From ‘Badlands’ to worse for Sunny in Season 2 of epic AMC series

Mar 15, 2017

Calling in from Cape Town, South Africa, Daniel Wu says he’s enjoying filming the feature film “Tomb Raider,” which has served as something of a respite from the rigors of his day job, the AMC martial arts drama “Into the Badlands.”

“Definitely I need recovery time, for sure, and I’m definitely enjoying ‘Tomb Raider,’ where I don’t have to fight as crazily as in ‘Badlands,’ the 42-year-old actor says with a laugh. “I look at it as more of a vacation because I’m not physically enduring the kind of stuff I have to do for ‘Badlands.’ ”

Season 2 opens Sunday, March 19, and picks up six months after the events of the first season finale. It finds warrior Sunny (Wu) not in a good place, having been taken away from the Badlands by the River King and separated from his young colt M.K. (Aramis Knight). As the imprisoned teen struggles to control his powers, Sunny is determined to fight his way back to the Badlands and wife Veil (Madeleine Mantock) and their new baby. Along the way, they’re assisted by new allies with ulterior motives.

Meanwhile, the Widow (Emily Beecham) continues to consolidate power against the other Barons, while a mysterious threat readies to get revenge on them all. As Sunny plots to get out of the brutal mining prison where he’s being held, he finds he’s undergoing something of a spiritual awakening.

“I think his awakening really was started with the pregnancy of Veil of last season,” Wu explains, “and that started to make him realize that what he was doing as a clipper, as a regent was not necessarily the path that he wanted to be on. And what I feel about Sunny is that he’s taken lives his whole life and then once suddenly he’s created a life, it changed him completely to the core.

“And so this season, he’s a different person altogether,” Wu continues. “He’s not the noble regent he was in the past nor is he the cold-hearted killer either. He doesn’t really want to kill anymore. He’s not interested in doing that and he’s certainly not interested in doing it for other people. He does want to exact some revenge for what happened to him last season but he’s not the cold-hearted killer he was last season. So you see him become more of a human this season, less of a cold-blooded killer and more of a father. He’s really struggling to just get back to his family.”

If the landscape in the second season looks different from that of the first, it’s for a very good reason: Shooting locations have changed from the heat and humidity of New Orleans to the greenery of Ireland. And that, asserts Wu, gives the series a much bigger feel.

“The locations were amazing,” he says. ” I mean, I think we really step it up this season in terms of locations and making this a kind of bigger epic feel for the show, which we didn’t really have for last season because New Orleans, frankly speaking, is surrounded by swamp and more swamp. And so you don’t get mountains, you don’t get waterfalls, you don’t get amazing seaside ocean-cliff views. Like a lot of that you get in Ireland only half an hour drive from Dublin, city center. So it’s really amazing, and so that for the look of the show really made it much more grand and much more epic and much more cinematic, I think, than last season.”

Daniel Wu stars in “Into the Badlands,” which opens its second season Sunday, March 19, on AMC.

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