AUSXIP Spartacus News


        24 January 2012

The return of Spartacus

ImageAll men lose when they die, and all men die, Kirk Douglas famously said in Stanley Kubrick's 1960 film, Spartacus. "But a slave and a free man lose different things."

Fast-forward five decades and Spartacus: Vengeance, Starz' frantically paced, blood-soaked and over-the-top TV adaptation, is about to return with new episodes and a new actor in the title role. Spartacus is now a free man and very much alive but, as the de facto leader of a slave rebellion and the sworn enemy of ancient Rome, he's on the run. Like a trusty sword, the "vengeance" in the title cuts both ways. Spartacus, as played by Australian actor Liam McIntyre, wants vengeance for his dead wife, murdered at the hands of a duplicitous Roman legionnaire with the delightfully evil-sounding name of Gaius Claudius Glaber.

The Romans, for their part, want vengeance for the slave rebellion, which resulted in the deaths of numerous high-born Romans and their families.

This is not a tale that can end well - for anyone. To hear McIntyre, co-star Lucy Lawless and creator-producer Steven DeKnight tell it, though, that's where half the fun lies. Spartacus: Vengeance was made in the vein of its predecessor, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and last spring's prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Like those series, it's deliberately heightened and exaggerated, more like a graphic novel - and exceedingly graphic, at that - than a rote TV drama.

"In episode 1, the very first episode, one of the things we put up on the board in the writers' room was a sign saying, 'Brothel attack,' and you just can't go wrong with a title like that," DeKnight said, with a wry laugh. "We didn't want it to be simply a case of, 'Let's just go in and attack a bunch of guys and get some information.' We thought to ourselves, 'They should attack a brothel.'"

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