Entertainment » Television

Revisiting Spartacus :: loincloths, gladiators and Lucy Lawless

by Fred Topel
Wednesday Jan 20, 2010

A strong following by the gay community has propelled Lucy Lawless from Xena through Battlestar Galactica and onto her new series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Lawless will be the first to acknowledge and thank her fans for their support throughout the decades.

"They, along with the geeks, are my life," Lawless said. "I say that lovingly, along with geeks and nerds, [gays] are the most loyal fans and who will follow you and give your career such a solid platform for the rest of your life. I owe them a big thank you and they know that. God love ’em."

Andy Whitfield is about to find this out for the first time. As the show’s title character, he provides the man candy in a loincloth for all the show’s gladiator battles. "I’m not ready for anything so it’s awesome," Whitfield said. "I’m just taking this all in my stride. I’m comfortable that there will be particular demographics that will appreciate this work and that’s awesome because that’s who it’s for. That’s part of the entertainment and the wide-ranging platform that we’ve created and we’ve put together. So for me, it’s all about doing what’s written on the page. I can’t really control how that is received but I’m open to anything."

For longtime Lawless fans, Spartacus will show you a side of her that’s never been exposed before. That is, she does her first nude scenes in the series set in Roman gladiatorial times.

"Well, I don’t get my kit off all the time," Lawless clarified. "But I will say the first time I completely freaked out for about three days in advance. We wrapped at 7 pm. I got straight in my car, went home and walked straight into my bedroom to say good night and crashed out for 12 hours. It was quite something to wrap your head around that. Modern people, we’ve built up all these taboos."

Great story, great characters

You won’t have to wait long. Lawless’s first nude scene comes in the series’ second episode. There should be plenty to entertain you until then, and beyond. "Even if you take away all the fancy stuff, you take away all the boobs and you take away everything that’s sensational, the most sensational, the best thing about it is the way that the characters enmesh, the writing and the way the story’s constructed," Lawless said.

"High stakes for everybody. Everybody’s scared all the time because in ancient Rome, there’s no safety net for you. No one’s going to take care of you. You’re dead."

To play the epic gladiator, Whitfield had to sacrifice the creature comforts of Hollywood productions. There would be no craft services for the lead actor. "Listen, I got this job and two days later I was in gladiator boot camp in New Zealand," Whitfield said. "I didn’t even know what that was. I thought I was going to get handed a loincloth and some clubs. It was basically a month of four hours a day training. They sort of looked at you and go, ’Mm, okay, so you need to lose this here and put this on here.’ It became very scientific. You could have this many calories a day and you had to expend this much energy. It’s just a science and as hard as it is, especially at the beginning, you just do it. You just do the work and you get the results. However, nine months is a long time to not have desert so I’m definitely making the most of my down time between seasons." Story continues on the following page.

Watch the official trailer for Spartacus: Blood and Sand.


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