Banshee: Showrunner Greg Yaitanes Shares Behind-The-Scenes Details From The Shocking Wicks Episode

“Banshee” churned out its most intense and grisly episode of the season last Friday when it took people back to master thief Lucas Hood’s time in prison.

Stomachs were turned, voices were raised and nether regions covered as viewers watched Lucas go from frightened young prisoner to a dangerous force of nature, capable of taking down the intimidating and formidable king of the prison – “The Albino” – in a most gruesome fashion.

It was actor Joseph Gatt who played the now-late character, who left a number of impressions on those in the drama — a unique prison ruler, a master pain delivery servant and a man whose fatal flaw was underestimating Lucas Hood (who used the advantage to sever “The Albino’s” member, jam his eyes back into his skull and serve up death by barbell weight).

“Joe gave kind of an elegant and mannered performance of this very intimidating character,” Showrunner and Executive Producer Greg Yaitanes said when probed him with some post-episode questions. “His sort of outward kindness is terrifying and, obviously [his genitals] getting cut off is one thing, but I just viscerally felt like this is probably what Lucas went through all the time over 15 [years in prison].”

Need to know more? Yaitanes shared with Access some details from behind-the-scenes of the jaw-dropping Episode 6, and offered hints at what’s to come in the show’s march toward its Season 1 finale on Cinemax (just four episodes remain!). In the opening scene where Lucas is sitting with Rabbit, he looks scared for perhaps the first time in the whole series. How much direction did you have to give Antony [Starr, who plays Lucas], on the day?

Greg Yaitanes: Antony’s instincts are really incredible and the great thing was, although we went in and kind of Photoshopped Lucas to look younger, which we’ve done throughout the season when we go back 15 years, we actually didn’t have to do a lot of the scenes because Antony’s actually able to like find that vulnerability of this 20-something-year-old that went into prison and was f***ing terrified by it. I was so taken by his performance because he captures Lucas before he became hardened. In Episode 3, Carrie says, ‘You were kind,’ and he reacts because everything that he was has been taken from him. You really see the last moments of Lucas Hood before prison changed him in that scene with Rabbit and he knew exactly how to get there and Antony did a great job of genuine terror throughout… His performance is so human and I’m so with him on it because literally his back is against the wall. He does it so well.

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Access: What was behind the decision to shoot the prison scenes in blue?

Greg: We experimented with very distinctive looks that would identify the prison and OC [Madsen], our director — we were willing to go so far as to do them in black and white — but OC thought this kind of green-blue sort of hue of the prison would always identify it as being back in time and we were able to do that look throughout the season when we go to the prison. And Episode 6 is not the last time we’ll see what it was like for Lucas in prison.

Access: Why did you give ‘The Albino’ an honor code? He doesn’t make people do stuff, he tells them he wants them to do stuff and he wants them to want to do stuff for him.

Greg: Part of it is, you’re in jail for life and people build these new societies and communities within prison, so in order to rule, you have to have a certain ethic as a ruler. And for ‘The Albino,’ he sees himself as a ‘just king’ of the prison, being able to give people the opportunity to willingly serve and make their lives easier, all the while feeding his pleasure and indulgence of power.

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Access: Should we assume that after Lucas killed ‘The Albino,’ he didn’t get touched in prison? He says to one of the men, ‘We good?’ after the task is done. Although, you did say there is more prison stuff.

Greg: It’s not the end of his story. When you’re the heavyweight champ, people want your title. It’s not the end of what he had to do to survive, it’s really just the beginning… And you never know how it’s coming at you either, which is all I want to sort of spoil.

Access: The big bombshell at the end of the episode is Carrie calls her dad and says, ‘I’m gonna bring him in.’ How much of that line is a game changer?

Greg: There’s two things that I love about that and I really [credit] the director for really interpreting and elevating the script in that regard. It’s like [show creators/executive producers/writers] Jonathan [Tropper] and David [Schickler] had that concept that Lucas is Carrie’s Wicks. When [Sugar] says, ‘Guys like Wicks will just keep bringing people down around him until there’s nobody’ — I just think that [the director], editorially, just connected that to Carrie… Carrie’s realizing that this guy is just going to ruin her life and she needs to survive and protect her family and to do that she needs to get rid of Lucas. So, what that phone call sets in motion – the next four episodes, which are pretty much one continuous story… it’ll drive with fury to the finale.

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Access: The YouTube footage, the cellphone call from the son, Brock’s suspicions, Carrie’s call. How do you come back from this [in Season 2], and does this mean you are building up to the most insane finale in television history?

Greg: We had one edict, which is go at each season as if it’s our last and so we’ve really made a point to give everybody a phenomenally satisfying 10-episode experience that no one can predict where it’s going. I will say that I’m sure you’re aware we have these little end scenes after the credits. I would just tell everybody to definitely not miss the last scene after the finale…

Access: Should we believe that all these things will come to a head?

Greg: Yes. 100 percent… I remember when Jonathan had talked about what the finale was going to be for Season 1, it was like everything you want to see happen, everything you want to see answered, everything you want to see dealt with, is going to happen in the last three episodes of the show… [Episodes] 8,9,10 are a continuous story that’s pretty much like a three-part finale. Part of this comes out of, for me especially, as someone who not only has worked in television, but watches television, is that we wanted every episode to be like this full meal for the audience. If we’re entertaining people Fridays at 10, I wanted to live up to that and give back for giving me your Friday nights.

“Banshee” airs Fridays at 10 PM on Cinemax.

-- Jolie Lash

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