Nick Frost, who plays Bajie on AMC’s Into the Badlands, talks about what Bajie’s call to Azra could mean and revealing more of his character’s past.
Q: Bajie learns that his call to Azra could result in Pilgrim bringing death and destruction to the Badlands. How does he make sense of what’s happening?
A: I think he’s wanted to send that beacon his whole life, but he thought it would do something else. He thought it would lead the way to a better world for everyone. I think he did the right thing for the right reasons, but sadly, it summoned this very dangerous, single-minded, agenda-driven monster, who is very charismatic. Bajie, perhaps for the first time in a long while, feels a sense of responsibility. Throughout the season, he wants to try to somehow make this right.
Q: With baby Henry to protect, Sunny doesn’t always jump into battle with Bajie immediately. What’s that like for Bajie?
A: I think you’ll find that Bajie is the one that jumps in to help Sunny throughout most of Season 2. I think Bajie’s fine. He’s a big boy. He’s a good fighter. Bajie believed that Sunny was living this great life and he didn’t want to get involved with that. He wanted to stay out of the way, but now he realizes that Sunny needs him. He wants to make this right, do right by the Badlands and make right what he potentially messed up. He’s had to evolve. I think he realizes that it’s not all about him. For so many years, it is all about him and he did what he wanted and didn’t really care. I think it’s good that he’s got this responsibility and he’s looking after Henry as well.
Q: Liquor, gambling, sea urchins as weapons…Black Wind is a place full of debauchery! How fun was it shooting this episode, in particular?
A: It was great! We got to meet Bajie’s first wife, Lily, played amazingly by Sophia Di Martino. It’s great to see part of his backstory and that he was once married. I think it’s a real “wow” moment for people –and if you can do that on television, that’s a really good thing. In terms of the fight sequences, it took a long, long time to shoot it, but it’s such great fun. You see how inventive the guys are when they say, “OK, at this point you pick up an octopus and use it like a nunchuck” and you’re just like, “Yeah, OK. Cool. I’m in.” [Laughs]
Q: Did you already know some of that backstory or were you surprised to find out Bajie was once married?
A: What was funny to me was the fact that they still had marriage in the Badlands – or rather that he would be divorced. How do you get divorced in the Badlands? I’d hate to think of what a divorce would look like. It feels like a place where you’d have to touch knives with your ex-wife and that’s your divorce. How does one split up their goods? It’s not like there’s a lawyer’s office to argue over who’s going to get the painting. Of course, I imagined he would have some kind of past. He loves the ladies. He can’t really help himself. I think out of all the ladies he’s ever loved, I think he loves Lily the most. I love that he turns into a little boy again. I think people will like the vulnerable side of Bajie. We see him being duplicitous and fighting, but we don’t see him being hurt emotionally very often.
Q: Lily almost turns Bajie and Sunny over to the River King. What’s it like for Bajie to hear that she thinks he would have done the same to her?
A: Well, honestly, I don’t think he would give a sh—t. This is the Badlands. If people are disappointed or shocked that she would do that, it’s because they live now in 2018. Where these guys are, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. I don’t think he’d be that disappointed, really. I think there’s a tiny part of him that would be proud. I mean, the first time he meets her again, he tries to take that gold. So, he gets everything he deserves!
Read an interview with Aramis Knight, who plays M.K.
Into the Badlands airs Sundays at 10/9c. Click here to add a reminder to your calendar.
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