The latest chapter in Chaske Spencer's Hollywood success story finds him joining the police force on the Cinemax series Banshee, which starts its third season January 9.
In the series, Spencer, perhaps best known for his work in the Twilight Saga films, portrays an ostracized former tribal police offer Billy Raven who has come to join series protagonist Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), an ex-convict and professional thief who's taken on the identity of the sheriff of Banshee.
Spencer, a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, spoke with ICTMN about his character on the show and plans for the future.
Your character on Banshee, Billy Raven—what's his story?
My character is a tribal police officer for the Kinaho tribe. He leaves the tribal police force on the reservation due to the corruption and he joins the Banshee force. What my character Billy Raven runs into in Banshee is definitely not expected. It's a pretty gritty show.
What's it like to work with this cast?
They are all truly great to work with. The show itself runs like a well-oiled machine and Antony Starr is just a very nice guy. As I said, the show is gritty—and it's cool to see these guys flip that switch to become their characters.
How does the show handle the Native storyline?
It’s great, especially considering it is one of the only ones we’ve got. (laughs) There are not many TV shows where Native Americans get to work. You rarely if ever see this type of idea on television where a Native person is taken from the reservation to work.
My character is truly a great character I can work with. This is just really one of those few shows out there—Longmire is another. For Banshee, I feel that they are doing a pretty good job with the Native element.
What's the coolest scene you got to play?
Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but there are a few scenes that I get to play as a police officer where I'm running around, I get to scrap a bit, I use a gun quite a bit which is all pretty great. I actually received police training to ensure I was doing things right as a police officer would, in terms of holding a gun and other things.
What's next for you?
There are two projects coming up that I have worked on and I am very proud of. One is Desert Cathedral, written and directed by Travis Gutiérrez Senger—I play a private investigator named Duran. The other is Dynamite: A Cautionary Tale, directed by Tate Steinsiek, in which I play Detective Barrone.
In both roles, I show my attempt at growing a mustache. I'm Native, so I can’t really grow the big chops!
Overall, I have a lot of gratitude for the work that I get and where I am at in my career. As a Native American, I feel that we still have a long way to go in the entertainment industry because there is not a lot out there for us. But we do what we can.