The contemporary tone and attitude of Cinemax’s 19th century martial arts drama Warrior is one of the show’s more unique features, one star Hoon Lee is happy to have around. The new series is a return to the HBO sister station for Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper, reuniting him with the actor who memorably played Job for four seasons, and continuing the brand of gritty, pulpy, energetic dramas.
The result so far has been one of the more unique original series to hit the premium channel in quite some time. Not only is it based on the writings of Bruce Lee, and produced by his daughter Shannon, as well as Fast & Furious director (among other things) Justin Lin, but Warrior offers a one-two punch of being both a period drama set in San Francisco during the Tong Wars, and a martial arts drama in the vein of Kung Fu — something that hasn’t been seen on TV in a while.
But the series also stands out by virtue of the manner in which its characters speak, dress, and compose themselves. Though their setting may be in the distant past, the mannerisms of many of the central characters is decidedly contemporary. It’s an anachronism that delivers a unique product, but also, as Lee puts it, is entirely “in service of entertainment.” Lee said as much in a recent interview with Screen Rant, where he discussed certain aspects of the show, as well as teasing what audiences can expect when season 2 rolls around. Speaking to the contemporary feel of the series, Lee said:
“I love it. I mean, I think to me that's something I ... that's something that it feels very theatrical to me, and I mean that in the best sense. It's something the language sort of ... and even the production design, I think it just acknowledges that, hey, we're not making a documentary. This isn't a historically accurate period piece and there's no need for us to pretend it is and that there's a sort of the affect that is created by the language and the wardrobe and the music is supposed to imbue the world with an attitude, and the attitude is what's really important.
If you're going to talk about gangsters you want them to feel like gangsters. I think that that's what's really important. I'm so thankful that they embraced that idea and really ran with it and just got comfortable with it because I don't think it's ... it's in the service of entertainment and it's a unique service of trying to capture a feeling as opposed to trying to capture historical accuracy.
And the latter is very hard to do. I don't know that it's the point of a television show like this. So rather than try to force that issue I think they ran the other way and said, 'Well, how cool can we make this or how intriguing can we make this or how much can we make this swagger really work for us?' I felt really good about how we've done so far.”
As far as season 2 is concerned, the series is in the midst of filming, so Lee was unable to give too much away, but he did suggest that Tropper and everyone else involved in Warrior is eager to expand the world that they’ve created.
“I will say that [the creators] have always had a tremendous amount of ambition to expand the world even beyond what we've seen, and that the sort of vibrancy and the attitude and the sort of breadth of characters that we've been introduced to in season one, they've always been designed as a leaping off point. So I'm really excited by what I've seen in the script of season two thus far and what we've sort of started nibbling at. But I have very high hopes for season two really even outshining what we're proud of already in season one.”
Warrior continues Friday, May 24 with ‘They Don’t Pay Us Enough To Think’ @10pm on Cinemax.