Spartacus: War of the Damned – Cast Interviews Part 2

SpartacusWOtDIt’s time for Part 2 of the Spartacus: War of the Damned cast interviews that took place on January 18th. Go behind the cut to see what else Steven DeKnight, Liam McIntyre, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Todd Lasance had to say about the upcoming season.

 

 

Steven I wanted to ask you about Agron and Nasir this season. And what can we expect from that relationship? And what have you heard from people on, just the gay element of the show? Which I love how you portray it very much a part of the world we see, but what have you heard from audience members? And what could we expect?

Steven DeKnight: I’ll answer this in reverse. You know, the support for Agron and Nasir has just been overwhelmingly positive. Better than I could imagine.

Steven DeKnight: I’m so used to reading the shipper name online. I always say Negron. It was so overwhelmingly positive. And with Agron and Nasir, we’ve had gay characters on the show before. But this was the first time we could develop the relationship from the very beginning. Very slowly. And actually see them fall in love. Which was something both Rob Tapert and I both really, really wanted to do. And I think that last season with Vengeance, Dan and Pana both did such a fantastic job that, that awkward realizing you like somebody and those (urgent) glances, and it was just so beautifully done.

So the reaction to that has been, you know, just fantastically positive. The reaction overall to our same sex relationships, it’s been both positive and negative. Just like any cross section of society. There’s a lot of people who do not have a problem with it, that think the characters are wonderful and the story line is beautiful. And there are segments out there that just freak out whenever you even mention such a thing.

Honestly there’s the same segment like with the male nudity. There’s a lot of guys that their head just sets on fire if there is a naked guy on screen. I personally don’t understand how either one of those is threatening if you’re a secure heterosexual male. But, you know, with some people we haven’t reached that point yet where everything is acceptable. And, you know, it just doesn’t bother you.

With Agron and Nasir this season, we continue exploring their relationship. You can’t always have a relationship that goes smoothly, there’s not a lot of drama in that. So we throw a couple of curve balls at them. But theirs is one of the relationships that I think is really kind of a cornerstone of this season. There are a lot of relationships going on, and there’s I think is particularly powerful, and gut wrenching, and beautiful.

Todd Lasance: Yeah I feel like it really (chops) the course of the rebellion. Because as things get hotter and hotter and more high stakes for the rebellion, it’s really there relationship that gives you that insight into how all the couples in the rebel camp are dealing with the scale of what they’re doing.

Steven DeKnight: They are a really good barometer as to what’s going on inside the rebel camp.

 

Good to hear you all again. I have a question for Todd. In light of what Steven talked about earlier in the call about not much being known about young Caesar in history. I was wondering how it feels to be making history.

Todd Lasance: To be perfectly honest with you I still remember so vividly the moment I found out I got the role. I was sitting with my parents at lunch and I got the phone call from my agent saying I was going to be playing Caesar and I nearly burst into tears because I was so excited. There were hugs all around and five minutes later I jumped in my car and I swear to God I was two minutes from calling up and pulling out of the role because the fear hit me of what I was just about to undertake.

It was extremely daunting, I will admit. I think personally I place a lot of pressure on my performances as it is, I’m very critical of myself. And I think with taking on someone like Caesar or anyone of historical value there’s – people have these preconceived sort of notions, or ideas, or images in their mind of what they would expect of Caesar. And for me as an actor, my fear came from a place of not necessarily when I have dialogue or when there is particular moments in a scene. It was more so when I’m not doing anything that I needed to, I felt this weight of needing to carry Caesar.

That you would look at, I had this idea in my head, that when you look at Caesar you need to see someone that would potential become one of the greatest rulers in history. So I think that played on my mind a lot and I wanted to do him justice, do you know what I mean? Whatever that justice would be. Especially with not having a lot of information to sort of work on I guess.

I had to go on a lot of instinct and a lot of work I did at home that I brought to the character. But my first day I was absolutely terrified, and it was obviously all shot in chronological order as far as episodes go. And the first thing that you do see on air was my actual first scene shooting.

So I think it was more just I wanted to do him justice and I was very aware of the fact that people had, quite famous actors had played the part and done incredible portrayals. And I wanted to live up to what people would expect to Caesar. I think it was probably also the expectations as well when they see Caesar, they’re going to expect to see some sort of X factor. So I’m just hoping that, you know, that comes across.

Steven DeKnight: And we’re all very glad you didn’t make that phone call.

Todd Lasance: I swear to God I sat in the car and I was terrified. The first moment was pure excitement and couldn’t believe it. But then, yeah, it just – I think it hit me what I was just about to undertake.

Liam McIntyre: That’s cool though, you get to define young Caesar. That’s pretty amazing.

Todd Lasance: But even you saying that is why I was so scared.

Liam McIntyre:  It’s yours now it’s awesome.

 

So another question for Todd, the thing that I like about Spartacus is that there is always this sort of machinations and the political side of it, which is really intriguing and dangerous. But then there’s also the brute force fighting too. Considering that, who do you feel is Caesar’s most dangerous foe? Tiberius or Spartacus?

Todd Lasance: Without a doubt Spartacus, 100%. I mean, I guess, that’s a really good question actually. Look, Spartacus is his ultimate nemesis because he has the tactical mind, the strategic mind, the political mind. But also the skill on the battlefield, and Caesar is aware of that.

So Tiberius obviously has a lot of strength and qualities that could be potentially dangerous to Caesar. Particularly the relationship between him and Crassus, but I think it’s made fairly clear early on that Caesar feels like he has power over Tiberius and isn’t necessarily a threat. But interestingly enough he’s kind of a threat unbeknownst to Caesar as well. So there’s a lot of little dark elements that go on through the season that the audience may not be aware of until they show themselves.

But as far as the ultimate, I guess you could say the ultimate nemesis would definitely be Spartacus. Caesar feels like he’s is a formidable opponent, but at the end of the day he’s aware that Spartacus has put together this legion of men.

I don’t think there’s an element of fear per se, but he’s certainly aware that once he does meet Spartacus it’s not going to be – it’s certainly going to be a show down.

 

Okay, alright. Now I assume that following history, you deserve congratulations for probably being one of the few people to survive the season. And I was wondering if there were to be a Caesar spin-off, would you be up for it?

Todd Lasance: Look, it would definitely be something we’d look at taking on for sure, without a doubt. There hasn’t been anything specifically officially spoken to me about, but it would definitely be something I would look at if it was brought to the table.

Liam McIntyre:  Sign me up for a box set.

 

Hi this question is for Steve actually. You know, you’ve had such great freedom with Starz to be able to craft this show and you’re working on another show. So what are some of the things that you’ve taken from your experience with Spartacus that you either want to move towards because it works very well for you, or are you looking to do some things very different in the same space?

Steven DeKnight: Well first off Starz has been, I can’t tell you the freedom that they have given us. I don’t think anywhere else on television in the United States would we have been allowed to just follow our path. Every now and then there was a question about, “this seems a little bit too naked.” Or, “that might be slightly too violent.”

I remember one of the biggest ones was my original idea of stabbing Lucretia, pregnant Lucretia, in the stomach in the end of season one. And at the time they said, “You can’t do that, are you nuts?” Everybody will hate Crixus if he does that.” And I said, “Lucretia is evil, they won’t hate him.”

And then I waited, I bided my time for around four or five months. And then when we got to the end of that first season the idea popped up of Lucretia actually surviving the slaughter and I saw my chance and I sprung and said, “What if the only way she could possibly survive is if Crixus stabs her in the stomach?”

Because otherwise he’s going to chop her head off. So I squeaked that one by.

Liam McIntyre: They probably didn’t win many of those battles by the sounds of things. If you’re talking about (unintelligible) right?

Steven DeKnight: You know, I thought there was going to be a bit of perhaps an argument of Lucretia taking the baby over the cliff at the end of last season. And I was shocked nobody said a peep about it, everyone was fine. At that point everybody thought that was a great operatic ending. So they have been just fantastic and very supportive creatively.

For the next project I’m working on developing a show for Starz called Incursion that’s literally light years away from Spartacus. It’s set in the future, it’s a science fiction military show about this war on another planet. So it’s very, very different.

That said, I’d like to take some of the same elements that I love about Spartacus. Not specific elements, but the general feel. With Spartacus, Rob Talpert and I always approached it that our job number one among all else was to entertain the audience. And we wanted to, you know, make sure it was emotional, and twisty, and turvy, and surprising.

But we never wanted to lose sight of the fact that we wanted the audience to enjoy the show. And I think too often on this television landscape, especially once you get to premium cable, sometimes you can lose sight of the fact that there is an audience. You’re not just making the show for yourself. And, you know, it’s not a sin to actually have people enjoy what they’re watching.

There is, however, a chance you win less awards that way. But I think it’s a fine, fine trade off to have the audience actually enjoy what you’re doing.

 

Is there enough in terms of it being – you know there is a lot of war in Spartacus, seems that war is the center of it. Is there a different approach to how you want to explore war? You know, obviously the timeframe is going to dictate a lot of that. But dramatically, considering that’s where a lot of your writing comes from, what is the future, or space, or that new environment giving to you to look at?

Steven DeKnight: You know Spartacus I always approached it as a grand operatic canvas. And that’s where everything is, the emotion, the language, the violence, they’re all bigger than life. They’re all stylized really. In the best kind of way, in the way that I love.

With the new show I’m looking to do the reverse. Where everything is much more real. You know, where the violence is very – it will be graphic, but it will be very real. And I really want to explore what happens to a person during war. How a person changes, and also explore – there’s a very strong religious undertone to the show. And explore religion and differences of religion. And how your ideas about God and faith can change during war time.

 

Actually I’d like to follow-up a little bit about the vision that you had for this season. And now you mentioned the new show about how war changes people and maybe their religious beliefs. You already hinted earlier that you wanted to make this one the bloodiest and give us some more good looking bodies like Todd. Did you want to show a little bit more? Because what I’ve seen so far of season 3, I see kindness and mercy but I also see insanity of the war. So do you basically already hint a little bit of what you make your next show? So what was your vision for this season?

Steven DeKnight: Something that was very important to me and Rob Tapert going into this season was not to shy away from the brutality of our heroes. That historically, actually historically it was much worse. The rebels broke out and basically raped, pillaged, and murdered their way across the land.

So we always wanted to show that and to explore, you know, how that in a way the rebels are right in what they’re doing. They’re lashing out at the society that tortured them, and murdered them.

On the other hand, they’re not lashing out at people that are guilty. The innocent get cut down just as much as the ones that perpetrated the crime. So it’s a very grey area morally with what the rebels do.

And there’s a lot of discussion with Starz, and this discussion went all the way back to the first season when the rebels were breaking out of (unintelligible), the question came up, “Well there are women in the (unintelligible). Shouldn’t they spare the women?” and Rob Tapert and I went, “Hell no. Of course they shouldn’t spare the women.” These are the same women that were standing up on the balcony, you know, yelling for two gladiators to kill each other. So just because they’re women, doesn’t mean that they’re forgiven for their crimes in our world.

And that really carries through this season, to an extreme. We explore some pretty dark, brutal things that happened on the rebels side. That really make you question whether or not you want to be rooting for the rebels. There’s a particular episode early on that is very, very brutal. Episode three.

It also gets you an insight into why some of the characters are the way they are and what happened to them in the past. So we really wanted to explore that for this season and the war. And not to make it cut and dry, clean, here are the heroes and they’re fighting the bad guys. I think that’s always, ultimately, unsatisfying. And something we’ve always really, really pushed to do on Spartacus is to make you question our heroes and at a certain point, make you love our villains.

Liam McIntyre: And just around that framework that you talk about Crassus and his compassion for slavery. And his respect for Spartacus as a slave. While others in the Roman camp say he was just a slave, he’s pretty good for just a slave. He’s got the sort of sense of compassion for slavery, or understanding of their plight. Whereas you juxtapose that against the newly free rebels who are not as compassionate shall we say.

Steven DeKnight: And I think you brought up something that is so important in this season. And something I wanted to make clear from the first episode of what makes Crassus different, unlike Glaber, unlike (Cassinius) and (Furius) who go after Spartacus that you’ll see early on in this season. They don’t, they always refer to Spartacus as that slave, that he’s nothing but a slave.

Crassus looks at him completely differently. Part of that I think Crassus is exposed to his own slaves who are very well educated. And he looks, he doesn’t look at Spartacus for what he’s been branded. He looks at Spartacus for what he’s done. And he sees that Spartacus is a brilliant tactician. And, you know, a man of keen intellect when it comes to battle. And he realizes that Spartacus will not be brought down with brute force. That to beat Spartacus, you have to play Spartacus’ game better than he does.

Which is very different than Glaber from last season. Crassus does not dismiss Spartacus. He realizes, you know, just how much of a threat he is. And how much of an opponent he is. And that kind of respect, I think, was really, really important.

And it works the other way around too. Spartacus has a very begrudging respect for Crassus.

Liam McIntyre: I quickly realize that I’m up against something quite different that I haven’t really seen before. I’ve been playing off the Roman idea that I’m no threat to them, I’m really just really good at what I do. And then all of a sudden someone comes along who knows how to think like I do and can sometimes out think me. And it puts a real big spanner in the works, it’s interesting.

Steven DeKnight: It does. I’m going to start using that phrase.

Liam McIntyre: Spanner in the works?

Steven DeKnight: Spanner in the works.

 

And then for the (unintelligible), Steven mentioned Victory in the finale. I assume you’re done shooting. So you’ve done, you’ve shot the Spartacus death. Can you talk a little bit, he publicly just admitted of crying, so what was the last day of shooting for your guys with the death. And is Spartacus’ death the bloodiest that we’re going to see? Or is he going to be…

Liam McIntyre:  Nobody said the word death now, easy darling.

Steven DeKnight: Hey now.

Steven DeKnight: Historically most people think Spartacus was crucified because that’s what happened in the Kurt Douglas movie. (Certainly) his body was never found. So we have some leeway. I can’t say, you know, we stay pretty close to history. But there will be a few surprises in the end.

 

Well anyways, can the actors just in general talk about the last day of shooting? If it was a tearful day because they were saying goodbye to everybody else and stuff?

Todd Lasance: Can I just move in on the fact…

Todd Lasance: …I was just going to say Liam, because he won’t talk about this, Liam gave the most incredibly humbled, beautiful speech I’ve ever witnessed. Out of any production I’ve ever worked on. We all came in for his last day and we got to see his final moment, which was a battle scene. And seriously it was incredible to be there. Everyone was just, yeah, in tears. There was a lot of emotion.

And Liam being the most humble person I think I’ve ever met. Gave the most beautiful speech, talking about thanking everyone else, and talking about everyone else, and what the production gave for him. Didn’t mention himself once. So for me, as an actor coming into the show just in the final season, it was a beautiful moment to see him not only finish, but also give an incredible speech. So that’s my perspective on it.

Liam McIntyre: Thanks, that’s sweet. The thing is, I think the actors and the crew, everybody who was involved with this to a man, to a woman. We can probably all agree that it fundamentally changed our lives in some way this experience. Two years ago I don’t even know, I’m almost a completely different person to who I was two years ago. And it’s an almost completely due to Spartacus. Spartacus is just one of those things that happens to very lucky people.

Cynthia Addai-Robinson: I was just going to add on top of this too. As far as the work experience and working in New Zealand, a lot of us were very far from home. And so we’re sort of working in this bubble and we became sort of a mini family. We all sort of lived close to one another, you know we’re seeing each other for very long shoot days.

So you get really used to it, and you realize as you’re wrapping up a show and a series, you’re also wrapping up your time in a really beautiful place with really beautiful people. So I think, you know, all of us were really trying to be excited about going back to all of our respective homes. But it was also very bitter sweet in saying goodbye to a lot of the wonderful crew and other people that are based in New Zealand.

Liam McIntyre: Yeah, it’s quite funny. I remember when I got the job one of the things that (unintelligible) said to me was (unintelligible) like a family.  And it will be like being part of a family. And he was unbelievably right. You’re right, it was just hard. Not only was that the most grueling and exhausting experience of my entire life, (unintelligible) demanding so much of every actor that was in it. But, yeah, at the same time you were saying goodbye to a family. It was hard, very hard.

 

I want to quickly end it on a fun note. We talked so much about Spartacus versus Caesar, what about Liam versus Todd? Who would actually win in real life? And for Steven, did you ever count how many buckets of blood have been used through all these seasons of Spartacus?

Steven DeKnight: No, I lost count. Too many pools of blood that we use.

Todd Lasance: I read like 300, what do you guys have gallons? Of blood.

Steven DeKnight: Yeah, it was a lot. A lot of people don’t realize we use a lot of CG effects. But a lot of the CG blood effects, is actual real fake blood. That we explode, and push, and cut.

Liam McIntyre: If I don’t see another blood balloon, I’ll be so happy.

Steven DeKnight: We have these blood balloons and we shoot them against a green screen. Usually with the actors smacking the shit out of them.

Liam McIntyre: It’s actually fun.

Steven DeKnight: I think we should have in the Spartacus box set, just one blooper reel of all the blood bad stuff…

Steven DeKnight: …what I love about when the actors miss with these blood bags is just how hard on themselves they are. You can see how upset they are that they missed that.

Liam McIntyre: That’s because we have Al Poppleton sitting there next to us going, “Mate, be less shit. Be less shit and do it right this time.”

 

You’re going to have to play Bond next time so you can wear a tuxedo right?

Liam McIntyre: That would be amazing. Oh my God. I once had all of my legs, well not all of my legs, all of my limbs stuff together with blood. Because I was covered in so much blood that I couldn’t actually separate my body from the blood.

 

And Liam versus Todd? Who would win honestly?

Liam McIntyre: Oh Todd is brutal, he’s built like one of those Michelangelo statues that you get in Rome. It’s…

Todd Lasance: No mate, I stopped working out a little bit. I finished that training regime.

Liam McIntyre: That’s hilarious, you stopped training. I’m sorry but you’re just built like no other human being can be built.

Todd Lasance: We would just hug it out. That’s the thing, no fighting.

Liam McIntyre:  No, but he’d hug the breath out of me.

 

First question is for Steven, and it’s just a very general one Steven. I wanted to find out what have you enjoyed most about your Spartacus experience? And what, also, are you maybe going to take away from it both on a personal and professional level? If you don’t mind me asking?

Steven DeKnight: You know, one of the things I have enjoyed most about Spartacus is the joy of watching it. And just being amazed at how it all comes together. I mean, this is the kind of show that I just love. I think having the opportunity to play with language like this as a writer has just been phenomenal and, you know, unless we do a Caesar spinoff I doubt will ever happen again.

And the faith that Starz and Rob Tapert placed in me to do this slightly odd, effected, constructed language was just enormous. And there was a lot of worrying early on. There was a lot of discussion about if the audience is going to understand anything that’s being said. And, you know, I (unintelligible) to get used to the way people talk. But as a writer, there’s just no greater joy to have the freedom to play with language like that. And to see your words come to life on screen by such fantastic actors, was just an absolute joy.

What were the other two parts of the question?

 

Just maybe what you were going to take away from it on both a personal and professional level?

Steven DeKnight: Well professional level, it’s just – I can’t even begin to explain what it’s done on a professional level. I think, for me, on a professional level, it’s done what it’s done for some of the actors.

It took me from writing on shows as at the time I was the co-executive producer, you know basically working for other people. And happily working for other people, actually working for Joss Wheden when I landed this job. But it took me from being a writer to being an executive producer/creator. Which is a very difficult set for a writer to make. It really requires a leap of faith from someone to give you that opportunity. It’s absolutely changed my career.  It put me at a different level. It put me into the exclusive show runner category.  Which aren’t a lot of in Hollywood. So on a professional level it’s just been stunning.

On a personal level it’s just – I’ve never created a show. And I’ve never guided a show from the very beginning to the very end. And just to go through that process and all the ups and downs, the triumphs and the tragedies from where we started when we first aired. We were universally hated, reviews were terrible. And to follow that to the end of the season where it all turned 180 and we were getting praised.

It was such a roller coaster ride and, you know, the deep lasting emotions about Andy about having, you know, helped discover him and bring his talent to the world. And then to find out he was sick. And then to be told he was better and only to relapse and pass away, was, you know, so heartbreaking. It’s still difficult to talk about.

And then the rollercoaster ride of keeping the show going against all odds, bringing it back after the prequel. And see the ratings just keep rising. On a personal level it’s just – it’s hard to describe. It’s stunning. It’s a deep, deep gratitude for having had this opportunity.

 

And then final question, for Liam, and it’s a two parter Liam. What is kind of stepping back into the role this season, what maybe or did you discover any new acting challenges with the role this season? And then part two of the question, how maybe have you seen yourself sort of grow as an actor playing this character?

Liam McIntyre: Well it’s been a journey of a lifetime. Like Steven for saying. For me, to come out of such unbelievable tragedy and agony. And this year, I guess I had that year behind me to feel like, “Okay, I can be Spartacus. This can be my role a little bit this year.” I was so overjoyed that the fans kept loving the show after Andy’s amazing job and me just trying to make sure I can honor that. And this year I was like, “Well what else can I bring to this guy?” and it was great.

The writers gave me a whole new guy. He’s obviously the same Spartacus, but I mean, in my normal life growing up I was never like the alpha male. I remember getting into the boot camp for the very first time weird to see people like Manu Bennett, these just monstrously powerful men, you know. And these amazing characters. And I just sort of stand there, especially as I was just getting into things. When I was very underweight and trying to train my ass off. Going, “Hell I’m not going to be able to lead these people.” Because there is an element of life that imitates art. So when you’ve got that many strong men together, even though they’re acting, they’re also kind of not acting at a certain level.

You know, so it was – that first year was an interesting process in seeing what made me a leader anyway. This was my first experience with being the lead of the show and things like that, so it was quite strange. And this year it requires Spartacus to be absolutely the dominant male as it were. He had to be absolutely sure of himself, absolutely able to in a heartbeat say, “this is what we’re doing, and there’ll be no discussion.”

And to embody that, for a person who historically like me – I was, I’m just not that kind of strong, tough, unwavering guy in real life. So that was a fascinating challenge. It’s why you get into acting. To just be people that you want to be. Spartacus is an amazing character and a phenomenal human being.

The idea that he really exists, still actually boggles my mind. That a guy could lead so many desperate cultures of down trodden people to any kind of unity like that is incredible. But it was, it was a fantastic opportunity to build on what I’d been learning every day of the previous year. And, you know, I’ve seen a rough cut of the final episode and, you know, to see the first episode I did of this show versus the last episode.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given. I’ve gotten to grow so much this year. I’ve learned so many things, I’ve got to work another astounding selection of actors and build relationships with the ones that I’ve worked with last year. I mean, they have amazing talent on this show and I love working with people like Dustin Clare, he’s just – you sort of work with him and he’s so effortless. You just, “Oh, okay. That scene seemed to go well.” And then you see him on camera and you go, “Geez that guys amazing.” You know, he’s truly fantastic.

So I’ve gotten to learn so much from my fellow actors. I’ve gotten to be directed by incredible people. I got to work with truly great scripts that you just don’t get. And, you know, people like Rob Tapert who are just so inspired in their vision and so clear in their message of getting that vision.

Early in the first one, in Vengeance, I was like, “Wow, you get to this stage in your career and it feels like your cheating.” Like I’m used to working on short films and student films with no crew and nothing, and then suddenly you’ve got hundreds of people just trying to make your performance look wonderful. It’s opportunities like that that are just incredible in an actor’s growth. And that’s why I think so many of those in the cast have had their lives completely changed by what is truly a phenomenal and one of a kind show. We’ve all got to grow so much.

 

Good morning. Steven we’ve talked a lot about the violence that’s in the season. But are there going to be any epic battles that you can talk about? And just for the actors, so they can think about it while you’re talking, I’d like them to tell me what their favorite episode is when you’re done.

Steven DeKnight: Sure, there are many epic battles. We start off at the tail end of one, that we see in the trailer, a great reveal of Spartacus coming up over a hill charging on a horse. And we really wanted to use that image, you know, this season is different. The scope is just spectacular.

There’s a running battle that happens mid-season that I think is pretty damn cool. And, of course, we build to an epic conclusion. I think the biggest battle that we’ve ever attempted, which is truly spectacular and I’m still scratching my head how we actually pulled that one off.

But yeah, the battles are fantastic. But more importantly, just like the early days of this show with the gladiator fights. The important thing for us was, what’s the emotion behind the battle? Who wants what? Who needs what? What are the stakes for the characters? Not just, you know, big fights. And that was a tricky part this season because the battles are so gigantic, but I think we managed to nail that one.

 

Great. Thanks, and now the actors, favorite episodes?

Cynthia Addai-Robinson: I’ll go first I guess. Well I’ve only seen the first couple of them, so when we’re performing it versus what the final end result is. Is, you know, a night and day difference from what I’ve seen from the first couple episodes. Because you have to remember too, you know, often times we’re essentially working in from of a green curtain and we have an amazing post production team. They’re kind of the unsung heroes of the whole thing. Because they, especially this season, and I think advancements in technology – it’s cinematic, some of these backdrops and environments that we’re using this season.

So I think the audience is going to particularly be into that. I can say that I think my favorite episode that we worked on, which I haven’t seen yet, is sort of more towards the end. And that would be episode eight.

It was a monster, monster episode to shoot. And obviously can’t go into any details but I know, again, as a fan, as an audience member it’s one of the ones I actually can’t wait to see. And I’ve heard sort of little whispers about it, but I think that, you know, each episode we can’t afford to waste a frame, a word, a scene. Each episode is so dense, you know, there isn’t any one episode that’s kind of a lull in the season. Each episode ends and your jaw is on the floor and you’re like, “Oh my God. What’s next? What’s next?” so they’re all pretty powerful.

 

Anybody else?

Liam McIntyre: For me, I just can’t wait to see episode nine and how that comes together. Because, for me, that’s just before the epic finale. So (unintelligible), I don’t know it’s sweet, it’s emotionally hard, and it integrates with history in parts I’ve been really looking forward to since the start of the story. And obviously again, I wouldn’t go through it and ruin it for people. But yeah, I was looking forward to some of that since I got the role.  So there’s some stuff in line that I think you’d be really – well I’m excited to see.

Todd Lasance: It’s always difficult picking a favorite episode because they have so many different elements. Liam just nailed it when talking about the shifts and also what Cynthia said about leaving your jaw dropped. I’m going to go with both of their answers.

Todd Lasance: It’s so boring but it’s so true. Anywhere sort of seven, eight, nine. I mean there’s a lot for me to do personally in seven. But yeah Cynthia is right, there’s some jaw dropping moments which just leaves it hanging. And then the next episode just floors you again, you think, “No, it can’t get any better than that.” and it just continues to escalate. So yeah, any of those episodes in there the audience is just going to be gagging for the next episode. Because it’s one of those moments.

 

We were talking about relationships earlier Steven, and you mentioned that in a sense Kore and Caesar are kind of part of a surrogate family with Crassus and Tiberius. And I was just wondering, how did you develop the Crassus/Caesar relationship beyond commanding officer and commanded officer.

Steven DeKnight: Well to start with I took a page out of history. Crassus and Caesar, they have a very complicated relationship. They appear to be very close but they also, the letters that they sent back and forth that they really traded barbs. One of the most famous ones was Crassus came to Caesar’s aid and paid the ransom when Caesar was kidnapped by the pirates. But Crassus didn’t actually rush to pay it, and Caesar sent basically a, you know, rather irate note, you know, “Thanks for the payment, what the fuck took so long?”

So they had a very, it was almost like a love/hate relationship. But Crassus definitely needed Caesar. He did not have the storied name that would propel him to the top of politics. And Caesar had the Julian name but had no money, he was broke. Crassus paid off a bunch of his debts and helped fund him in his political lies.

So we really wanted to explore the early days of that. That these are two guys that there is a mutual respect, and even I think, at the barest essence of their characters, a fondness for each other. But they are often at odds. Even though they’re working towards the same goal. They often don’t agree with each other. It’s a very rocky relationship. And really that was my building blocks for this relationship.

But you will see as we go along, that Caesar is very loyal to Crassus. And Crassus does have a great respect for Caesar. In my mind, I think Crassus feels like Caesar is kind of like a son to him. And, you know, it’s almost like the son you wish you had. Which causes problems with his real son.

And Caesar and Crassus’ son Tiberius, this is really like, I played it as much as I could like two brothers. You know, each vying for their father’s approval. And it causes a very interesting dynamic and spins into a hell of a great story.

Todd Lasance: I like the way that you created this symmetry through a lot of so much of this season. Spartacus and Crassus, they’re not entirely separate from each other. And Spartacus and Crixus and Caesar and Crassus, they’re both very dominant in their two groups. And they’re both fighting for what they believe is right, they’re both similar but very different. There’s great symmetry in terms of all the stories this time around, I think it’s very nice.

Steven DeKnight: Yeah, we were definitely shooting for that two sides of the same coin feel with the rebels and the Romans.

 

And there you have it! Some really interesting stuff from Steven DeKnight and the cast, so make sure you tune in to catch all the action in this epic last season!

Spartacus: War of the Damned airs Friday nights at 9pm on Starz.

 

Source: Starz
Reporter: Mirjana

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