John Hannah ("The Mummy" franchise) and Erin Cummings ("Dollhouse")
have booked roles in the Starz series "Spartacus." Hannah will play the
owner of a gladiator school; Cummings will play Spartacus' wife.
first episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, a new series starring Lucy
Lawless that tells the story of the legendary rebel Roman slave,
finished shooting this week in New Zealand, and those involved say it
includes graphic sex and violence unlike anything ever seen on
"[The network] has given us quite a bit of rope with
which to hang ourselves," says Rob Tapert, the co-creator of Xena:
Warrior Princess who is executive producing along with Joshua Donen and
Spiderman's Sam Raimi. "It's unlike anything we've done before, because
it is very hard and very explicit. It's harder than 300," he says,
referring to Zack Synder's explicit 2006 movie adaptation of the
Rob also says that the show will have gay characters (male and female).
Starz' anticipated gladiator drama "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" is
due on the smallscreen by 2010. Hailed as one of the most realistic
depictions of Roman gladiator life, the series has also spawned a
Graphic/Comic book series.
Devil's Due Publishing and Starz
announced today their collaborative launch of the comic book
mini-series this October based on the network's upcoming series
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand."
Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Joshua Donen will serve as executive
producers on the program, along with Steven S. DeKnight, who will also
be the show's head writer.
DeKnight spoke with Monsters and
Critics at the winter TCA press junket in January about "Spartacus,"
and what to expect from the smallscreen series.
"We're not going
for horror movie brutality...Much like '300', there was a certain
visual beauty in the way they shot it. So, it is almost an era of
violence. It is an ode to violence when the fights actually happen. We
are definitely not shying away from it."
"The other part of this
is the sexuality of the times, it was very different kind of sexual
feeling, particularly with the slave class where it was completely
acceptable to have sex with your slaves, even inside a marriage.
Usually it was fine for a man to have sex with female slaves and
sometimes the male slaves. It was a little bit trickier for the women,
but we don;t want to shy away from either the violence or the sexuality
of the period. We're trying not to put it on screen just becasue we
can. We want it to come from the story that if this story leads us to
an extremely violent incident, we want to be able to show it and the
same thing sexually."
Starz Entertainment has created an official forum for Spartacus. Not
much going on at the moment, just an official press release about the
casting. You can subscribe and join in the fun when the show starts in
SPARTACUS - The deafening roar of the crowd. A piercing thrust of the sword. Destined for great unfortunate things.
Devil's Due Publishing (DDP) and Starz combine forces to launch a comic
book mini-series this October based on the network's upcoming series
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand." Award-winning producers/filmmakers Rob
Tapert (The Grudge, "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Hercules: The
Legendary Journeys"), Sam Raimi (Spider-Man and Evil Dead), and Joshua
Donen (The Quick and the Dead) will serve as executive producers on the
program, along with Steven S. DeKnight ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer,"
"Smallville," "Dollhouse"), who will also be the show's head writer.
Blood and Sand" will be a provocative, violent and sexy television
series chronicling the life of the famous Ancient Roman gladiator and
his rise to fame. Actor John Hannah (The Mummy films) has signed on to
play the devious Batiatus, the owner of the gladiator school and
husband of Lucretia (action TV favorite Lucy Lawless), his scheming,
insatiable wife. The series stars Andy Whitfield in the title role, a
Thracian Soldier in the Roman Auxiliary who was taken prisoner and
condemned to die in the gladiator arena.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 09:
Actors Andy Whitfield and Erin Cummings of 'Spartacus' arrive on the
red carpet for the Premier of 'Star Trek' at Sky City Cinemas on April
9, 2009 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images):
His character is a doomed gladiator called Kerza and Hawera-born actor Karl Drinkwater is using him to make it in Hollywood.
is the latest mythical action TV show to be filmed in New Zealand,
following in the footsteps of the hugely popular Hercules: The
Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess productions of the 1990s.
is loosely based on the story of Spartacus, the Thracian man who
supposedly led a slave revolt against the toga-wearing Romans about
The production will bring New Zealand's favourite action
woman Lucy Lawless back to the screen and this time Drinkwater too, a
Taranaki lad now based in Auckland.
For Drinkwater the involvement in the big budget American production is a chance to take his career to the international stage.