The epic story of Spartacus continues in Season 3 with rich storytelling, stunning visuals and realistic gladiatorial combat unlike anything seen on TV. Australian actor Liam McIntyre takes over the role as the fierce Thracian warrior in Spartacus: Vengeance. The part of Spartacus was played in the first season by acclaimed Andy Whitfield, who was forced to leave the show due to health issues. In this interview, cast members and Executive Producer Steven S. DeKnight reveal their passion and emotional investment in the series that has captivated so many fans.
The producers have sworn you to secrecy. That said, where do you hope Gannicus will go? What’s his journey?
Dustin Clare (Gannicus): He’s pretty solo, really. He’s a journeyman. He continues to be a man of his own world. He’s got a pack on his back and he gets to make his own decisions when we find him again. He doesn’t have anyone to answer to. He’s not controlled by the caste structure of the ludus. He’s very much a master of his own destiny.
You put a challenge out to Crixus. Will you be running into him? Or at least looking for him?
DC: He’s going to run into everyone again. He’ll be visiting new characters. He definitely has relationships that he’ll have to re-establish and re-connect with. We also see a change in the man, a change from where we saw him in the prequel. He hasn’t exactly been away studying how to be a hairdresser. He’s been changing and growing. We’ll see a different man. A man who has a lot of skeletons to deal with. I’m excited to see where the writer’s will be taking the character. I like to keep the audience guessing as to where he’s going and where he’s coming from. Some of his foibles will remain intact, but after 5 years, we’ll be seeing a change in Gannicus.
Will Gannicus have a love interest? Will he find someone?
DC: I think Gannicus always has love interests.
Will he be fighting for pay? How will he survive?
DC: Good question. Just scraps, basically. He’ll live off the earth.
What will happen to Lucretia?
Steven S. DeKnight: She’ll be introduced in episode one. You’ll get an inkling of what’s going on with her. How she survived the stabbing, you won’t know right off, but it will be explained.
Will the baby Survive?
SD: I can’t tell you that. But it’s one of my favorite story lines.
What was your boot camp like?
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus): It’s agony, obviously. That’s kind of a prerequisite. But because I come from a place where the last film I did, I had to lose weight and get in shape, by the time the official boot camp came up, I’d already done like four months of boot camp, so I was like, I’m feeling up to this. It’s exciting, too, to be able to keep up with the grueling routine. It was very demanding.
Where do you hope your character will go?
LM: The beauty of this is that it’s kind of a vaguely pre-written history with enough dot, dot, dots to make it as exciting as you want it to be. So, I’ve got no complaints with the way the history goes. I think leading a massive army is a pretty exciting job.
Lucretia took a sword in the abdomen the last time we saw her. Are you hoping her unborn child will live?
Lucy Lawless (Lucretia): I’m hoping for that, yes. I don’t know how that’s going to go down. If the baby dies, she would have lost the promise of a nuclear family. She would have lost all support, all male support. She would have had nothing in ancient Rome. Without a man to prop her up, she would have no money, no talent. So what’s she going to do to survive? I don’t know. And raising that kid. Whew!
Now that you and Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) have become such close friends, will you be looking her up?
LL: Close? Et tu Brutus. Our relationship becomes much more tangled. I love that Viva Bianca is the actress playing Ilithyia. She’s a great colleague and a great acting partner. We like to mess with the audience’s mind. You’ll get to see more of her. The episode is called Angel and my character has a lot of payback to dish out.
You have a family. Do your kids watch the show?
LL: All of my children have survived to at least 8 years old and they’ve never seen the show. One of my kids loves horror–the youngest one. He can totally handle those types of shows. My daughter, who is now 12 years old, works on the show.
Can you give us any clues about Lucretia’s romance in the new season?
LL: All I can tell is that she continues to use sex as a weapon.
You have a score to settle with Gannicus. Will you run into each other?
Manu Bennett (Crixus): Words were exchanged at the end of the prequel along the lines of “We’ve not yet proved ourselves in proper challenge.” There’s a lot of scores to settle in the show. I don’t think I’d place that one as the most important. It’s a big possibility. All the characters that the fans expect to see will show up at some point. Even some characters they don’t expect to see, like Lucretia. The season’s called Vengeance, so that’s where a lot more of the energy lies. I don’t have vengeance against Gannicus, necessarily, but I do have an eagerness to test my mettle against him. This season is definitely more about retribution–on both ends. The Romans want vengeance against us for staining their pride, and we’re now free men with swords in our hands. That said, we’re in the middle of the enemy’s country. If they can find us, we’ll take our vengeance upon them. There are a lot of things that are plotted through the series so far that give us even more reason to want vengeance. It’s a good title for this season.
Will your character change this season?
MB: I’ve always tried to change my character all of the time. One of the things I’m always thankful for as an actor in portraying Crixus is that he’s always changing. He always has to confront something—either of the heart or a physical challenge or the darkness. There are things in the mix going on that make this season for me especially challenging. Things about manhood and leadership that keep changing my character. But I think that’s what makes our show interesting for the audience. The stagnation of potentially one set, one character, one neighborhood, is not the case with our show. One of the great things about this season is that instead of being shot around the ludus and the fighting arenas, we actually go out in the real world. And one of the biggest things we were discussing was exactly what that world would look like. On a television budget, can you do it, can you have a great result? Episode one of season one was pretty challenging for our creative team because they had to start off with nothing and we got a lot of criticism about how that world looked a bit unreal. But in season three, you’ll see an aerial shot of the mines. It looks like the diamond mines in Africa. And it’s so real, we wondered how we did it on our budget. The world that we’re in looks amazing. The forests, mountains, valleys, rivers, seaside villages, everything looks amazing.
Will you run into Ashur (Nick Tarabay)? You didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms.
MB: Well, he didn’t die. He’s a sneaky bugger. Everyone knows he’s going to show up at some point. It’s called Vengeance.