Cinemax's Banshee is back for another season of unflinching small-town drama, and BFTV recently had the chance to catch up with one of the folks in the line of fire. Demetrius Grosse plays Deputy Emmett Yawners, and he talked with us about what Emmett is about to face, the past roles he still remembers, and another uncompromising show that struck a chord with him.
What can we expect from Emmett in the rest of the season? "I'd say keep an eye out for episodes seven and eight when Emmett and the Nazis in Banshee confront each other again," Demetrius told us. "There was a bit of that in season one, we saw kind of a prelude to that. There's a little bit more fireworks that fly between the cops and the Nazis."
He plays a fairly straightforward character on a show where everyone else seems to have another identity, a secret (or more than one), or something else that will raise your eyebrow. Even Emmett's colleague, Deputy Siobhan Kelly, has blurred a line as this season she became the latest woman to fall in bed with Lucas Hood. Does Demetrius ever look at his character and feel oddly normal? "All the time," he laughed. "You have a cross-dressing hacker and an ex-con master thief, all that's very glamorous, and here I am, this guy, just a guy who's the morally upstanding and normal person. Sometimes I read things [in the script] and I'm like 'Okay, when is it going to be my turn?'"
That's not to say Emmett is without his difficulties. He may not have a secret past or character quirk, but he has his own challenges to overcome. Asked about his proudest moment on Banshee, "I confront a crisis of faith and that crisis of faith is due to some of the work that Emmett does kind of affecting his home, and challenging all of what he knows about God and what he knows about morality," Demetrius continued. "I'm really proud of what we were able to capture there. We were really vigilant about not stopping short."
His work on the series is some of his best, but it's only one part of his resume. He had a recurring role as Errol in the third season of FX's Justified, and he's been seen on numerous other TV shows, as he told us. "One of my favorite roles that I still hear about, it was a small artc on Heroes in the third season. I played kind of a Haitian warlord [Samedi]. It was very remote from myself. A lot of my peers and colleagues still come up and talk to me about my performance.
"Moving forward, there's an interesting role in This Is Martin Bonner, a Sundance film that won last year that's about to be released through IFC. There's a pilot that we're working on right now, it's called Complications, and the character I play is Dr. Dan Brennan. The show is about people who happen to be doctors. It's about these people's lives in this town who are trying to balance life while they are ER doctors. Those people we trust with our lives, they actually do have lives, they have children."
Yet there's one role he still hopes to tackle. "I remember when I was in school and I became entrenched in the 70's, and just so interested in punk music and soul music. I started studying Marvin Gaye," he explained. "I found out that he was from my town, from Washington, D.C., [and] I started reading a lot about him. I really would love the opportunity in whatever scale to explore Marvin Gaye and his life. I come from musical theatre originally, so it'd be really interesting to delve back into that world."
And even beyond that, Demetrius wants to parlay his career accomplishments into making a difference in the world around him. "When I'm in a position to not just do cool projects and provide for myself and my family, but when I can provide an opportunity. Then I think you can really look up and say this was the right thing," he reflected. "If I can say I want to build this theater, or this community center, or this place."
What's on Demetrius's watchlist? "I watch a lot of film," he told us. "The last show I really loved was Under The Dome. That was the last one that I was really into. I got into Breaking Bad a little bit, but I'm not as die-hard as some of my friends. My favorite show was Oz on HBO. It was just so visceral and raw. Watching that show, I realized the power of filmmaking to comment on society and get people changing their minds." Now he's hoping to have that same effect himself, and he's well on his way with projects like Banshee.
Banshee airs Friday nights at 10 PM ET/PT on Cinemax. For more on Demetrius, you can follow him on Twitter (@DemetriusGrosse).