When you first started to pursue acting full time
you must have had career expectations (dreams) … how have those
expectations lived up to the reality so far? And how have those
expectations changed as your career has grown, then and now?
To be completely honest there was a part of me that
wanted to sort of “shake my fist in defiance and show the world” when I
started acting. I was very young and it was as much about chasing a
dream as it was about proving my worth as a person. But as I matured I
learned to settle within myself and appreciate who I am as a person for
my strengths and weaknesses. Ironically that was the point my acting
really began to take off. I think it was figuring out who I really was
and grounding myself as a real person that took my acting to “the next
level” and really started opening doors and getting my work recognized.
I’ve always been a hard worker, but I finally became a smart worker as
Another revelation was just how hard this job
actually is. I knew that it was going to be hard work, but it wasn’t
until I had gone a long way down the journey to being a working actor
and took a second to catch my breath and look back over the road I’d
travelled that I realized just how far I had come and just how hard I
had to work to get there. The one thing I’m most proud of is that I’ve
never compromised my morals or personal beliefs along the way. Sure, the
shortcuts can be tempting at time for some people, but for me they would
have just tainted all the hard work I’d been doing.
But the reality of my career now meets every hope
and dream that I had when I first dreamed of becoming an actress.
Getting to be surrounded by all of these amazingly creative and hard
working people, both in front of and behind the camera, is both a
privilege and inspiration every day that I’m on set.
What genres do you enjoy more…Drama, Comedy,
Sci-Fi, Period Pieces, Modern Day, Fantasy?
I love it all. Each one gives an actor the
opportunity to climb into a different character’s skin so they are all
appealing to me. Films like A Street Car Named Desire, Bull Durham,
Fifth Element, Emma, Love Actually, and Harry Potter run the gamut of
all film genres, yet they are all among some of my favorite movies.
When I watch a film, I just want to be entertained and if it’s good,
then it’s good. Acting wise, as long as I am acting in a challenging
and fully fleshed out role with interesting and professional people I am
happy. Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that
I do have a soft spot for any project that allows me to have an action
sequence because being a bad ass is fun.
Most actors are multi-talented…singers,
musicians, performers…Do you have any hidden talents?
I am lead singer and recently started playing bass
guitar in a band called Soundboard Fiction. It’s a lot of fun and, since
I’m not trying to become a professional musician, it’s a stress free way
to be creative and express myself. I have danced my entire life and was
part of The Tournado Dance Company for about 8 years during which I
spent four to eight hours a day learning and practicing ballet, tap,
modern, jazz and flamenco. I also played the trumpet for a while but
there was no talent hidden there waiting to be discovered, just noise
yearning to be muffled. I was also on the weight lifting team, played
soccer and was the slowest runner on the track team when I was in High
School. I haven’t gotten any faster, either. Lesley-Ann Brandt kicks my
butt every time we run together and she makes sure I know all about it.
Where do you see yourself career-wise in 10
I see myself as a happily married, consistently
working actress surrounded by a great team, great friends and family,
and loving the way that I make money to pay the bills. And I hope that
I will have earned the reputation among my peers for being professional,
reliable and easy to work with.
If you were given a dream project to work on
what would it be?
I’m happy to say, with complete honesty, that my
dream project IS Spartacus: Blood and Sand. This show really has given
me all the challenges and opportunities that I hoped for at this point
in my life and career. I finally got my highly sought after series
regular status, which is much more difficult than most people realize.
I am filming in beautiful New Zealand and getting paid to be there. The
show encompasses romance, comedy, sex, drama and amazing action
sequences. I even get to lose my usual way of speaking and deliver
lines with an accent (that I created because they wanted an
American/British mix which they referred to as “Mid-Atlantic”…artistic
license at its best). Throw in the fact that the show is a period piece
under the guidance of Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Steven DeKnight, and mix
in the fact that I have the privilege of working with Lucy Lawless and
John Hannah as a fellow cast members and I really feel that I struck
gold with Spartacus.
Are there any actors dead or alive that you
would love to work with and, If so, why?
I would love to work with Meryl Streep for obvious
reasons. Sandra Bullock would be amazing too because she seems so
genuine, down to earth, and fun. She has a personality and work ethic
that I really admire and in many ways I try to model my career choices
after ones she has made. Cate Blanchett, Dame Judy Dench and Rachel
McAdams are all inspirations for me. After that…Lord! There are so many
how do I even name them all?
Dead or alive, and going both old and new school,
the first and foremost would definitely be Marlon Brando. After that,
Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Betty Davis, Barbara
Stanwyck, Cary Grant, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Clive
Owens and Javier Bardem round out the list. They are the ones who always
come to mind as the best of the best.
us a little about Mira. It has been written that she is Spartacus’ “love
interest.” Do you agree with that description?
Mira is a slave in the house of Batiatus who is
Lucretia’s #2 slave after Naevia. Her back story is a bit of a mystery,
officially, but she certainly isn’t one of the more docile or submissive
slaves. She’s got a head on her shoulders. And while she knows that she
doesn’t have the brawn that the men possess or the amorality of a
character like Ashur, she has the intelligence to navigate the dangerous
waters of the Ludus and keep herself alive and out of trouble. This
awareness of the world she lives in and her street smarts are tools
which eventually come in handy.
It’s interesting that people think that Spartacus
would ever need or want a “love” after the loss of Sura. She was his
life. His devotion to her, his respect for her memory and the idealized
way he speaks of their relationship, however, is in stark contrast to
the male/female relationships that a woman like Mira has experienced
throughout her time as a slave. I think she is fascinated by this
picture he paints when he talks about Sura and that world is so foreign
and so interesting to her that she is drawn to the idea of it. After
all, don’t we often want things that other people have even when they
don’t belong to us?
What was it like working with Andy Whitfield?
Most of my scenes are with Andy, so we spent a lot
of time forging our working relationship, trying to get a feel for our
respective characters, and learning each other’s acting style and
approach to the craft. For such a strong, violent character, the man
playing him is equally kind and gentle. He is always open and
collaborative with both his time and his spirit. He was eager to talk
about our scenes, to prepare and to rehearse so we could do our very
best on set each day. Never once did he act like a diva or have the
attitude of “I’m the star of the show!”
I personally believe he is the hardest working
actor on the show because, not only does he have to exhaust himself
physically with the demands of his role, but he has to drain himself
emotionally due to all the things his character is being put through.
And even then, when he’s done for the day, he doesn’t get to relax
because his is needed at various red carpets, charity events and
publicity meetings. The man gives so much of himself that it is hard to
envy him his position and responsibilities. Everyone on the cast admires
and respects the hard work he puts forth on a daily basis. I think that
seeing how determined, strong of spirit and single-minded of purpose he
is, is the main thing that lets me know he is going to overcome the
personal challenges he’s currently dealing with and return to lead
Season Two to even greater heights and accolades. He IS Spartacus!
Do you watch Dailies? If so…how do you use
them? If not…why?
I do watch the dailies every chance I get. Some
actors never watch their work because it can be a painfully self-aware
experience, but for me it’s important to know that what I think I am
portraying is actually what is coming across on screen. It gives an
actor a chance to tweak their performance as they go along. It also
gives me a clue as to what the final product is going to look like and
that is a rush, an inspiration and a very handy guideline to shape your
performance around. As an actor you put so much work and emotion into
your scenes, but sometimes you don’t get to see the outcome for months
so, selfishly, it’s also nice to be able to take away a little piece in
order to hold yourself over ‘till the premiere.
You have been working with some of AUSXIP’s
favorite actors (Lucy Lawless, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Craig Parker, Erin
Cummings), producers (Rob Tapert, Paul Grinder), and directors (Michael
Hurst) on Spartacus, what have you learned from them?
Wow! Big question!
I’d have to begin with Lucy Lawless. She is so
humble, down to earth, gracious, welcoming and fun loving. However she
is also intimidating which is very good since she’s my “Domina” on the
show and I’m supposed to be scared to death of her. She has these
piercing blue eyes, and as her slave you’re not supposed to stare
directly at her, but they are so intense that it’s hard not to. She
constantly surprises me with her choices and is so free and comfortable
with them which is a lot harder to do than it sounds. I’m still working
hard to master that aspect of my craft.
Lesley-Ann Brandt was one of the first people I
met on set and she was very welcoming and giving of her time and spirit
from the beginning. Unfortunately we didn’t have too many scenes
together, but we created a relationship for our back story and we both
felt that our characters did have a bond of friendship and almost a
“bunker mentality” that soldiers in a war often share. We tried to
express that whenever we had the chance. She has become a welcome ear
whenever I need someone to talk to.
I have had the pleasure of working with Craig
Parker both on Spartacus: Blood and Sand as well as on Legend of the
Seeker and considering that he often plays complex, dark or even
downright evil characters I was surprised to discover that, in real
life, he is HYSTERICALLY funny. He kept me in stitches between takes;
just a joy to be around.
Erin Cummings and I were only in one episode
together, but I was immediately impressed with what a hard worker she
is; totally dedicated to her craft. She is also professionally savvy,
which is a skill every actor has to develop in this business or they
will be eaten alive. She’s absolutely determined to reach her goals,
which I admire and respect.
Rob Tapert is the boss. There is never a doubt
about that. But he is also direct and honest with his people at all
times which is a breath of fresh air. He freely gave accurate criticisms
and suggestions as well as sincere compliments when he felt you “got it
right.” His door is always open to his people and he is very aware of
everything that goes on around set and makes it a point to frequently
check in and ensure you are being taken care of. My favorite “secret Rob
Tapert moment” is seeing him walk around set, being completely head over
heels in love with Lucy. Those candid glimpses of him were an
inspiration for me that not all marriages in this industry end in
destruction or scandal, though the tabloids would have us all believe
Paul Grinder is a machine. During Season One,
there was one week where he spent all week shooting for twelve hours
each day, got on a plane to fly to New York City where he ran a
MARATHON, then flew back the next day and went immediately back to work
without missing a beat. He can come up with scenes to do in his sleep.
Don’t be fooled for a second, without him, the entire series wouldn’t
have turned out to be as amazing as it is.
It was a blessing sent from above that Michael
Hurst was the director of my first episode. It was intimidating coming
in late to the series because the whole cast had already established
their relationships and working methods and I was thrust into the mix
with almost no time to catch my breath. Michael is genuinely excited to
be working each day and his happiness to be doing what he loves is
infectious. His enthusiasm translated into a sort of magic aura that
wiped away any insecurity I may have had and immediately made me feel
like a part of the cast. Having been an actor himself, he already speaks
the “actor’s language,” so his direction is specific and he knows how to
communicate effectively and clearly. Since I only had one week to
prepare the character of Mira, I felt that he was essential in helping
me pull out every nuance and fully flesh out who she was during Episode
9. This foundation carried me through the rest of season 1.
Finally, I feel that I simply have to mention
Steven DeKnight. Without him, his guidance and his writers, this show
never would have come to be. He puts so much of himself into each plot
twist and line that you simply have to honor all of his hard work by
trying to get it right and convey exactly what he’s going for. He sees
the “big picture” of the entire series so you have to simply put
yourself in his hands and trust his guidance. One of my favorite moments
was the time I went to the Writer’s Room to meet the entire writing
staff. We were in the office and he popped in an episode from late in
the season to show me how a scene had turned out. While we watched the
(very cool) scene I witnessed the Show Runner/Big Boss/Head Writer
transform into a big ol’ kid who was so excited he could barely contain
himself. I also had to laugh when the writers instructed me to make sure
Steven didn’t order another steak when we went out to lunch because,
apparently, Steven is the biggest carnivore on the face of the planet.
Fancy that…the Showrunner of Spartacus: Blood and Sand likes to eat
meat. Who’d-a thunk?
Did you do any research about the era before or
after you got the part? If so how has it helped you?
I had the general knowledge that most people
possess about Ancient Roman as learned in school, movies and the History
Channel. As soon as I was cast, my fiancé ran out to Borders and bought
five books (The Spartacus War, by Barry Strauss, Life in Ancient Rome,
by F.R. Cowell, Spartacus, by Howard Fast, the complete Plutarch’s Lives
which included The Life of Crassus, and The Civil Wars, by Appian) and
told me to get started with the reading. This created a sort of “in
depth crash course” on Ancient Rome and the story behind the Third
All of this reading helped me get an idea of what
the overall conditions and psychology of Roman society might have been
like. The way the Pre-Christian Romans viewed the gods, sex, violence,
ownership of humans, and their general flippancy towards life itself was
both shocking and utterly foreign. Being cast as a slave I had to ask
myself, if I wasn’t being chained to a wall, why wouldn’t I just run
away? Why would I do all of the horrible things that my owners make me
do without even a whimper of protest? For me, considering my own modern
upbringing and ways of thinking, the biggest challenge was getting into
the daily mentality of being a slave in Ancient Rome. Without the
research I don’t think I would have been able to understand it.
Spartacus is a huge period piece. How have you
found yourself dealing the costuming, hair, and make-up? Once it is all
done and you walk on set, do you find it transforming or easier to get
Well, my costume is practically non-existent. It
took all of two seconds to get into and out of so it was a breeze. The
beauty of the “slave” costume is its subtly. Barbara Darragh put so
much time, thought and love into a simple “frock” that the depth of
detail is deceptive. She made each costume grow and change with its
character’s growth. For instance my costume starts out very simple and
muted in color, but as my character grows and gets stronger, you’ll
notice the colors change, mirroring Mira’s feistiness in warmth and
texture. Also Illythia’s costumes early in Season One were decorated
with flowers and were quite feminine, but as her character developed
throughout the season, a keen eye can pick out lots of…shall we say
“aggressive” changes in how she is dressed and adorned. (I can
practically hear four million remote controls hitting the PAUSE button
over and over). Also you’ll notice that as Lucretia’s position changes
and improves, her costumes gradually become more elaborate and fine as
she climbs the social and financial ranks in status.
In Spartacus, Mira and Naevia are considered
privileged slaves. Naevia being the number one slave to Lucretia and
Mira the number two. Because of this you’ll notice that Naevia’s
costumes also gradually get nicer and more vibrant. Her costume starts
getting pieces of metal and tassels as decoration as Lucretia’s status
improves. Almost like a rich socialite would put a jeweled collar on a
prized dog. In front of other slaves it does give you a sense of
superiority just based on the fact that you are more covered up and are
not as physically exposed on a daily basis as the others. When in the
presence of women like Lucretia and Ilithyia, it is also a stark
reminder that they are your superiors simply because of their beautiful
dresses, shoes, colors and lack of nudity.
My make-up was very natural and simple and I
didn’t have to wear a hair piece. I was one of the few, if only, women
on set that could take a nap in full costume and wake up without
anything being in disarray. Lucky me! In fact, I had it so good that I
think if I even tried to comment or complain one of the other female
cast members will find me and beat me up.
Jane O’Kane accomplished the same effects and told
the same story with the hair and make-up as Barbara Darragh did with her
costumes. Again, a keen eye will notice that Naevia’s hair becomes less
tight and pulled back as the season progresses. Instead of being
constricted, it is let down and allowed to be more flowing and free,
thus indicating her privileged status. I think one of my favorite
moments is when Ilithyia tells Lucretia that she will help her with her
hair. That one simple (and very human) insult both captures the class
differences of the time and also translates into modern “cattiness” that
every woman has experienced at one time or another. And it was all just
about the hair.
Are there any set stories or secrets that you
Peter Mensah and I have come to the conclusion
that we are long lost siblings. I am very clumsy and sort of accident
prone and that man has managed to be a witness to every moment of
awkwardness, goofiness or klutziness I have had on set. If I drop a
fork, he’s there to laugh at me. If I miss my mouth, he’s the one
pointing out the stain on my robe. I’m the little sister that he likes
to pick on. One time I was trying to sneak two desserts away from the
buffet during lunch without anyone seeing. I almost made it before my
fork fell to the floor, making a racket. I then tried to grab the fork
which caused me to drop my desserts. I did the ol’ look around the
room to see if anyone caught me and sure enough, I heard Peter’s evil
laugh from all the way across the room.
Another juicy tidbit for you: If you ever talk to
Lucy Lawless and she tells you that her thumbs hurt because of all the
texting she does on her phone, just know that is a dirty lie. They hurt
because she is an iPhone Spider Solitaire addict and plays every chance
she can get, sometimes even between takes. She puts it on silent and
tucks it into her glorious gowns. She also refuses to get treatment.
What are the differences working in New Zealand
vs. working in LA for you?
Everyone in New Zealand has an accent, though they
keep trying to tell me that I’M the one who talks funny. They say “sweet
as!” instead of just “sweet!” They eat “biscuits,” not cookies. They
believe that Cricket is a sport. They think their Rugby players would
beat up our Football players (Do they even know who Jevon “the Freak”
Kearse is? Go Eagles!) And there is also a serious lack of Mexican food
Seriously though, I think New Zealand is a
wonderful place to work and one of the most beautiful countries on the
planet. The people are gorgeous, humble, kind and down to earth. I
think the biggest difference between L.A. and N.Z. is that the industry
is so small down here that everyone knows each other. Even when I
walked onto the set of Legend of the Seeker, I already knew about 30% of
the cast and crew just from working on Spartacus. Not to say that L.A.
doesn’t get smaller and smaller as time goes by, but I think from the
get go they say that N.Z. has only two degrees of separation.
You have a guest role on Legend of the Seeker
as a Mord'Sith coming up. Did you know anything about the show before
getting the role?
I was really excited about Legend of the Seeker
when I first saw the promos for it back before Season One premiered. I
have always loved the world of fantasy. Anything to do with wizards,
magic, dragons, fairies, elves, men with long dirty hair and women
wearing medieval style dresses and you can count me in. I haven’t been
able to watch every single episode but I have watched a lot of the
series. And while I haven’t read the books yet (it’s on my list of
“must read” books), my dad and everyone else online says they are
great. So, yes, I was already a fan of the show and it made it that
much more fun for me to be cast in it.
Did you enjoy being a Mord'Sith?
I absolutely loved being a Mord’Sith! I remember
watching Denna do her thing in Seeker and thinking “that woman is hot
and I wanna be her!” To have a legitimate excuse to wear that costume
in public is a good time all by itself. Plus, the cast and crew of
Seeker are amazing and it is a joy to work with them. My fiancé asked
if I was allowed to take the costume home which earned him a swift smack
upside his head. Can’t say that I blame him for trying, though.
What is next for Katrina Law?
Actress response- My wonderful team from
VENTURE I.A.B, JOEL STEVENS ENTERTAINMENT and I are looking forward to
my upcoming episodes on Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Legend of the Seeker
and seeing what else we can get my acting paws into.
Personal Response- I am in the middle of
planning a wedding so a walk down the aisle with my Dad is in the near
future. My fiancé and I just planted all sorts of fruits and veggies in
our garden and I am looking forward to eating the world’s freshest
salad. In general, taking the time to enjoy the things that I have and
looking forward to whatever God brings my way…I’m praying for something
The Response I am keeping secret from my
wonderful team and personal trainer- After all the working out and
dieting I’ve been doing to prepare for these two roles, I’m fantasizing
about a full week off of training from the gym and, instead, indulging
myself with red velvet cheesecake, mint chocolate chip ice cream, cream
puffs, Mars bars, salt and vinegar chips, highly processed food that is
preferably deep fried, pizza with extra cheese, and caramel
popcorn…before I have to get back into gear for…wait…no spoilers!!! ;-)
AUSXIP would like to thank Katrina Law for taking the
time out of her busy schedule to chat with us and we wish her all the
very best. Spartacus Blood and Sand is shown on the Starz Network.
Photos of Katrina Law for this interview are courtesy of
Photos of Mira from Spartacus Blood and Sand are courtesy of Starz Entertainment.
Katrina Law Site
▪ Katrina Law
Katrina's Management Team - Joel Stevens Entertainment
▪ Official Spartacus Blood
and Sand Site
▪ AUSXIP Katrina Law News and
▪ AUSXIP Spartacus Blood and Sand