When Starz announced that it was going to be tackling the life and times of Spartacus for a series that would, by most reports, be taking its visual cues from "300," some viewers were skeptical that they'd find anything of substance beneath the sex and violence. As it turned out, however, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" became enough of a success to earn a second season. Unfortunately, Andy Whitfield, who played Spartacus, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma prior to production on Season 2. In an attempt to buy their star some treatment time, producers Steven DeKnight and Rob Talpert opted to take their idea for a flashback episode in Season 2 and expand it into a full-fledged prequel to the first season. "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" premieres on January 21, but publicity for the project has been going on since the 2010 Comic-Con in San Diego, where Bullz-Eye's Bob Westal participated in roundtable interviews with DeKnight and star Lucy Lawless. More recently, our man Will Harris was able to do one-on-one interviews with stars John Hannah and Peter Mensah during the Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour.
On co-star Joh Hanna: He's so much fun, for starters. We had a lot of actors who were on their first gig ever. To have somebody like John come in and just set a tone of complete professionalism was just bloody wonderful.
Britain’s very quiet, and a lot less gets done there, so I love the idea of maintaining my profile here (in America) and working more here. I don’t quite know where I’m going to fit in, but I keep going…and, so far, I’ve been doing okay!
The violence and the sex (in 'Spartacus') is an integral part of that life and is viewed morally very different. Of course, we’re making it for the modern audience, but we’ve got to stay true to the story.
Creator and Co-executive Producer
On the sex and violence in "Spartacus": I think the only time in season one when they told us we crossed the line was in episode 6, when we had the orgy scene down in the ludus. Some of the footage was a little bit too much.