Exclusive: Anastasia Baranova Talks Z Nation Season 3

Anastasia BaranovaTonight, Syfy aired an all new episode of Z Nation, "Election Day." The series takes place during the apocalypse after a zombie virus outbreak.

One of the stars of the series, Anastasia Baranova, who plays Addison "Addy" Carver, talked to SciFi Vision Wednesday in an exclusive interview about her work on the show, how she would do in a zombie apocalypse, and more.

*SPOILERS FOR 3.08*

SCIFI VISION: How did you first get involved in the show?

Anastasia BaranovaANASTASIA BARANOVA: It was just an audition I happened to book, and they were like, "Hey, do you want to go to zombie camp?" And I was like, "Okay, why not?" [laughs] That's pretty much it.

Can you talk about working with the blood and the gore and those kinds of effects?

It's super cool. Listen, I'm sure everybody's biased, but we have some of the best special effects people that you can get, just incredible artists who work year-round making all of our prosthetics and zombies. And, you know, part of our whole thing is that we do sort of mutated zombies: blaster zombies, glow-in-the-dark zombies, and, you know, fungus zombies, all sorts of stuff, and a lot of that stuff is practical. Our effects team is also really great, but a lot of what we do is practical.

We'll do like stunt heads and stuff like that, that I get to kill with my Z Whacker, and whack at, and it's really fun.

I think it's definitely a lot of work for people, usually not me, [but] his year, towards the end of the year, Addy gets really banged up, and I got to do some prosthetic stuff, but, you know, our zombies, every morning are sitting there in prosthetics getting bloodied and goried and zombified, and it's really, really neat. It's an incredible craft.

Still, you still get in there to fight, and now you bat is sort of let's say, upgraded. Did you ever get weapon training for the series?

Nope nothing. It's really funny, right before I got the show, a girl friend of mine was staying at the house, and she's a professional hula hooper. She dances with hula hoops and does all sorts of fancy things, and, you know, obviously, they were just around the house. So I learned how to do just a couple of like the most simple maneuvers ever of all time, but that motion was sort of like in my body, because I'd been doing it, and so I picked up the Z Whacker and essentially did that with it, and everyone was like, "Oh that looks very cool." Very simple, very basic stuff, but it just looked super cool. So no, I just do acting; it's all acting. I'm just not athletic either; I don't even run well. But it looks cool on TV. [laughs]

It looks cool on camera, and you still enjoy it.

Oh, I love it. It's a lot of fun; it's really a good time. You pick up on it, and at this point after three years, I'm sort of better at it. Our stunt guys will have a fight choreographed, and then they'll show it to me and be like, "Hey, anything you want to do?" and I'm like, "Let's do this," or "let's do that," or, you know, if we're moving really quickly and it's something where they didn't have time to prepare something, I can kind of already come in and say, "lets do this and that." So that stuff is really cool.

Again, towards this end of this year, Addy's arc is that basically, The Man (Joseph Gatt) becomes her nemesis. Right at the end, the second to last episode, it's just them, and they're just going at each other the whole time, and by the end, I mean, she's really just on her last leg, doing all sorts of crazy stuff. So we're doing like high jumps and all sorts of fights and stunts, rock climbing; it's just wild, wild stuff. It's really fun.

Is there anything specifically you can tell me about Friday's episode?

It's the election, so it's perfectly timed; it's our election episode. Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) and Addy go off looking for Lucy, because Murphy (Keith Allan)'s off being Murphy, and we have to figure out a plan B, so we go, 'All right; let's go find the baby.'

And on the road we come across our old pals from the pilot episode, Sketchy (Mark Carr) and Skeezy (Doug Dawson) - which in fact that scene where Addy gets the Z Whacker from Sketchy and Skeezy was the first scene that we ever filmed on the program; that was like day one, scene one, first up jumping right in, that was it, and I literally picked it up there, all the way through there's like our fight, and just all sorts of stuff, and John Hyams was teaching me how to swing, and yeah it was crazy.

So we run across them, and one of them is pretending to be the president of the United States, [laughs] so we pretty much do an election episode, and pretty much we have like a Donald Trump kind of deal, and they're trying to swing a town, and they're pulling off this con, and Doc and Addy are like, 'Okay, I see what you're doing; it's fine,' but then it kind of takes a turn of course, as Z Nation does, and eventually everything goes to Hell and everybody dies, but it's a really, really funny episode. And you really start to see that Doc and Addy dynamic. And it's one of our lighter ones, because the last couple have sort of been a bit more heavy, so it definitely is like a fun light turn kind of midseason, here's a breather, and shift into crazy again.

Anastasia BaranovaContinuing that, I got a fan question, asking you to talk about working with Russell and also Nat [Zang].

I love them so much; I can't even. Nat is just my little baby, and Russ is just one of my best friends of the apocalypse. They're both terrific.

In general, right from the beginning, the Lord just worked it out so where this cast just came together, like there was no ego, there was no anything; everyone was just excited to be there, excited to be a part of this thing. And the chemistry between all of us as a group, all of us as individuals, and us in pairs, you could also mix the pairs, there's just chemistry everywhere. You know, Doc and Addy have chemistry; Doc and 10K [Zang] have chemistry. Warren [Kelita Smith] and Addy, like everybody, just flip it around, someone's having fun with somebody. That sounds sexy. [laughs]

Anyway, so it's really great. You know, we were family by the end of season one, and definitely at the end of three years, you know, those are my boys. So it's a lot of fun. We play a lot off of each other, and sort of discover stuff in the moment, and that's really, really cool when you have really talented people who are open, and so then, you know, you can just play and find stuff. It's a good time.

And, you know, our show is really physically demanding; it's long hours; we're on location; it's tough. It's a tough job, and I think the only way that we really get through it, is because we really like the people that we're doing it with.

Speaking of I guess potential chemistry, do you think that Addy will ever meet up with Citizen Z (D.J. Qualls)?

I mean, he is very far away, but it's also Z Nation, so never put it past anybody to just find, I don't know, a private jet lying around somewhere and just fly on up. I have no idea; who knows.

You never know.

Anything can happen; anything can happen.

Do you have a favorite scene or moment from this season?

I do, and honestly, it's the last scene of the season for me. And I wish I could say more, and I wish on any regard I could say more, but honestly, it's just everything comes to a peak, and it's like we pretty much just go off the edge kind of deal, and it's really, really cool. It's sort of like a roller coaster, you know what I mean? All season long we've just been like click click click click click up up up and then boom it all takes off. So definitely that.

Is there something specifically you'd like to see on the show for your character?

A little love. Wouldn't that be nice? Just somebody attractive - male, female, it doesn't matter. Just somebody clean with a nice personality, wouldn't that be just a real treat. [laughs]

Outside of the show, are you a fan of this kind of genre, or just of horror in general?

No, I wasn't before I got in, and I still really can't watch it now. I get really scared. I can't even watch trailers for scary movies, because the images just like implant themselves in my mind, and then I'll just be trying to fall asleep, and then I'll see monsters just everywhere. It's very, very strange. And like I get my kicks other ways, but no, I don't like being spooked, or scared, or thrilled in those ways whatsoever. But I did get into The Walking Dead, you know, doing these conventions, and people are asking me what I think, and I was like, I should probably find out about it, and I really got into it. But even that, it's not the zombie bit that I enjoy; it's the drama and the relationships, and all that. So I don't know that's the right answer, but maybe it's kind funny that a person on a horror show can't do horror. Actually, it's not really horror our show is like campy and fun and adventure.

I know obviously you are on a set, so it's kind of different, but has anything ever freaked you out?

No, it's just always funny. [laughs] It's always hilarious the things overheard on the set of Z Nation. "Need more guts!" "Hey, you guys see the toes?" "Where's the lamb blood?" [laughs]

Anastasia BaranovaIs there anything else specific that you can tease about that's coming up?

For this upcoming one, I can't think of quite the catchy caption here, but the election; it's Doc and Addy and Sketchy and Skeezy, you know, and then the end of the whole thing this year for Addy ends with her pretty much becoming like Black Widow meets Die Hard. So that's really cool, depending on what you're into. But it's pretty neat, and I wish I had a good tagline for you; I got nothing.

If the show was real and we were really in a zombie apocalypse, how would you fare?

Not well.

What would you do? Maybe let other people do it for you even?

That's Keith Allan's answer. He's like, "I'd let other people fight my battles!" Honestly, I always say that I would survive zero minutes. I was thinking about it like literally yesterday. I don't know, I think I'd see how I do. Because I don't like losing. So I feel like I'd be like, 'Ah let me start to fight my way through this thing and see how far I can get.' But after a while, I've got to tell you, doesn't it just sound stressful? You can never really relax; you always have to be fighting and killing people. You can't sit back and enjoy life. It's like, 'why even bother?' I don't know. I just don't think I would choose the apocalypse life. I think I'd do it for a while, and then I'd be like, 'Nah. This is stupid; I'm out.' [laughs]

Can you describe Addy in three words?

Hopeful sexy badass? Hopeful funny badass? I don't know which of my character's features is better here. Hopeful sassy badass, there it is.
 

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