Starz Duo to Unite with Legend to Celebrate Memoir

When Kirk Douglas goes to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Goldenson Theater on May 31st to celebrate the release of his new book, he’ll have some special guests with him.

Starz has announced that Steven DeKnight and Liam McIntyre will both be joining the legendary actor as he talks about his book “I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist.” Mr. Douglas played the title role in the iconic 1960 film Spartacus, which he also produced. Steven DeKnight is the creator and producer of Starz Network’s hit show about the leader of the slave rebellion, in which Liam McIntyre stars as Spartacus.

Read more after the jump.

When Douglas’s film was released in 1960, it caused no small amount of controversy. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted as part of the Hollywood Blacklist, which denied employment to certain industry professionals based on their political beliefs/associations.  Kirk Douglas openly gave credit to Trumbo for his work on the film, leading some journalists to call for the film’s boycott. Thankfully the public didn’t listen; even President Kennedy came out in favor of the film after crossing picket lines to see it.

While the Blacklist is sure to be a hot topic, Mr. Douglas and his guests will also be discussing the cultural impact of Spartacus (both film/series and character), then and now. “I am happy that Spartacus continues to live in the Starz series, but why didn’t they ask me to play him?” Mr. Douglas jokes. ” I made a film about freedom at a time when freedom was in jeopardy and a blacklist had been in effect in Hollywood for more than a decade. There are parallels in today’s political climate, which is why a hero like Spartacus still resonates, I believe. Also, it helps to look good in a loincloth!”

While Liam McIntyre fits the bill when it comes to looking good in costume, he’s also aware of the cultural significance of the character he plays. “Spartacus has a legacy like few other men,” McIntyre says. “He has inspired millions of people and entire social movements. It is my immeasurable honor to discuss such an iconic character with Mr. Douglas and Steven DeKnight, who have both breathed new life into this legend in exciting and ground breaking ways.”

It’s absolutely true that, when placed side-by-side, the two versions couldn’t be more different. Mr. Douglas’s Spartacus was controversial for its time, but DeKnight’s version is grittier, sexier, and far more violent, even by today’s standards. Mr. DeKnight will discuss the advantages of modern production elements that help give his version such a distinctive look. Also, it helps that he’s able to tell his story on premium television. Even so, the overarching themes and intricacies of bring such a well-known character to the big screen are common threads binding the two together.

“I’m unbelievably humbled,” Mr. DeKnight says, “not only to have the opportunity to sit down with a Hollywood legend that has inspired me and countless others, but also to discuss how the story of Spartacus has resonated for thousands of years throughout the world.”

“I am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist” will be available in paperback and eBook editions on June 12th from Open Road Media. Spartacus: Vengeance recently wrapped up a record breaking season on Starz, and filming has begun on the 3rd season of the hit franchise.

Source: Starz
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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