The Spartacus: Vengeance season premiere set up a myriad of mysteries that promise to unfold all season long -- but fans might want to look to the past in order to understand the present, according to star Viva Bianca. That was just one of the tantalizing teases this sexy star gave me when we caught up for a chat all about this exciting new season.
Insider.com: Everyone was shocked when Lucretia re-appeared -- but no one more so than Ilithyia. What's her mental state in that episode?
Viva Bianca: I spoke quite extensively to the director because it's possible that a woman like Ilithyia in the ancient Roman times would have seen "a shade" -- like a spirit from Hades. She's in utter disbelief. She was meant to be dead! That was the deal! That's why she says, "Kill it!" Not, "Kill her!" She's saying kill the ghost. What's really interesting is the journey Ilithyia goes on over the next episodes in trying to decipher the actual mental state of this person. Does she remember that I killed Lykenia? Does she remember that I sealed the doors? It's about discovering what she does or doesn't remember because it's seriously dangerous.
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Insider: Because the truth of Lucretia's mental state will undoubtedly remain shrouded in mystery for weeks, how did you approach playing their relationship?
Viva: I approached the first scenes like Ilithyia is frightened of Lucretia – in some cases, I even envisioned her as a wild animal and I was trapped in a room with her. For example, in the first episode, in that bathroom scene, I imagined that Ilithyia was made to enter a room with a lion because I needed to be genuinely afraid of this woman. I didn't know what she could do; what she was capable of.
Insider: And then, to top it off, Ilithyia is tasked to be Lucretia's minder!
Viva: I know! It's the worst. She really thought things were sorted at the beginning of the season. "Sweet, I'm pregnant, my husband just got promoted, we're in Rome. This is the high life!" But that didn’t last too long.
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Insider: What can you tease about tonight's episode?
Viva: Certainly the Lucretia/Ilithyia dynamic is explored more deeply, but there's some more hints into why and how Ilithyia is actually pregnant.
Insider: Suffice it to say that Ilithyia might not have gotten pregnant the good old fashioned way?
Viva: Well, it is Ilithyia we're talking about [laughs] – there was that great line in episode one that was along the lines of, "With matters concerning myself, the Gods themselves are free to speculate." [laughs]
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Insider: Well ... we saw her sleep with Spartacus last season, are you saying it's possible that he's the father of Ilithyia's baby?
Viva: Oooh, there's a thought! Look, I think the writers are going to play with this idea all season and it's too delicious to reveal right now, but certainly a reason for you to tune in.
Insider: But it's not like they had DNA testing in ancient Rome -- will the show ever be able to say for certain who the father of her baby is?
Viva: You're right, there's no way in that time they could possible prove it – and I'm not saying it's anything like what you're proposing, but let's just say that Ilithyia has some tricks up her sleeve and eventually the truth will be revealed. The fire of having this life inside of her is going to add a level of wisdom to the person she is, that will probably be quite unexpected to audiences.
Insider: What else excites you about this season?
Viva: I think it's very exciting that the upstairs/downstairs has been opened up. Now there's two extreme worlds: the rebels and the Romans. And they do come to a head. There are some really significant episodes where specific characters from each of those worlds find one another and have to deal with that. Those worlds clashing is very exciting.
Insider: Your co-star Lucy Lawless tells me the season finale is kind of epic.
Viva: Oh, it's like an opera. It really is. We did some DVD commentary the other day and I was on the edge of my seat watching it – I love that this is a show you can work on and still be impressed by the finished product.