4 February 2011, 9:30 p.m.: Spartacus: Gods of the Arena ep. 3
Airing in the US on Starz; Michael directed the episode.
If you are in the LA area around January and want to see Michael and his super talented wife Jennifer, you can catch them at the annual Official Xena Convention. I've seen Michael and Jennifer just once at a convention and they were absolutely FANTASTIC; very talented duo and not to be missed.
28-30 January 2011: Xena Convention
Michael and Jennifer will be celebrity guests at Creation Entertainment's Xena Convention at the Marriott LAX; info and tickets here.
It seems there is something called Black Friday in the US after thanksgiving where there are mega sales and Amazon.com is having their own sale. They have reduced prices for the Spartacus Season 1 DVD & Blu Ray!
With the recent release of the new Starz GotA videos and official photos we get a better look at the returning characters and new characters. I have updated the cast and characters page to reflect the new information and pics!
For those wondering about the Oenomaus pic..I did some cosmetic surgery to his gorgeous face and removed the scar. The original is here
Is it January yet? Take a look at behind the scenes of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. The characters we love from B&S and we also get to see a few of the new characters as well. I LOVE this show! You can tell they had a great time making this! Roll on January!
A younger Batiatus finds himself newly in control of his father’s gladiator school. He uses his most skilled fighter to win favor with a cunning nobleman behind the building of the new arena. USA - 2011 - NA
Starz has released some pictures to go with the bio for each of the new and old characters and actors:
Lucretia is her husband’s foundation, always supportive of his dreams, however wild the direction they threaten to grow. Though conscious of the role she’s expected to play as a proper Roman woman, through the ideas she and her husband cultivate she will discover that when the moment most needs it, she has a true talent for maneuvering the levers of power.
Bold and impulsive where his father is restrained and conventional, Batiatus has newly come to inhabit his family’s ludus while his father is away attempting to regain his health. Wishing to seize more for himself and rise beyond his father’s station, Batiatus, with his wife Lucretia ever by his side fueling his ambitions, schemes beyond his reach.
Oenomaus is not far removed from the status of top gladiator at the House of Batiatus, having only recently survived his fight with the legendary Theokoles. He longs to return to the sands of the arena and reclimb the peak he feels is rightfully his, but he is yet a slave like so many others and bound to the notions of his masters.
A true physical specimen, fearless in the arena and possessed by a thirst for the fleeting pleasures of life, Gannicus is the gladiator a girl’s mother doesn’t want her to bring home. Newly promoted to the top position at Batiatus’ ludus, Gannicus is best friend to Oenomaus and his wife Melitta, forming an unlikely triangle of loyal friendship.
A longtime friend of Lucretia, Gaia arrives unannounced in Capua, bringing along her taste for certain vices. On the prowl for a new husband, endowed with beauty, sexual adventurousness and an artful mind, she lends her assets to the cause of her friends, stoking their schemes.
Personal slave to Lucretia and wife to Oenomaus, the lovely and dedicated Melitta struggles to balance the small portion of freedom she's attained within the villa. Subjected to the careless whims of her masters, she finds herself caught up in a web of desire and betrayal that threatens to tear apart her fragile place in the world.
This is all very exciting - we are getting a flurry of videos from Starz in preparation of the premiere of Gods of the Arena in January. All our favourite actors are back plus some new ones we will get to meet. Looks all very exciting!
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena - In Production with the cast, crew and executive producers in New Zealand.
The GotA episode guide has been updated with dates and credits. We only have one episode name so far which was posted on IMDb and that's for the first episode. Strangly enough the episode name has been removed from IMDb (someone posted too early?).
You may also notice the new banner for the GotA section of AUSXIP Spartacus.
Mittens for Detroit, the brainchild of Detroit 187 actress Erin Cummings, is a community initiative whose sole purpose is to collect and distribute new gloves and mittens to children and adults in the city of Detroit.
to Get Involved
If you are interested in carrying a drop box for the Mittens for Detroit cause or if you are in need of our charitable donations, please do not hesitate to contact us! Every little bit helps.
Here are the ratings for Season 1 in New Zealand. Many thanks to Eddy who compiled the data. What's interesting here is that the most popular episodes are #9 (Whore) and #13 (Kill Them All). In Australian #9 generated 205,000 viewers and in the US 1.109 million
For the absolutely glorious Kill Them All - Australia (185,000 viewers)
NZ (84,200 viewers), US (1.227 million)
In just a few short months (it has been way too long) and Gods of the Arena will start (21 January 2010).
IMDB has now put up their GotA page which also includes the name of the first episode (there will be 6 episodes in the prequel) and the cast list. I've added the official Starz cast descriptions since they are not the same characters we have come to love from Blood and Sand but younger versions and also new characters.
Episode 1 - Beneath The Mask
I think we are missing some of the cast from the IMDB listing but here is what they have:
Manu Bennett ... Crixus The future Champion of Capua is at this time a newly purchased recruit enlisted into Batiatus’s gladiator school. Crixus revels in the opportunity put before him, to become a gladiator, to reap the glory that he’s always longed for. But to attain it, he’ll have to start
at the bottom of the gladiator food chain and fight the titans above him.
Dustin Clare ... Gannicus A true physical specimen, fearless in the arena and possessed of a thirst for the fleeting pleasures of life, Gannicus is the gladiator a girl’s mother doesn’t want her to bring home. Newly promoted to the top position at Batiatus’s ludus, Gannicus is best friend to Oenomaus and his wife Melitta, forming an unlikely triangle of loyal friendship.
John Hannah ... Quintus Batiatus Quintus is back and looking younger than ever and minus that awful shaving cut from Kill Them All. Batiatus is one in a long line of gladiator owners in his family, and at the time of the prequel, with his father away attempting to regain his health, has newly come to inhabit the role. Bold and impulsive where his father is restrained and conventional, Batiatus wishes to seize more for himself, to rise beyond his father’s station. With his wife Lucretia ever by his side fueling his ambitions, Batiatus schemes beyond his reach.
Lucy Lawless ... Lucretia
The beautiful and self-possessed wife of Batiatus, Lucretia is her husband’s foundation, always supportive of his dreams, however wild the direction they threaten to grow. Though conscious of the role she’s expected to play as a proper Roman woman, the ideas she and her husband cultivate and the company they are prone to keep means Lucretia continually stretches the bonds of propriety. Though initially reluctant to carry some of their schemes through to the end, Lucretia will discover that when the moment most needs it, she has a true talent for manoeuvring the levers of power.
Peter Mensah ... Oenomaus
Before he became Doctore...hunky Oenomaus (excuse me while I get my smelling salts...) Oenomaus is who we already know as Doctore. But at this time he is not yet the rigid disciplinarian who will come to reign over the ludus as the gladiator trainer. He is not far removed from the status of top gladiator at the House of Batiatus, having only recently survived his fight with the legendary Theokoles. He longs to return to the sands of the arena and reclimb the peak he feels is rightfully his, but he is yet a slave like so many others and bound to the notions of his masters. He finds himself caught in the middle of much turmoil, his status seized between the generational conflict within the house, between old loyalties and new responsibilities.
Lesley-Ann Brandt ... Naevia Naevia is new to Batiatus’ villa, and soon learns that the position of female slave is vulnerable to both her masters’ bidding and the random turn of fate.
Nick Tarabay ... Ashur Having just arrived with the new batch of recruits, along with Crixus, Ashur is swept up in the grueling fight to survive and prove himself worthy enough to secure standing as a gladiator. When it quickly proves difficult for him to advance on pure physical ability
alone, he must call on his more devious gifts in order to assure his place.
Jaime Murray ... Gaia
A long time friend of Lucretia, Gaia arrives unannounced in Capua, bringing along her taste for certain vices. On the prowl for a new husband, endowed with beauty, sexual adventurousness and an artful mind, she lends her assets to the cause of her friends, stoking their schemes.
Marisa Ramirez ... Melitta Melitta is Lucretia's body slave and Oenomaus's wife.
Jeffrey Thomas ... Titus Father to Batiatus, Titus is frail and ill of health yet still looms large as a commanding, paternalistic voice of discretion in his son’s life. Titus is a man of tradition, a proud master of gladiators who is devoted to the old ways and disapproving of his son’s departure from them. His conservative instincts are triggered by the audacious initiatives of Batiatus and Lucretia, throwing them all into greater and greater conflict, which threatens the house he’s given everything to build.
David E. Woodley ... Petronius Starz has not released any info about this character as yet
Deadline has amended it's original article about the search for the new Spartacus and how Starz has whittled down the casting to three actors
Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre.
The lastest news is that Stephen and Aiden have been released and it's now down to one. Deadline speculates that it could be Liam or Starz considering other options. That is a mixed bag of maybes. It also sounds like we're back to still searching for Spartacus if Starz doesn't thing Liam is the right man for the job.
The other possibility raised by Deadline is that they may make someone else the lead character. So instead of the show focused on Spartacus, it may focus on Crixus or another character as seen by their point of view. An interesting idea.
I'm sure the last thing we want is to see the end of the show which will impact on so many people (actors, producers, directors, makeup, wardrobe etc).
Recently in the NZ Herald there was an article about the ongoing dispute between the actors and the movie The Hobbit. In the article it made mention of how much it cost to produce Spartacus and how many people are involved:
Producer Chloe Smith, who is working on Spartacus with American Rob Tapert, said the level of rebate was no longer competitive but New Zealand had other factors in its favour including the reputation of film-makers such as Sir Peter.She said every production's budget would break down differently, and the level of post-production depended a lot on the level of visual effects.
The spending on Spartacus, for example, was soaked up by location shooting; pre-production made up 18 per cent of the budget, while post-production was 17 per cent.
Almost half of the total spending was labour costs, covering not only 64 actors but also crew, casuals, extras and security.
So we get back to finding the right Spartacus so 64 actors + crew, casuals, exras, production staff can get back to work. There is alot riding on finding the right Spartacus.
Screen industry awards presented at the SPADA Conference on November 12. The award given to Rob was for Onfilm/SPADA Industry Champion! Congratulations Rob!
SPADA members include producers, directors, production companies and allied craft professionals working in film, television, TVC, video, post-production, animation and interactive media; lawyers and accountants, completion guarantors, and industry suppliers.
With his latest series, Spartacus, currently in production in Auckland, and all of his productions since 1993, Rob Tapert has brought in $NZ745 million of offshore funding to date. He has produced 375 hours of television in New Zealand, 309 hours of that before the Large Budget Screen Production Grant was introduced. His television series are: 5 x Hercules telefeatures, Hercules, The Legendary Journeys, Young Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, Jack of All Trades, Cleopatra 2525, Amazon High, Legend of the Seeker and Spartacus. Plus feature films Boogeyman and 30 Days of Night.
He was the first major offshore producer to see the potential of New Zealand not only for stunning locations, but also for talented crews, actors, directors, producers, editors, stunt performers etc. In 17 years of operating in New Zealand, he has enabled the growth of local infrastructure and the development of skills by providing the projects, the challenges, the training and the promotions, while continually raising the bar. He has been responsible for the careers of thousands of kiwis, all the while developing new ways of making television. He is respected and loved amongst kiwi crews for his innovation, generosity and humour, as well as his enormous contribution to the growth of the industry in this country.
Tapert's early days were with his producing partner Sam Raimi on cult hits Darkman and Evil Dead, a partnership which has also included the feature films The Quick and the Dead, The Gift and The Grudge.
The following was posted on the Official Starz Spartacus forum by sparta64
Well a movie was going off at 11pm tonight on one of the stations and they showed this 5 or 7 minute type ad for it where they interviewed Lucy, John, Peter, and Dustin Clare who plays Gannicus, as well as Manu and Jaime Murry who plays Gaia. .
Let me tell ya..Crixus is gonna look different because they showed clips and he has long hair,,,similar to how Sparty looked in the first episode. It was weird. I can't believe I saw this after I ask this question.
Lucretia looks better because her hair is more natural and not that red wig she normally wears. I know they are suppose to look 5 years younger... and they did. They showed some short clips of Gannicus fights and they looked exciting. Anyway if you stay up late enough that seems to be when they show these ads.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Andy has left New Zealand and is back in Sydney.
Spartacus actorAndy Whitfield in new cancer fight
WELSH-born Australian actor and Spartacus: Blood And Sand star Andy Whitfield has returned to Sydney as he attempts to battle a second round of cancer.
After recently announcing the recurrence of the non-Hodgkins lymphoma he was diagnosed with in February and subsequently quitting the TV action series that propelled him to stardom in the US, the one-time engineer and father-of-two has been seen around town looking frail.
Deadline Hollywood has an exclusive on the casting of the next Spartacus:
EXCLUSIVE: The search for the new lead of Starz's flagship drama series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, is entering its final stage, with the field narrowed down to three actors: Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre. I hear the three are being flown to New Zealand for screen tests and to meet with the show's cast and crew, with a final decision on who would be the next Spartacus expected as early as this week.
The Hollywood Reporter has an article on Starz, QVC Lift Third Quarter for Liberty Media 5 November 2010.
Pay TV subscriber units, programming expenses rise; decision on future of Spartacus to come by year's end
In part it wrote:
Starz management said it is still considering recasting show Spartacus: Blood and Sand [that should be Spartacus Vengeance not Spartacus Blood and Sand] given star Andy Whitfield's health issue, but will make a decision on how to proceed before year's end depending on what the team feels is best for the show and cast.
We are now just a few months away from Spartacus: Gods of the Arena premiere on 21 January 2011. We all remember what happened last January when there was a Sparty PR Blitz where it was wall to wall Sparty promos/interviews etc.
The first stirrings of a new PR Blitz is now stirring. The following was posted on Twitter by Stacey Harrison who is a writer for Channel Guide Magazine.
Setting up interviews for January's "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" on Starz. So far, writer/EP Stephen S. DeKnight. Maybe star Dustin Clare.
2:09 PM Nov 4th via web
The edited version Spartacus: Blood and Sand has just ended in Australia on Channel Nine's GO! channel with decent ratings
It has now been confirmed that GO! will screen Gods of the Arena some time in 2011. As previously announced, GotA will screen in the US starting 21 January 2011.
Before Spartacus struck down his first opponent in the arena, there were many gladiators who passed though the gates onto the sand. "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," the highly anticipated prequel to Starz' hit series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," tells the story of the original Champion of the House of Batiatus: Gannicus (Dustin Clare) in a more ruthless time before Spartacus' arrival where honor was just finding it's way into the arena. The new series adds to the cast Jaime Murray as Capua's sexy social climber Gaia and Marisa Ramirez as Melitta, a beautiful slave who must face the ultimate decision of the heart. Jeffrey Thomas plays Batiatus's father Titus, the traditional and cautious Lanista, head of the Ludus. They join returning cast members John Hannah (Quintus Batiatus), Lucy Lawless (Lucretia), Peter Mensah (Oenomaus, before he becomes Doctore, the gladiator trainer) and Manu Bennett (Crixus).
As the prequel begins, Quintus Batiatus is the acting Lanista while his father Titus is on an extended visit to Sicilia. But Batiatus isn't satisfied with just the thought of taking over the Ludus one day; he aspires to political power and prestige in Capua, and perhaps beyond. In the class-conscious world of ancient Rome, the House of Batiatus must first earn the respect of both politicians and socialites before being granted the right for its gladiators to fight in the much-revered championship bouts called the Primus. Batiatus must not only survive the harsh politics of Capua, but also compel his hedonistic fighter, Gannicus, to embrace being a champion gladiator who will bring esteem and respect to the House of Batiatus.
"Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" is produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight. Season one of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" was the highest rated show for the 18-49 demographic among all cable networks for 12 of the 13 Fridays on which it aired based on coverage rating.