AUSXIP Interviews Viva Bianca
"Ilithyia, The Bandit Princess Returns"


Interviewed by MaryD
10 January 2012

I had the pleasure of interviewing Viva Bianca in May 2010 just after Spartacus: Blood and Sand had ended. Viva stars as Ilithyia, wife to the Roman Legate Gaius Claudius Glaber, daughter of Senator Albinius, Frenemy to Lucretia and all round bad girl. We last saw Ilithyia closing the doors of Batatius' home and allowing her "friends" Batiatus and Lucretia to perish at the hands of Spartacus and his fellow gladiators or so she wished that would have happened. Ilithyia was dubbed The Bandit Princess on the Spartacus Blood and Sand set and now The Bandit Princess returns in Spartacus Vengeance. How will she cope and what is in store for this wild child? We find out from Viva what we can expect in 2012 as Spartacus makes a triumphant return to our screens. Viva has also been very busy in starring in a new Australian movie by Jon Hewitt called X.


When we last saw Ilithyia she was getting away from the rampaging gladiators and shut the door and escaped. You are back in Season 2 (Vengeance), does karma come knocking for Ilithyia?

Yes it does and poor old Ilithyia is up for a real tumultuous journey. When shooting season 2, every now and then I'd stop and remember the giggly, giddy Ilithyia from the early days who had everything at her fingertips and I'd think to myself, what a roller-coaster this chick has been on. 

Do you think Ilithyia's attitudes will change from her experiences in Season 1 and if they do, how?

I think what's been clever from the writers perspective in the evolution of Ilithyia is that she continues to become more and more three dimensional as she journey's through the dangerous liasons-esque world in which she lives. In season 1 she often had quite childish and bitchy reactions to things which was appropriate because she was young, spoilt and ignorant. But in Vengeance, with the history of season 1 behind her, and as her life becomes harder, her relationships more complex and as she fight teeth and bone for her very survival, people will see Ilithyia in a more human light I believe. There is a treat in store for Ilithyia fans, something too good to reveal, but something that ultimately becomes Ilithyia's major driving force and ultimate catalyst for change. I really enjoyed exploring all of these dimensions this season.

Without giving away too much, which episode or episodes are turning points for Ilithyia?

Episode 4 (Empty Hands) and Episode 5 (Libertus) are both goodies. And then Episode 8 (Balance)  and Episode 9 (Monsters) become even more EPIC. Seriously it's crazy the story-lines and twists they come up with.

You've been working closely with Lucy Lawless (Lucretia) - What will Lucretia and Ilithyia's relationship be like in Season 2?

I know, I got lucky didn't I? What a pleasure it was to work so closely and for such a long duration of time with Lucy. An immensely talented and dedicated actress but mostly a lot of fun. We had a field day piecing together the playful and at times seriously twisted dance of the Ilithyia/Lucretia relationship. These two characters livelihoods become more and more interwoven and codependent and every now and then I, the actor, would become fooled into believing that they actually loved one another. Maybe they do, I still don't know! The plot thickens again and again and it just gets better!

You recently described the worst thing Ilithyia did in Season 1 was seducing the 15 year old boy Numerious. That led to Varro's death. What can fans expect from Ilithyia this season?

Oh really did I say that? Well yes that was bad, but surely worse than that was sealing the fucking doors ensuring the death of (nearly) all of my fellow Romans. But, anyhoo, with a tightly packed suitcase of treachery (we can't of course forget murdering Licinia!), Ilithyia is constantly scrambling to keep at bay those lurking demons throughout season 2. There is a killer (excuse the pun) Ilithyia moment in early in the series which I wish I could reveal but can't, that is Ilithyia at her finest. So yes there will be more warfare, but in Season 2 as Ilithyia is confronted by her worst nightmares, I think fans can also expect more vulnerability.

What has your experience on Spartacus taught you about yourself that you didn't know before?

I realized I could be such a serious beaver. And working day in and day out with both Lucy and Craig Parker I learned to have a lot more fun. Sometimes I'd be caught in a rut having internalized some emotion that Ilithyia was going through, and then all of a sudden Lucy would cut right through my brooding state by making some out of left field hilarious comment causing me to nearly wet myself. I learned to loosen up a lot more and enjoy the process.

What experiences will you take with you from this series that you never thought you would have?

Some life long friendships and work associates. I will always cherish these relationships. Also when I was first offered the role I didn't imagine that I would be written such a dramatic character arch. What this has given me is a chance to really expand and explore my craft.

You recently starred in the movie "X" which premiered in Sydney recently. It is set in King's Cross, the notorious red-light district of Sydney. What was it like working for Jon Hewitt and how has the movie shaped how you see King's Cross and those that work there?

This film was made in true guerrilla style and we worked for a month straight every night til maybe 5am. So we really lived and breathed Kings Cross. It was often confronting and exhausting but I was able to go back to my safe, normal life afterwards. I can only begin to imagine the stress, constant fear and exhaustion of those who consume that world 24/7. But the film wasn't made with an intention to judge that life or those people. In fact the film makers, Jon and Belinda often refer to X as a love-letter to the Cross.

Actors use the expression about coming out of a different rabbit hole for their next role, to keep them & their audience on their toes. What rabbit hole have you not yet done but would still love to do?

Something with a lighter touch, maybe even a comedic character. Probably something modern. But then again, it's more the integrity of the story that interests me.  And I do tend to revel in drama.

On 11 September 2011 we lost Andy Whitfield who succumbed to non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. What thoughts did you give to your own legacy, to your family and friends?

To live my life, every day and every moment to the fullest and in gratitude.

I'm going to "borrow" from The Actor's Studio and ask you the top 10 questions:

What is your favorite word?


What is your least favorite word?


What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

European cities, great films, great theatre and remote coastal landscapes

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Ignorance. unhealthy egos. cruelty. magpies.

What sound or noise do you love?

The sound of waves

What sound or noise do you hate?

The alarm clock on my phone

What is your favorite curse word?

Shit I don't know...

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Fashion design or human rights law

What profession would you not like to do?

I don't think I could sit in front of a computer all day - I would consistently have a sore neck.
I also don't think I could be a tour guide. I'd get major class-room anxiety (strange I know coming from an actor...)

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

I love you. now chill the fuck out.

Many thanks to Viva Bianca for the interview. Tune in on 20 January 2012 on to watch the first episode of Spartacus: Vengeance and then on 27 January 2012 for the season premiere on the Starz Network.

Photo Credits

▪ Photos of Viva for this interview are courtesy of Sally Flegg
▪ Photos of Holly from the movie X are courtesy of CirceFilms
▪ Photos of Ilithyia from Spartacus Vengeance are courtesy of Starz Entertainment.

Important Links

Official Viva Bianca Site
Official Spartacus Blood and Sand Site
AUSXIP Spartacus News & Multimedia