You might tune in to the Cinemax crime drama Banshee for the high-octane fight scenes featuring its usually shirtless leading man, Antony Starr. But you should stay for Job, actor Hoon Lee’s cross-dressing hairstylist-turned-computer hacker. Landing somewhere between fierce and fearsome, the character gives the dark series, now in its second season, some heart—and much of its bite.
Out: How did you end up playing this totally over-the-top character?
Hoon Lee: I’m a confident guy, but not a beautiful woman. I went for the audition and figured I had no chance. When I got the role, I was surprised, but the more I found out about Job, the more excited I was.
But you make a striking lady.
Before Banshee, I’d only been in drag once—and for comic effect—so it was shocking how quickly all of these stereotypical gender insecurities descended upon me. I’d be looking in the mirror thinking about how fat something made me look.
What’s the transformation like to become Job?
There’s a thin line for someone like me. I’m not a tall, willowy, naturally androgynous type, so we run the risk of rolling full-on into farce if we’re not careful. There’s generally a mix of hard and soft in the clothes, hair, and makeup. There’s physical preparation as well: a lot of chicken and broccoli.
What can we expect from the second season?
One thing I like about Banshee is that it’s a show of extremity—it doesn’t back down from anything. We push that in Season 2. The action sequences are still nuts, which is our calling card, but people only care about action when it’s fueled by character, and that’s what we’ve tried to amplify.
Do you find yourself picking things out for Job in your off time?
Oh my God, yes. It’s more of an issue with me when I see something I would love to try on but that I know won’t work on me. It’s terrible to get a complex about that.
Season 2 of Banshee premieres January 10 on Cinemax