Bravo has 4 exclusive interviews with John Hannah. Unfortunately they are exclusive to UK visitors. Barbara Davies who lives in the UK was kind enough to transcribe the interviews.
Interview #2 Transcript
John Hannah Exclusive Interview - Part 2
John Hannah talks togas, tackle, and the day he punched an old man in the face.
John: "Below the toga there are these, like, kinda knee length cycling shorts like they wore, to kinda keep everything there. Although they were pretty baggy. You'd think they can have an Empire, they could make pants that fit, but anyway... They were pretty sort of baggy looking things that you wore under your togas. But it was so hot when we were first there and in the studios under the lights and things and you often didn't see them. We'd either wear them if there was a shot where you did see them but more often than not we'd take them off and just have your Calvins or whatever on.
But as the weather deteriorated and it got to Winter you were putting on tights, and putting on your things over them. So it gets hot. And you kind of need, you sort of need things that don't... Me, personally, I could hardly run up the stairs in my toga. You know you have to kind of hold it up, and, like, girls practice that kind of thing but guys are not so... So you kind of need trousers, so that you can do stuff and kill people and jump on the dog, and you know, and ... It's not easy to have a wee in a toga. You have to tuck up underneath so that you don't get anything going anywhere else. So I think probably just practicality. They were pretty good with like aqueducts and medicines and you know, yeah they brought us the Empire and street lights and all that, but they never really got the underwear sorted out, I don't think.
"There were so many fantastic moments in this. Things that as an actor I never got to do before. Strange little things like having somebody else hold your hampton while you have a wee and then wiping your hands on them because there's no towels. But I think my favourite was maybe like in episode 7 where - 7 or 8 or something - and I had to kill this guy. And I was supposed to have like been called out of - we were questioning him, you know, like sort of torture Sopranos style - and I'd been at like some function, so the director, for whatever reason, he wanted this goblet in my hand as I was kind of pounding this guy's face, and... You know the old trick when you are punching someone on camera and you go that way [he mimes taking a punch] and then you go that way [he whips his head in the other direction] but this old guy - we met in makeup - and he was like really frail, it looked like if we'd even done that, he would have died, his head would have come off or something.
Not only that, but as we walked down to the set to rehearse the scene, he informs me that he's just had eye surgery, so when we do that [whips his head round] there's a chance of detaching retinas or whatever. So there's me, like in the midst of all this thinking 'oh f**king great, I've got this guy who I'm supposed to like beat to death and he can't even move his head faster than a snake who crawls across the floor. So we get there and we're trying to work it out. And of course, once again, necessity becomes the mother of great invention, from my point of view. So we ended up, he's in this cell and he's kind of chained up you know like in Python films, kind of thing, and he can't even do that [moves his head from side to side] anyway, so we ended up pummelling his face against a wall, smashing him with this goblet. And it was pretty cool, I thought. [Gives big grin]"
Transcript by Barbara Davies