Former Catamount football player Geno Segers is highlighted this week to help kick off Western Carolina Athletics Throwback Thursday (#TBT,) sponsored by Holiday Inn Express . Segers talks about his time at Western Carolina University as a Catamount football player and how his athletic background helped him in his current role as Chayton Littlesone in the Cinemax series "Banshee."
How has your background in athletics and playing football here at Western Carolina University helped you in your role in the Cinemax series Banshee?
"I think the actual discipline to get through the hard times, whether it be two-a-day practices or a long hot day during the summer during preseason practice helped me get through some of the mental barriers when it came to shooting for 18 hours in a little pit with no air conditioning and spraying more water on you to make you look like you are sweating. When you are acting in a scene, you have to constantly put yourself in the same scenario and try to make it as believable as possible. Whereas when practicing a sport, you have to put yourself in a situation like third and long or first and goal on the one yard line, so you are trying to up the stakes to stop a play. Though that is just practice, you need to get those reps and make them as important as possible so when you get in that situation you aren't in panic mode. I think that preparation in sport is probably the biggest component I use in film."
Your role as Chayton in Banshee is a very physical role, how did you handle that?
"The show itself is a very graphic, visceral, action packed and a grimy sort of show. My character of Chayton Littlestone seems to only come out at night, so that leaves me having my call time - which is when I report to set - around 6 p.m., and then begin filming around 8:30 or 9 p.m. so I don't actually leave the set until sunrise. It's an all-night sort of affair, which is again, a very physical strain, but also a mental strain. You have to muster to find the energy to do something that physical at 4 a.m. in the morning that you did at 9:30 p.m. at night. It's grueling. It's very challenging in a way that people don't understand. I tell people all the time, they say you must love your job. I say, I do love my job but I wouldn't call it fun - it's hard work. It's grueling and your reward is the results."
Banshee had a panel at San Diego Comic Con. Can you talk about that experience?
"I had never been to Comic Con and really didn't understand or appreciate what was about to happen in terms of that experience. It was totally unexpected. I didn't expect it to be as fanatical as it was. We go into our panel and there are 4,000 people all there to see the cast members. They were asking questions and hanging on every word. You can't put a value on that level of connection with the fans. People recognizing my character of Chayton Littlestone was a shock to me because I don't have any tattoos or long braid like my character does. It just shocked me. It was a pleasant surprise."
Banshee is filmed in Charlotte, N.C. what was it like to film in your home state? "The best thing about filming in Charlotte was I was able to go home and drive my Cadillac, use my own car. As crazy as that sounds, it's really the truth, and of course spending time with family, and seeing former teammates whom I am still very close to even to this day."
You have been back to Western Carolina a few times over the years, how has it changed?
"When I get back to Western Carolina and see all the physical changes, where we used to practice on grass there is a theatre now. It is unbelievable. I think back to my time there and it was all a giant parking lot. And now its buildings and dorms, it's huge. It's grown so much. I am proud to say I'm an alum because of the growth."
If you had one phrase to describe your time at Western Carolina University, what would it be?
"Wow.... I would probably say the good times and the bad times at Western Carolina University made me who I am today."