‘Banshee’ Q&A: Ulrich Thomsen On Playing Kai Proctor

It’s not just Lucas Hood who is keeping residents of “Banshee” and the surrounding areas safe on Cinemax’s stylish Friday night drama. Ulrich Thomsen’s Kai Proctor has proven to be more than a (dangerous) businessman, even getting in the thick of it last week to defend the very kin who shunned him.

With Burton at his side, he whipped out a baseball bat and defended the Amish community when a gang came to their doorstep seeking revenge for a teenage girl’s murder.

That murder in last week’s episode is still unsolved, and Solomon, the Amish boy (and Kai’s relative) who was dating the teen Kinaho Tribe girl, is missing. As a result, the tension between the Amish and Native American communities is even higher, and adding to the conflict between Kai and Alex Longshadow, as seen in this exclusive “Banshee” sneak peek.

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AccessHollywood.com caught up Ulrich to find out what’s next when the drama resumes this Friday night on Cinemax.

AccessHollywood.com: Kai Proctor, I think, has become someone you want to root for this season. Did you notice that in the scripts when you were reading them — that he was a badass that you’d root for?

Ulrich Thomsen: He had a good psychology to him, I think, because of the Amish and because of the fact that he was shunned. And he wanted, basically, just to talk to his family, so I thought there’s a good chance that you can get a human being out of the guy, because he is pretty badass. And, on top of that, if I’m dealing with a bad guy, in terms of the character, I try to pull out the good side of him, act the softer side whenever it’s possible. I think it gets a better character out of that, more nuanced. But, people always like the bad guys for some reason (laughs).

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Access: Maybe because we often think about the things they do but would never do them ourselves.

Ulrich: Yeah, but also… he takes care of business. He’s a little rough…

Access: So the baseball bat scene that you had [in Episode 3 of this season], how much fun was that to do?

Ulrich: They’re always fun to do. The whole show is fun to do. … But it also takes a bit of training beforehand. The baseball bat is one thing, but… I fight in a specific way that takes a little bit of training — the style to it. Not the baseball bat scene obviously. But the one in [Episode] 4 with Longshadow, in the diner.

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Access: What has it been like to see the development between Alex and Kai where they are taking each other on? This is the big conflict of the season (so far) — these two guys.

Ulrich: Yeah. … I always wanted him just to be on my side, to be my friend, and that was a little tricky, but it actually kind of sort of developed in the right way, towards the end of Season 1. … So now, in second season, we sort of respect each other. We’re not on the same side. I don’t know how much I should reveal, but things are getting a little tricky again.

Access: Tell me what lengths Kai will go to to find Solomon.

Ulrich: I think that deep down he believes that [Solomon is] not guilty, that there’s something fishy going on there. … He’ll go all the way, if it takes [it]. He’ll probably try to talk reason with people, but I think he’s kind of impatient that way. It’s easier just to get it done and some of them deserved it also, to some extent, to have a slapping or a spanking.

Access: Burton – are we going get more lines from him this season, from your sidekick?

Ulrich: I can’t remember. He is pretty much Burton towards the end of the season. I think he’s scary as f***. You know when he takes off his glasses then sh**’s gonna happen and I totally dig that … It makes you think when you see him. … It’s an interesting relationship where it started and how they met — it would be a good [‘Banshee’] Origins [episode]. …I think it would be a funny how the two guys met and who is this guy, this bow-tied guy that wanders around in the background and just takes care of things. … Burton is Burton, but in Season 3, if hopefully, we are picked up for a third season, he’s definitely a character that could be interesting to explore. (Editor’s Note: The show was picked up for a third season by Cinemax on Thursday.)

Access: What does Kai think of Lucas at this point? They have almost an uneasy friendship. They get each other.

Ulrich: They take care of business the same way and that is also something that Kai addressed in the first season. ‘I’ve seen you around. I don’t know why you hold me in such contempt because… we have the same attitude towards things.’ … I think they know that they’re both there, it’s a small town, they might as well get along kind of. … I guess people respect each other if they have the same kind of background, where they take care of things the same way and it’s what they do. But then sh** happens further on in [Season] 2 that you haven’t seen.

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Access: We’ll have that to look forward to. Tell me about your workout for this because you have to be in good shape to do this show – all of you guys. Is there a ‘Banshee’ gym on set?

Ulrich: There’s [a gym that we go to]. … They just bought access [for] all of us and yeah, you’re right, it’s very demanding and in order to avoid injuries and things, we go there. It’s part of the work, for my part anyway. I go there three or four times a week and it’s good. It’s nice to be in shape, you feel better by the end of the day. … And also, you know, you take off your shirt now and again, you’re in the shower, so you want to look good (laughs). For my part, it definitely would make sense because I do this training on this Wing Chun Dummy. I fight in a certain way, so you know, if I had a beer gut and what have you, it wouldn’t kind of make sense.

“Banshee” airs Friday night at 10 PM ET/PT on Cinemax.

-- Jolie Lash

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