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This week I was thrilled to participate in a conference call interview with four cast members from Spartacus: Vengeance, which has it's third season premiere on Starz on January 27th. The call included cast members Lucy Lawless, Liam McIntyre, Peter Mensah and Viva Bianca who spent over an hour talking with all of us about their characters, where the show is going, and the challenges of filming such an intense series.
The first thing that came across in listening to these actors was that there is a genuinely fun and dedicated spirit to their work. They view the series not as history, but as what-if history, that first and foremost entertains the audience. The settings, culture and feel of the show may be genuine to that time period, but the stories are pure entertainment.
There were questions about how the recent death of actor Andy Whitfield, who originally played the title role of Spartacus, affected the show. In an interview that was fun and light-hearted, this was the one moment where you could feel the sense of loss, and also the sense of responsibility on the part of Liam McIntyre to live up to Andy's portrayal of Spartacus.
He said that he doesn't expect to simply replace him, or to do better, but hopes that he's able to maintain what Andy began and lead the character in a direction that feels consistent and right to him and to the audience. He doesn't think everyone will automatically love what he does, but hopes they'll look at it with a critical eye and discover that he is, if not exactly the same Spartacus, one that is true to what Andy created.
When asked how they manage to portray such ruthless characters, Lucy said that she had to find a way to see things from Lucretia's point of view. These people didn't see slaves as human and saw them as nothing but property and she forced herself into that mindset. It's completely different from where we are today, but there is reason and motive that's appropriate to the times in which these characters lived and finding that is the key to making their characters real.
There was much joking about all the sex scenes, especially the awkwardness that never really goes away. They laughed that the show might put a spark into the sex lives of viewers, but for the cast it's the reverse. Lucy even related going home and having a good cry from just the stress and intensity of all the emotions that she has to go through in a day of filming.
It's been a long wait for season three and thanks to the good folks over at Starz, I'm pleased to offer one of my readers a "Sparty Party" prize pack. The pack includes (4) Spartacus T-shirts, (2) Spartacus water bottles, fake blood and a $20 Domino’s Pizza gift certificate to feed you and your friends as you watch the premiere. This contest runs through noon EST on Saturday, January 21st so there's time to receive your prize. Leave a comment about who is your favorite Spartacus character and why and I'll choose a winner at random. In the meantime, check out the not-for-kids preview below, and good luck! (US entries only)
Congratulations to Ashley who won the party pack and thank you to everyone who entered!