‘Mayor of Kingstown’: Tobi Bamtefa Explains Bunny’s True Feelings About Mike

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[Warning: This post contains spoilers for Mayor of Kingstown, Season 3, Episode 3, “Barbarians at the Gate.”]

Mayor of Kingstown is in full swing for Season 3, and Mike McLusky (Jeremy Renner) has got his hands completely full. Not only is there a new player in town — the Russian mobster Konstantin, who’s despicable enough to leave a baby to almost starve to death in a dumpster after killing its mom — but things are also getting chaotic inside the prisons as well. An OG named Calahan has taken over the Aryan gang, and he’s scary enough to make Mike shudder.

That latter bit of news came as a surprise to Mike when Bunny (Tobi Bamtefa) delivered it. After Bunny’s supply was poisoned, Mike encouraged a deal between the Crips and the Colombians, but Bunny didn’t expect it to come with such a hefty price tag. On top of that, he’s dismayed that Mike hasn’t already heard about the ruckus inside. Is he losing his touch?

TV Insider spoke with actor Tobi Bamfeta about these developments and how Bunny truly feels about Mike after all they’ve been through together — for better and for worse.

In this episode, Bunny catches Mike slipping a bit when it comes to the AB’s new shot caller. I’m reminded of the last time he wasn’t fully aware of what was going on, and it didn’t go well for Bunny.

Tobi Bamfeta: So if we go back to Season 2, I think that the main gripe that Bunny had with Mike was that he was moving a little too slow. But that’s not because Bunny is impatient; it’s because the longer he’s in there, the likelier he is to suffer serious, serious injury or death. So Mike has to move a lot quicker. Yeah, I don’t think that feeling ever really dissipates. It’s difficult for it to, simply because of the environment they live in. The environment they live in is one is a very precarious one, dealing with real gangsters. There’s not much else to expect but the unexpected.

Can he still trust Mike even when he’s off of his game?

He has to. He has to because Mike is the mayor of Kingston, so he has to trust that. If he didn’t, he would have made alternative arrangements. So yeah.

Their relationship seems to be both professional and personal. What’s your take on how Bunny feels about Mike?

I mean, you would — for somebody like Bunny, anyway, for a character like that — you wouldn’t have drinks with somebody you didn’t trust like that. And if you did, it would be with the view of trying to figure out and take them out. But they tend to have very genuine conversations. They have a really good banter that you don’t really see with any of the other characters and stuff. So, yeah, there is a genuine trust, and it’s commented on by the other characters in the show.

Bunny has a somewhat cavalier attitude about the fact that some of his guys have been poisoned in prison, and probably his customers, too. Why is that?

I think that attitude comes from the harshness of the life he lives. This is somebody who sells narcotics, and he’s witnessed every worst thing, and people he’s lost throughout this. So there’s a certain callousness that you sort of have to develop in order to not be affected. Doesn’t mean that you’re not affected by it. It just means that you can sort of put yourself aside a lot. That’s the callousness that  Bunny lives with. That’s the world that he lives in. Anything can happen, and he has to be prepared for that.

Bunny talks like a nihilist sometimes, saying things like all life is suffering, but he also has a jovial demeanor at times. How do you interpret that?

The humor is a coping mechanism. I attributed it to that because that is what I use at times when things get a little bit heavy. The best way to take the edge off is to kind of find the humor in the weirdest places. You have to sort of make yourself laugh, otherwise, you feel it in your body, and you can’t escape it, and there is a cycle in your head, and you can’t come out of it. So that’s his coping mechanism for living in this world, in being an African American in America and having to navigate that, as well as having people’s lives in your hands and feeding your family. You have to have a good sense of humor, otherwise you would you would fall victim to any of the vices that he sells. It could be women, alcohol, drugs, whatever it is. It could be because he could become one of the people that he sells drugs to if he doesn’t have a way of [coping] in this world and a callousness to go with it.

L-R: Phil Rice as Digo and Tobi Bamtefa as Bunny in episode 2, season 3 of Mayor of Kingstown streaming on Paramount+ Photo Credit: Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +

Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +

We got to see some of Bunny’s personal life, the inside of his home and his family. Were you surprised by how quaint his home life is?

It’s not surprising, because these people, unbeknownst to most, are human beings. They have lives, they are connected into their community in a way that is often overlooked and disregarded because society tells us that this person is a very dangerous person. But this gangster also may have children, people to look after. You wouldn’t do something like that if it wasn’t for your own self-preservation in the world that they live in. And again, it’s like I mentioned, being, being an African American and navigating that in America, and not just that, but you’re in Kingstown. You’re surrounded by prisons. It’s really slim picking. They don’t really have much, so you have to find some way of surviving. And I think that that survival mentality, is also something that is indicative in Kingstown as a whole. The people in Kingstown also have that. They do. They are very blue-collar. They go to work because they have to kind of do it. They’re going to make with what they have. That’s the mentality that they have. And yeah, this is their home. They’re not going to be shifted from it. They’re going to do what they can with it. And, yeah, that carries through.

What’s it been like to work with Jeremy Renner and see him overcome such odds?

Oh, mate, people don’t actually know, but Jeremy is actually hilarious. He’s a very funny guy. He could be quite serious — he’s serious because he’s running lines through in his head… He’s trying to carry the character, and his schedule is insane. But there’s a humor that he has, which is, I think it’s absolutely hilarious, so that sort of brings levity to it. And the fact that he’s able to still maintain that even after everything he suffered last year, everything that happened to him last year is, I guess it is a testament to his fortitude and the kind of person that he is. He still he still managed that. He still has a very positive outlook on life. He’s very fearless. He has a very fearless approach to a lot of things, which made me reconsider some things in my own personal life. Like, ‘Why am I so afraid of this?’ or ‘How do I approach these in a more fearless manner?’ That’s what I’ve learned from him.

Mayor of Kingstown, Sundays, Paramount+

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