletes on “Banshee” so we have to have an infrastructure to support it otherwise we break.
On the evolution of Milicevic’s character after four seasons:
Milicevic: I just feel so grateful that I got to play a part like this. I’ve never had this opportunity. When I was younger I was playing a lot of like typical hot girl parts that didn’t have a lot of depth and I was so lucky to get — I mean, not that I think I’m hot or you do or don’t, that’s just what I got to do.
Dushku: News flash… [Laughter]
Milicevic: This time I got to play a mother with all this depth and even like the sex scenes were kind of interesting because I’d never done that, and then the fight scenes and the things I had to fight for. It was — the whole thing, it isn’t even what do I love about the evolution of the character, I just hope that I get to play something like this again. I’m really honored to have gotten to play a part like this that was still so heightened and also fun. ‘Cause sometimes drama’s not fun, it’s just serious and I loved that we winked [Winks] all the time on our show.
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