March 2009 Archives  

31 March 2009

Lucy Lawless and Andy Whitfield in Starring Roles

Starz casts Aussie actor Andy Whitfield in title role You may not have heard of the guy playing the title role in Starz's new series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," but you're probably familiar with his owner. Lucy Lawless has joined the series, which will update the story of Spartacus for the "300" generation and is being produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, who helped propel Lawless to fame in "Xena: Warrior Princess."

Australian actor Andy Whitfield will play the title role. "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" will follow the former Roman soldier, now a slave, as he's sold to Batiatus, the owner of a gladiator camp, and his wife Lucretia (Lawless). It's based on the true story of a slave who led a revolt against Rome in 73 B.C. (and memorably played by Kirk Douglas in Stanley Kubrick's 1960 movie), but Starz says the show "will tell a new set of stories rich in character, action, sex and combat."

The series, scheduled to premiere in January 2010, will rely heavily on virtual scenery a la "300" or "Sin City," and Tapert and fellow executive producer Steven S. DeKnight ("Dollhouse") promise an "R-rated, hard, hard show ... that delivers the action component that theatrical audiences expect from their entertainment," as Tapert put it to TV critics earlier this year. In addition to Whitfield ("McLeod's Daughters") and Lawless, who's coming off "Battlestar Galactica," the cast also includes Erin Cummings ("Dollhouse"), Peter Mensah ("300," "The Incredible Hulk"), Manu Bennett ("30 Days of Night"), Craig Parker ("Legend of the Seeker"), Antonio Te Maioha ("Xena," "Hercules") and Nick Tarabay ("Crash"). DeKnight, Raimi and Tapert are executive producing the series with Joshua Donen.



26 March 2009

Spartacus Returns!

NZ Herald - 26 March 2009 - Spartacus returns

Just as the local production on the first season of Legend of the Seeker winds down, another of producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi's latest New Zealand-based productions is about to start shooting. And this one will involve Lucy Lawless - Tapert's missus - in a recurring role.

The show is called Spartacus though it has less to do with the Stanley Kubrick/Kirk Douglas classic take on the story of the Roman rebel slave than with being a hard-edged small screen answer to hit Spartan war flick 300.

Tapert says the show is for US cable network Starz Entertainment and will be shot largely using greenscreen in an Auckland studio, using many local actors - at least ones willing to get their gear off.

"It's a reinvention of that story and myth. So the first 13 episodes are like the rise of the gladiator rock star. It's more in the vein of Deadwood meets 300.

"We are not being slavish to style and history or any of that. This is really a graphic novel brought to life."

So no, we won't see someone with a curious resemblance to Xena shouting: "No, I am Spartacus!" Pity.



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