In preparation for the season premiere of Spartacus: Vengeance, some of the cast took some time to speak with journalists.
Joining us was the always sexy and well spoken Lucy Lawless, who plays the beautifully deceptive Lucretia, the gorgeous Viva Bianca, who plays the deliciously devious Illythia, and the picture of strength, Peter Mensah, who portrays Oenomaus (formerly Doctore). Also joining on the call to discuss his premiere as the righteous and brave Spartacus is the extremely beautiful and gorgeous Liam McIntyre.
We discussed their characters, cast interactions, why they love being on this show. and so much more. Jump ahead to check it out.
On what we’ll see from Ilithyia in this season
Viva Bianca: I think, you know, obviously what we all saw in season one was that Ilithyia developed into a more and more of a complex woman. So, you know, in turning into season two, Spartacus: Vengeance. Ilithyia has that whole recent history of really a guilty past. And a suitcase of treachery lies in deceit. So, firstly she has a lot to fight for and she’s had a lot to fight against. And, you know, as people become aware in season – in episode one, Ilithyia lands right back at the place she so much wants to escape. So it kind of just, you know, ends of playing out as a fight for her life really.
Lucy Lawless: That’s right. That’s right, it is a fight for her life, and her husband’s affections.
Viva: That’s right, and I think with regards to Ilithyia and Lucretia, what’s so interesting in season two is that, because of the circumstances in which they both landed, they are forced into a situation of becoming a lot closer than they even were in season one. Which means a potential for drama and the unraveling of relationship revelation is so much more interesting. Really there’s a lot in store in too for this female relationship.
Liam McIntyre: Well that’s what I like about all the characters. I think it’s safe to say that every single character has death rider at the corner every time – at every turn, actually. From Spartacus all the way up to you guys.
Liam on what was needed to get in shape for this role
Liam: Well it’s a rare and lucky person who gets to be a 10-year-old for a whole year. It’s fantastic. But I mean getting into shape, well I – I mean early on when I started the process of testing for this role, I’d done another film where I was 45 pounds lighter or thereabouts. So I was going for that whole machinist look. And unfortunately I was succeeding. And so getting from that – well first of all, I thought there was no way I’d ever even be considered, but they did consider me.
And I got taught exactly how horrible training can be. In much the way that people say, “Do you get used to sex scenes?” And the answer’s generally “No.” “Do you get used to lifting ridiculous amounts of weights?” No really. I think the point is that you do it and it really hurts. But it’s one of the few things in life where you get to see tangible results. So I guess it’s worthwhile.
On how the sexual nature of the show affects the cast
Lucy: I’ve done things again this season that I’ve never, ever done before and never seen on television before. And it was very heavy duty. There were days when I would just go home and have a – just have a quiet little melt-down and be, you know, just go to sleep. Because it was so demanding emotionally. So let me tell you, this does great things for the viewer’s sex life. Not so much for the participants. It’s like aversion therapy. Sometimes I do need a hug because it’s harrowing .It’s really harrowing.
Viva: You know, some of the sex scenes or storylines in Spartacus that involve sex are actually not in any way of a turn-on. They can be quite brutal. I mean the show is talking about exploitation of slaves and of women and a lot of the violence is actually talking about some very serious stuff. So it’s kind of far from a turn-on. And can be quite horrific, and as an actor to carry that, you know, it can be quite heavy on us
On the relationship between Mira and Spartacus
Liam: Well I guess who doesn’t need love deep down? You know, I think that’s very true of everybody. So it’s, you know, that was a great thing to get to play with all year because, you know, in season one, Sura said you will never love another person. And that’s kind of like a truism for Spartacus’s existence. So he now has the problem is – which is a real problem for everybody that falls into those horrible circumstances that, you know, can you ever love again.
I think Spartacus certainly wants so, and he’s going to try. But it’s very difficult of thing for him to try and – not only move on, but move into any relationship. So it’s a constant struggle throughout the season.
On the relationship between Spartacus and Crixus
Liam: It’s one of the great parts of the season, I really think. There’s a – in fact, all of the kind of, I guess you call them the big dogs on campus, you know all the alpha males, they have a very difficult journey trying to even get along because of the nature of who they are. And so with Crixus and Spartacus there’s a desire to work together but just a difference of view which really just dovetails and splits apart throughout the season and that goes and that’s true with other characters that appear in the rebels camp that are very powerful characters.
And part of the battle that Spartacus has is to A, want to lead them and then find a way to do that and actually unify people. So to this day I still don’t understand how one man can unify so many different cultures and creeds into one cause. I mean, I don’t know if it’s ever been done before or since.
On how the fans will embrace Liam as Spartacus, as opposed to Andy
Liam: You know, that’s all right because again like I said, I mean, I would demand the scrutiny of fans in that sense. I hope they come asking difficult questions because frankly I would if I was in the reverse situation. I’m not, you know, trying to pretend that I am Andy or that I’m going to be matching Andy in any particular way. I just hope that I do the character justice and that…
Lucy: And you do. You do.
Liam: Thank you, Lucy. And with time I hope that they can like my Spartacus in a way that keeps him a compelling character in a way that they loved Andy’s, you know? That’s obviously at no stage is that for me to decide in any way. I guess time will be the judge of that question.
Viva: Well, it was evident to all of us as cast members that Liam did what any great actor could do which was to bring integrity to the role and bring his own imagination and individuality and history to the role.
Liam: I’ve got the sweetest cast. Thanks, guys.
[Note from Megan: It’s such a hard task that Liam took on. Everyone loved Andy, but life happens, and the cast has done the best they could with a hard situation. We as fans were concerned about the integrity of our favorite character, but they were mourning the loss of a good friend. I give the whole cast props for taking this all as well as they have. They all continued on in their roles, because Andy was an actor and that is what he would want. He would want the character he played to live on. Liam has done a wonderful job embracing this role, and anyone who hasn’t seen the premiere yet is going to be surprised as to how amazing he was.]
Lucy on the loss of Batiatus (John Hanna) and future love interests
Lucy: I miss John a lot, not just because of who he is but because I miss the aspect of love in Lucretia’s life. Somebody does in fact fall in love with her but the course of that love never did run smooth and certainly not in this case.
So I don’t want to give away too much but, yes, she does have two – I don’t want to say romantic partners. But she enters into relationships with two people but Batiatus is never replaceable in her heart.
[Note from Megan: Batiatus is never replaceable in any of our hearts. That was by far one of my favorite characters and I am going to miss him a lot.]
This is one of the most amazing casts on TV today. Their chemistry came through during the interview and just helped to get us all even more excited for this new season.
Bring on the crazy, the violence, the sex, the story, the adventure… Bring on everything that makes this show so damn irresistible. The new season starts tonight, Friday, January 27 at 10/9c on Starz.