Interview with Manu Bennett, Nick Tarabay, Craig Parker, & Dan Feuerriegel from Spartacus: Vengeance

Did everyone enjoy the season premiere of Spartacus: Vengeance? Starz has been amazing at allowing the cast to speak with the digital press, and I have yet another interview to bring you.

This was an interview filled with sexy males, and how delicious they all are! Manu Bennett as Crixus, Nick Tarabay as Ashur, Craig Parker as Glaber, and Dan Feuerriegel as Agron… They chatted about how they are accepting Liam as Spartacus, on how their characters have changed, and much more.

Jump ahead to see what these interesting, beautiful men had to say.

On Ashur’s return and the interactions he’ll have

Nick Tarabay: Yes, it’s good to be back. And I think it won’t be a story if Ashur and Crixus somehow don’t get together that way, especially having Crixus my ultimate enemy on the show. So you do see a little bit of that.

It’s going to be very, very intense actually, the way you see it. I mean everything I think in Vengeance, this season is going to be pretty intense and very heightened. So any time any actors or any – I mean any characters interact with one another it’s going to be pretty big. And add to it the history that I have with Crixus, I think is going to make it even more interesting.

And as far as Lucy, yes there’s a lot of story, a lot of scenes, a lot of work with me and Lucy, that I was very, very happy to have because I didn’t get a chance really to work with her in Season 1 and the prequel. But in this season we have a lot of work — maybe a little too much; just kidding.

And you know, Ashur this season is, you know, unlike every other season he’s very – he’s his own man in a way and he’s under really severe circumstances that he’s going all out. He goes all – I mean seriously, he has no boundaries, he fights really for what he thinks is right, and his goals get bigger and bigger.

And the twists and the turns that he comes up with is something that surprised me as the actor every episode. I give a lot of credit for the writers. And obviously I give a lot of credit to the actors; made it a lot easier for me to, you know, to work harder and make it better.

On how Glaber stays married to the devious Ilithyia

Craig Parker: I think they – when we first meet them they’ve been through some heavy guidance counselling and marriage counselling.

You know with her that it’s not going to be an easy marriage. And the fun thing this year is when we first meet them it’s quite a different circumstance then when we left them so. I don’t think that gives anything away, where Ilithyia has been told to behave and be a good wife. And you know Ilithyia; it’s not going to last.

So there’s some fantastic relationship stuff there. And you know, to work with someone like Viva is so much fun because she is – she’s created this absolute monster of a character. And always a joy to see how Ilithyia responds to the situation.

I think she is the one that destroys him the most, that hurts him the most. And this series though, I think you’ll see him start to stand up for himself, become a bit of the man that he wants to be. And part of that is freeing himself from her control.

It’s quite good; truly she’s not going to have an easy ride, I promise you.

On the relationship between Crixus and Spartacus

Manu Bennett: There’s just a tug-of-war really. It’s a difference of objectives really.

Spartacus, I believe in this season, has maybe more transitional – you know, has more of a transitional story than even Crixus. I mean Crixus is – it’s like you enter the season with Crixus with a very definite goal, and that is to find Naevia.

And Spartacus with an evolution, you know, he’s said he wants to do something and all of a sudden everybody’s looking at him going like, “Okay, you’ve made this big speech, you’ve forced us all to become fugitivus, and now what’s the plan?”

You know, and you know, as I think as far as Crixus is concerned, he just goes for all the – you know, the – goes through all the necessary actions of finding supplies and food and whatnot, but you know, Spartacus has this leadership role that he’s taken on.

And of course you know, Crixus is going to be the first one to call him on that and question him on that and remind him of the – you know, the agreement that he made with everybody as we left the ludus.

I think the two of them are very honest men, speaking from the heart. And they just basically have a bit of a tug-of-war constantly because the two of them are both leaders and they don’t necessarily sit comfortably in being the follower or the person who, you know, has to follow the other’s objective.

But you know, as in Season 1, I think it – that’s what creates a lovely sort of brotherhood story. You know, the push and pull of a kind of a deep respect that’s never sort of allowed to show itself on the surface.

Their thoughts on Liam and what he brings to the show

Dan Feuerriegel: Of course it’s going to change chemistry because he’s a completely different person. But you know, as actors you just adapt to Liam’s personality, and you know, therefore then that makes you change certain things here and there, and that – I think that’s just you know, what we do.

I think he did an absolutely fantastic job. And so of course it was different, but I felt as though, you know, no better/no worse. He was just Liam, he was just doing what he does and we all did what we did. And I’m certainly sure that everybody enjoyed working with him. I mean I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’m sure they’ll say the same thing. Guys?

Nick: No, no, no, I didn’t like working with Liam, not one bit.

Dan: Well that’s okay, no one liked working with you at all Nick, I mean come on, now that we’re going to be honest here and start throwing stones.

Manu: Liam came on to our set with a very open heart. He’s never stopped – he has never stopped discussing with all of us, his journey.

And I think there’s something very Spartacus about that. You know, there’s a very truthful pure quality to the man himself and that’s what they needed to find. Andy gave such an extraordinarily honest performance, the people were just so moved by that that, you know, it was almost an impossibility to find somebody to replace Andy.

What they’ve found in Liam is somebody with an absolute truth. It’s a different truth, but it’s still the truth, as a person. And it’s wonderful to work with him because every day he brings an open book that we all get to participate with.

You know, there were other people that came and read, and you know, the acting world’s an egotistical world and we could have gotten somebody who just got into the chariot and rode it as some kind of, you know, the next big thing. But Liam is a very humble person and has gifted us all with his openness. And that reads itself into the role.

Craig: I think very first episode, which is a strange new episode, you know, there’s a new Spartacus, there’s a new world that we’re in, it’s an odd episode, but by the end of it you fully embrace Liam as a different, but the new Spartacus and you – you’re ready to go on the journey with him, which is quite wonderful.

And as Manu says, he doesn’t in any way try to be Andy or to replicate that performance, he takes it as a whole new sort of slate and paints a very different Spartacus but a equally interesting and sort of diverse, and you know, a wonderful, wonderful job.

Nick: I have to actually agree with all three of the guys. And one thing I’ve actually really liked about Liam was his heart. I mean he has such a good heart. And like Manu said, “He’s very humble.”

And like when you talk to him outside of acting, when we just sit down and talk between scenes or at lunchtime or whatever, he’s such a good person, and very dedicated to the work, that you see Spartacus in him, which made it very easy for all of us to see him as the new Spartacus.

Liam is surrounded by really, really good actors and really, really good people that I think it made it easier for him too to get more into the character. So he’s doing a great job.

Dan: Yes, and he also respected where it all came from, and where he came from as well.

He you know, knew what he was up against and continually just, as Manu said, “Modest and humble,” in regards to you know, what Andy did in the first season. And that’s another magnificent part of Liam’s personality, which shines through as well.

On the sex and intensity of the show

Manu: Aw man, it’s not pornography dude, you know, it’s just great scripts, it’s great moments, you know.

I get asked this question sometimes, I’m never bothered by what we do, it’s wonderful. It’s – we’re all adults, you know, it’s kind of – it’s bizarre how you know, people talk about, you know, nudity and sex scenes as the taboo. I mean God, how did we all get here, you know?

Craig: I think everyone’s been working together so long that – and we’ve got so used to the world that you just – it’s totally safe, you never feel, you know, vulnerable or odd. And people are incredibly respectful.

When there are scenes – you know, and it’s not necessarily just being nude, but there’s often quite confronting scenes where characters are doing things that are, you know, on the edge of, you know, heavily emotional difficult scenes for the actors.

But there is such a level of respect from the crew, you’re made to feel incredibly safe, and so within that safety you can explore the scary and the frightening but in a really safe way. So we all just get used to it really.

Dan: I guess when you see it on the big screen you see it all edited together and all that, then you might go – because sometimes it is a lot different onset compared to what you see as the final product.

I have yet to seen that – have yet to see that scene. But I’ve heard some pretty powerful things about it. And if it can, you know, get that reaction from you then I think everybody’s done their job perfectly.
Another great interview with a cast I admire. They are all such diverse and interesting actors. This show is groundbreaking and should not be missed. Tune in to Starz on Fridays at 10/9c and prepare to be hooked.

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