Comic-Con 2011: SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE Interview Recap

     July 23, 2011

 SPARTACUS VENGEANCE slice

As a fan of Spartacus: Blood and Sand (Season One) and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (the prequel series), I was excited to see what Season Two (named Vengeance) had in store for us.  While the cast and creator Steven S. DeKnight were generally tight-lipped about plot points, a couple of interesting tidbits slipped through.

Vengeance starts within a month or two after the end of Season One. Plans since the beginning was to have the women fight, since that is historically accurate.  There will be a female warrior towards the middle of the season.  Another addition will be Gaius Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker) who will be sent in by Rome to quell the slave uprising.  Ashur (Nick E. Tarabay) will return and Lucretia returns in Episode One, though how she survived the stabbing won’t be explained straight off, but DeKnight said it will be explained.  Continued after the jump.

Speaking of Lucretia, Lucy Lawless’s eyes light up when she speaks of her character.  I think of all of the cast, it was hardest for her to keep quiet about the juicy details of what’s in store for her in Vengeance.  Without her husband Batiatus, Lucretia will have to work her feminine wiles even more skillfully to make her way in the world and sex is a big weapon in her arsenal.

Liam McIntyre steps into the role of Spartacus for Season Two.  Everyone who spoke had praise for the newcomer as well as Andy Whitfield,  the show’s original Spartacus who left due to his fight against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  For Liam, it was a unique challenge and great honor to step into the role.  Coming off a film where he had to drop weight, McIntyre spent four months of personal bootcamp before signing on to the actual Spartacus bootcamp in an effort to put on the needed weight for the lead character.  This work ethic drew much regard from his castmates.  He said that one appeal to the story of Spartacus is that “It’s a vaguely pre-written history with a enough dot dot dots to make it interesting.”

Dustin Clare said his character of Gannicus has changed in the five years that passed between Gods of the Arena and Vengeance.  “He stays pretty solo.  He’s still a journeyman.  He’s got the pack on his back.  He’s a free man now.  A master of his own destiny.”  He said that the audience would see a different man than we saw in the prequel when the character returns near midway through the season (around Episode Five).  While Gannicus knows the love of many women, Clare feels the relationship with Oenomaus is the most important for Gannicus and that relationship will be tested.  Though Spartacus has been his introduction to the American audience, Clare just finished a film with Geoffrey Rush to be released in Australia later this year as well as a musical where he plays guitar, but doesn’t foresee a Jump The Shark-esque musical episode in the cards for Spartacus.

Liam McIntyreManu Bennett (Crixus) went into detail about the season’s title “There’s a lot of scores to settle in this show.  The season is called vengeance — that’s where the story lies.  This season is about retribution.  The Romans will want vengeance for staining their pride.  And they [the rebels] are free men with swords, but in the middle of the Roman country.”  He likened the second season to being escapees from a P.O.W. camp.  With the mixture of backgrounds and motives, there’s conflict as to who leads and to where.  One of the challenges in escaping from the confined nature of the previous season and the ludus was what is that world going to look like.  He says we can now expect forests, mountains, valleys, rivers, and seaside villages.  His character of Crixus’s intention in Season Two is immediately to find out what happened to Naevia (Lesley-Ann Brandt).

Bennett looked McIntyre in the eyes when he came in for his audition (during filming of the prequel). “They were honest.  He had conviction and honesty.”  When asked about the change in the actor playing Spartacus, Bennett likened it to how no James Bond will ever be the same, but they all have something different going for them.

Katrina Law (Mira) came into Season One six months into shooting, so she knows what it’s like for McIntyre to be the new kid on the block.  She said that he is humble, gracious and professional with a great spirit.   This helps because Mira is pretty heavily in love with Spartacus at this point, though she knows she could never replace his lost wife.  Mira is now trying to figure out what it means to be free and what she is willing to do to understand and keep that love.  The audience shouldn’t be surprised to see Mira get her hands dirty this season as different people find different ways to survive in the rebel camp.  The rebel camp will not a big happy family.  Law views the role of Mira as a once in a lifetime opportunity.  As an actor, she justifies why Mira does what she does, then re-addresses as new scripts and new information comes in.  As such, she’s already changed her backstory eleven times.

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