Actor Peter Mensah trains gladiators in Starz Network's 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand'
In the brutal world of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," Doctore doles out wisdom and punishment with unflinching coldness and precision.
That the actor who portrays the menacing ex-slave and gladiator trainer is such a friendly, likable guy is a tribute to his talent and ability to immerse himself in his part.
Set in the heyday of ancient Rome, the Starz Network's "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" follows a Thracian warrior betrayed and sold into slavery, forced to fight for his life in the bloody gladiatorial games. Actor Peter Mensah is Doctore, teacher and trainer to Spartacus and other gladiators.
"I certainly found him to be a very interesting character to play," Mensah said. "He is an ex-slave who has grown up as a slave, as a gladiator, and after a fairly disastrous battle, recovers and starts to train other gladiators. The interesting thing about him is that he understands the life-and-death, absolutely brutal world of gladiators, but he also is a father figure to many of these men."
Doctore is a title, and the only name Mensah's character goes by. "The moniker stuck as a reference to him to imply his name, but it actually isn't his name. There is a name, but you'll have to wait until the last episode to find out," he said.
Mensah has been athletic all his life -- he's studied martial arts since he was 6 -- but the training that he and the other actors had to endure for the series was challenging.
"The fantastic stunt crew on 'Spartacus' actually put us through a boot camp for three weeks before we started shooting, and that involved a combination of cardiovascular as well as core training and also specific training in what's called the 'Blood and Sandals' world of swords and shields and what have you," Mensah said.
But, once you look like a gladiator, you have to keep looking like a gladiator, and Mensah said a strict diet was necessary.
"We sort of had to be on a specific diet just cutting out sugars and the normal excesses just so we could stay in the right form and give the audience the right images for the entire period of the shoot," he said. "Yeah, it's an adjustment. You give up chocolate and beer. But, hopefully, you like the result that goes with it."
And that result is a hard-edged slice of Roman culture, with a heavy dose of "300"-like atmosphere thrown in for good measure.
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News submitted by Barbara Davies.