Gangs Of London's Narges Rashidi On Performing One Of Season 2's Toughest Fights Herself [Exclusive Interview]

This post contains spoilers for "Gangs of London."

The electric first season of "Gangs of London" sees the London underworld thrown into disarray when Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney) is killed, setting his son, Sean Wallace (Joe Cole), on a path of disruption until the killer, the motive, and the family's enemies are found. In this growing web of chaos, we meet a number of characters and factions. These include Elliot Carter/Finch (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù), an undercover cop and talented combatant who endears himself to the Wallace family, and Lale (Narges Rashidi), the leader of a group of Kurdish fighters and drug runners, with a vendetta against Pakistani drug cartel head Asif Afridi (Asif Raza Mir).

Season 2 begins after the major upheaval of the first season, with Lale more dead-set than ever on revenge against Asif, despite her success in killing his son at the end of season 1. I sat down with Narges Rashidi to talk about Lale's journey in the second season, including her role in one of the most incredible action sequences in a season bursting with top-notch, cutting-edge action. We discussed the unexpectedly difficult moments of the episode's intense combat, the parts that were surprisingly easy, and more.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

'They made me hang upside down for two days'

Season 1 is so frantic and intense, and season 2 is even larger than life. Lale scores a major victory against Asif at the end of the first, so where is she at the beginning of season 2?

Well, not in a good place, because Asif is controlling the city. The investors have given him or are letting him rule London through Koba, which is a huge problem for Lale. And when we find Lale in season 2, she's already weakened by where we find her coming from, so that obviously is a huge problem. I feel like there's not one little moment for Lale in season 2 where she has the ability to actually breathe and let go. That's a big problem. 

So she has Asif as a problem, and then there's also her people who are kind of doubting her a bit. To me, that is the even bigger problem for Lale, because everything she does, she does for her people. She lives for them, her entire being. She even sacrifices her family for them, for her greater cause, and so we find a very distressed Lale, a Lale that will let down her guards at some point. What that does, we will see. I'm not going to spoil it. Wild and messy and dirty and emotional.

I loved your episode 6 battle royale, which is one of the series' best action sequences, and you specifically just regulated a whole bunch of antagonists over a very long period of time. It was pretty incredible. Tell me about shooting that.

Oh my god. I mean, honestly, I enjoyed every second of shooting that. It was the most intense that I've ever shot, and it went on for ... I think three weeks in a row we were shooting those, so it was very intense. And what can I tell you, I mean, just imagine you have to wrap your food into cling paper — how annoying is that? And I had to wrap a guy's head into cling paper and suffocate him, so that was very challenging that day. That was probably the most challenging [part], technically. 

Then they made me hang upside down for two days, which everybody thought is going to be so tough, but for some reason it wasn't that tough for me. I could bear that really easily, but I wasn't allowed to be upside down longer than two minutes, because then you can just lose your consciousness. It's not unhealthy or anything, It's just annoying, just a lot of blood flow through your head. That's [not] the hardest thing. 

No, the hardest thing ... everybody thinks, "Oh, the upside down, hanging upside down is tough." The toughest thing is actually the harness, because you're carrying all your body weight either on your shoulders or on your hips, depending on which harness you're wearing, and that was tough. I think I was numb on my hips for maybe six months or so. Yeah, so it was a lot of physical training to get there, to be able to do these fights, but great fun, great fun. And I was allowed to do all of it myself, which was amazing! I mean we have this incredible stunts team at "Gangs of London" who trained me and got me ready for it.

New episodes of Gangs of London season 2 premiere Thursdays on AMC+.