Banshee pulls no punches

10 April 2017

Banshee pulls no punches

Banshee (2013-2016) fans can now enjoy all four seasons of this dynamite, action-driven drama with the final season having launched today (Monday, 10 April) on Showmax.

One of the best things about being able to flip back and forth from the beginning to the end of this no-holds-barred show is the opportunity to replay all the incredible stunt work in the fight scenes – some of the most realistic, spectacular fight choreography ever seen on TV.

How did the crew and cast get the fight scenes so right? Let’s take a closer look at two of Banshee’s most iconic fights to find out.

Trained by Batman

Banshee’s stunt co-ordinators Marcus Young and Jimmy Romano worked with a team of trainers with combat specialities across the board to prepare the cast and their stunt doubles for scenes.

Ivana Milicevic (Carrie) says, “Marcus brought in Ryan Gray who taught me some Kali – a Philippine martial art. All the stunt guys had a different practice but Kali was my favourite. The second year, Marcus brought in another Kali master, Rich Cetrone. He doubled Ben Affleck as Batman.”

The cast were also in constant conditioning training to make sure that they could handle shooting each stunt over and over from different angles. “They train you in martial arts first and you get the basics and then you get the choreography. It’s intense. Don’t cross me,” jokes Ivana. “I feel strong. Like I could lift a car off of a baby.”

Carrie vs Olek

Ivana’s toughest action scene was the near episode-long fight scene in Season 1, episode 8. “I had a really big fight scene with Olek (Christos Vasilopoulos). I was attacked for 12 hours. I love that fight so much because it had major emotion and history and tension and moves and love. I don’t think I had as deep of a fight since then.”

Filming the scene took a whole day. “We were just gung-ho, four cameras placed at different parts of the apartment. Thankfully that whole room was padded for me because the producers care for me very, very much.”

While the scene was heavily choreographed, she still took a beating. Ivana admits, “I gave myself a little black eye… And then I hit my ankle on a corner being pushed around. The adrenaline really pumps you up because your brain doesn’t know the difference if it’s happening for real or not.”

Nola vs Clay

In Season 3, episode 3, Nola (Odette Annable) and Clay (Matthew Rauch) have a fight to the death that starts, spectacularly, with an axe been thrown at Burton’s chest, and it only gets more intense.

“We used a technique that involves hitching a number of shots together to give it the appearance of a single take. Marcus Young did phenomenal work choreographing this,” says Banshee executive producer Greg Yaitanes.

Odette and Matthew and their stunt doubles Boni Yanigasawa and Dave Maccomber trained for and rehearsed the three-and-a-half minute scene for six weeks before shooting. “We had to shoot it in a day, 14 hours in terribly hot weather,” says Matthew. “The camera crews were running around the stunt guys. There was a tonne of blood. There was one part of a take where Odette punched me in the face. It hurt! However, after that, the whole day went smooth. To a certain extent, the Banshee fights are real fighting. There’s contact and things you can’t fake.”

Did you know?

Dollhouse (2009-2010) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) ass-kicking actress Eliza Dushku, who joins Banshee as FBI profiler Veronica Dawson in Season 4, reveals, “The stunt co-ordinator Marcus Young was one of the first vampires I staked on Buffy back in the day!”

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