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Exclusive Interview with “Z Nation” Star Anastasia Baranova

Photo Credit: TJ Manou
Photo Credit: TJ Manou

Born in Moscow and raised in California, actress Anastasia Baranova knew from an early age that her calling was in the arts. She even took up singing lessons to help her learn English. After modeling for a time in Russia, Baranova eventually turned her sights to making her name in Hollywood. She landed her first big role on the NBC/Discovery Kids series Scouts Safari, where she lived on location in South Africa. Since then, she’s been no stranger to television, starring in the hit shows Sons of Anarchy, the revival of the beloved 90210, Malcolm in the Middle, 7th Heaven, Drake and Josh, Joan of Arcadia and Veronica Mars before scoring the part of Addison Carver in Syfy’s Z Nation. She’s also graced the silver screen in the critically-acclaimed festival hit The Sublime and Beautiful, directed by Blake Robbins, and will star in Welcome to Willets, which is due to be released in 2017.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Baranova about the upcoming season of Z Nation, Addy’s forthcoming storyline and her love of Dr. Who and Outlander. Check it out below!

If you had to describe the season premiere of the upcoming season in three words, what would they be?

(laughs) I would have to go with “Bald. Red. Badass.” Yep, I’m sticking to those!

What should fans expect from the upcoming season?

Things take a darker turn, for sure. Murphy is at a point where he’s just ready to do his own thing; he now feels strong and confident enough in who he is and what he can do, as we saw when he was making his getaway. Like the ungrateful, awful person that he is, he pretty much says “I know you all are trying to save the world and all but I’m going to do my own thing.” he group is left trying to figure out where to go from there because we still feel like we have a mission in the world to go on—we don’t want it to become a Murphy world, basically. In many ways, this season will give fans an opportunity to get to know these characters even more and spend more time with them.

So the group is left trying to figure out where to go from there because we still feel like we have a mission in the world to go on—we don’t want it to become a Murphy world, basically. In many ways, this season will give fans an opportunity to get to know these characters even more and spend more time with them.

In the past two years, it was really about getting to know them as a gang but now that we know who they are, we’re going to be able to spend time with this character and then spend time with that character. But, definitely, it gets darker. It’s still adventurous and all that, but it gets a lot darker because Murphy is such a wild card; if he’s not under our supervision, bad things happen, so there’s a whole lot of that.

How would you say that Addy has changed going into season three?

My thing with her this year is that she’s getting more in touch with her feminine side and kind of maturing in that way. In the seasons prior, so much of the action required her to draw on her masculine energy, so in season three, I’ve tried to bring back some more feminine qualities to her. I think that’s the biggest change going into this season, and then, ultimately, we’ll have to see how it fleshes out over the course of it. We kind of started to see that change at the end of season two but it becomes more prevalent in season three.

Will this upcoming season pick up right where the last one left off or will there be a time gap?

We start this season kind of like a movie. It goes back in our time—in the story of “Z Nation.” It’s sort of like a lost chapter and it introduces new characters, so we start with that. But, yeah, for the most part, we pick up right where we left off.

Can you give us a clue as to who the soldiers are that surrounded the group at the end of last season?

(laughs) Well…..they are part of a group of people in another part of the world who have also made it this far and are alive for a reason, which is presumably keeping the world going, and Murphy seems to be the answer to that. So, that’s who they are…

Would you say they spell good things or bad things for the group?

Generally bad things….generally bad…

Are we going to see the group go to Zona?

Not yet, not yet. We’ll get there eventually but not yet.

In the past, the show has featured really cool cameos, like George R.R. Martin. Is that something that we can expect to see this season?

I don’t know if we have anyone like that but we definitely have some coming up. That’s kind of our MO: to have these incredible guest stars come in for an episode here or an episode there, so we definitely have some incredible guest stars lined up.

Do you have any funny, behind-the-scenes stories from filming that you could share?

Oh my goodness, that’s kind of an all-the-time thing on the set of “Z Nation” (laughs). It’s not uncommon to giggle at some of the things overheard on the set of “Z Nation” about zombie guts, brains detached, snot, blood—it’s one of those shows where you come to set and go “What are we even doing today?” (laughs) Honestly, we should do a coffee-table book!

You mentioned earlier that we’re going to see Addy get in touch with her feminine side this season, but what else are you excited about in regard to her storyline?

I’m really excited about her getting to…. Addy’s great when she has a purpose and when she knows what she’s doing. So much of her is her warrior spirit and living for something bigger than herself. So, getting to go after Murphy on this mission—because, in many ways, she’s been there since the beginning so there’s a bond there—I’m really excited to see where this takes her. I’m excited to find what’s truly in store for the future of the world, which isn’t necessarily in Murphy. Instead, I think it’s in the next generation.

What books, shows, movies, etc. bring out the nerd in you?

Well, I have a Tardis tattooed on my body so I like “Dr. Who”…and I recently got into this historical fiction series but it’s more about time travel…so time travel, aliens, “Harry Potter”…I had “Shark Tank” and “Jeopardy” Tivoed at my house for a really long time, so there’s that…

You mentioned time travel. Have you had a chance to watch “Outlander”?

Yes, yes! I’m on the episode right before this season’s finale so you better not say anything! (laughs). Yes, I think she’s the greatest ever; that series is amazing.

 

The third season of Z Nation premieres on September 16, 2016.

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