The series has promoted Manu Bennett to series regular for its recently announced second season,The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
On the network’s adaptation of DC Comics’ long-running title, Bennett plays Slade Wilson — who in the comics ultimately becomes Arrow’s villain Deathstroke. Producers have been cagey if Bennett would follow his comic book counterpart and transform into the famed villain, featuring multiple Deathstrokes during its freshman run.
Exec producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim have thus far written Slade as an ally to Stephen Amell's Oliver, appearing in Arrow's flashbacks to their time on the island.
Jai Courtney, who most recently played Bruce Willis’ son in A Good Day to Die Hard, has joined the cast of Lionsgate’s adaptation of Veronica Roth’s YA novel.
Neil Burger (Limitless) is directing the movie set in a future society that is divided into factions based on human traits.
Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing the film via their Red Wagon Entertainment banner along with Pouya Shahbazian. Red Wagon’s Rachel Shane is executive producing.
Summit has set a March 21, 2014, release date.
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — For three seasons, “Spartacus” fans have delighted in cheering on the former gladiators-turned-rebels in the Starz franchise, but this season – the fourth installment — has provided a twist for many of those watching.
Creator Steven S. DeKnight and his writing team have given the gang of rebels some seriously formidable – and arguably likable — foes, ones that are stirring the reactions of the audience.
“It’s actually been interesting,” Todd Lasance, who plays the young, shaggy-haired Julius Caesar in the series said, when Access Hollywood asked him about the reaction to this season’s Roman “bad guys,” who frankly, aren’t all bad.
“There’s been a lot of, ‘I love to hate Caesar,’ or, ‘I kind of like him!’ or, ‘Is it naughty to be liking Caesar?” Todd continued of the responses he’s heard as the episodes have rolled out every Friday at 9 PM on Starz. “I want to sort of shift the audience as much as I can.”
While for some, Caesar is not the villain, for others, he is definitely no hero.
“I wanted to introduce a few darker elements in Caesar, I spoke to the producers about that,” Todd told Access.
Todd explained that in order to play a man who is “capable of achieving such greatness and such glory and such power amongst the people,” but who was “also known for [doing] some pretty terrible, heinous things to the enemy,” his Caesar needed “those dark elements.”
“I don’t think it would all be peachy and he would be this upstanding gentleman, but it’s kind of cool,” Todd said. “I like the fact that the audience is sort of split, and torn. If they want to jump on Caesar’s side, I like that, but then I might throw something in the spanner in there.”
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Don’t expect to see the short and severe Caesar haircut onSpartacus' version of Julius Caesar when you first meet him.
When the notorious Roman makes his debut on the Starz drama Friday at 9/8c, he appears much younger and shaggier than we’ve seen him depicted before. That’s because producers decided to check in on him decades before he became the lover of Cleopatra and the elder statesman fated for assassination. “We went through about six or seven different wigs to get to the actual, proper wig that they wanted,”Todd Lasance, who portrays Caesar, tells TVGuide.com. “It’s nice to actually transform yourself and become a new character, visually. I actually really enjoyed the wigs. And all of my mates and girlfriend loved it.”
Not everybody initially embraced Caesar’s rejuvenated look though. “I’ve read a lot of things online … There’s been a small outcry of, ‘You guys suck. Your casting is terrible. This guy looks nothing like Caesar. Caesar is old and bald!’” executive producerSteven DeKnight says. “But that’s Caesar later in his life, like 30 years later. In this time period Caesar, historically, is right around 29.”
On Friday’s episode, Lasance’s Caesar is an unshorn bruiser returning victorious from foreign battle and poised to team up with Marcus Crassus (Samuel Merrells) to take down Spartacus (Liam McIntyre). Doesn’t sound familiar? The Spartacus writers saw fit to fill in the blanks of Caesar’s youth, but not before consulting with historical experts. “[We asked,] ‘How much would we destroy history by having Caesar as part of this war against Spartacus?’” DeKnight says. “We were all very surprised when they told us that we wouldn’t be destroying history at all. In fact, this was the one small part of history that very little was known about Caesar … It was probable that Caesar was part of this campaign against Spartacus and more than likely served under Crassus.
"That said, everything in the show with Caesar is fictional," he continues. "Although we do frame it with actual events from his past and we make very sly references to what’s coming in the future for Caesar."
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Beyond the different ‘do, this Caesar will exhibit other characteristics that haven’t been seen in Caesar before. “He appears to not conform and stick directly to what would be a traditional Roman way,” Lasance says. “He kind of flies his own flag to a degree. So the rogue element was certainly interesting.
"He’s a definite physical threat as well," Lasance adds. "He needed to be an opponent that was worthy of fighting and could potentially take down the rebels. So, they introduce a few one-on-ones between the higher-ranking rebels as well to show off his fighting ability … And at such an early age, he was commanding legions. I’m 27, and to think two or three years prior, Caesar was commanding legions of men and at the front line of the battlefield. He obviously held an extremely large amount of respect with the military. And ultimately, that’s how he gained so much power and became emperor."
Spartacus will also speculate about the early relationship between Crassus and Caesar “before they joined together with Pompey and overthrew the Republic,” says DeKnight. “They appear to be very close but [in] the letters that they sent back and forth, they really traded barbs. One of the most famous ones was when Crassus came to Caesar’s aid and paid the ransom when Caesar was kidnapped by the pirates. But Crassus didn’t actually rush to pay it, and Caesar sent basically a rather irate note: Thanks for the payment. What the f—- took so long?”
This rather combative interaction is strengthened by mutual respect and fondness. “In my mind, I think Crassus feels like Caesar is kind of like a son to him … the son you wish you had, which causes problems with his real son,” DeKnight explains. “And Caesar and Crassus’ son Tiberius (Christian Antidormi), I played it as much as I could like two brothers each vying for their father’s approval. And it causes a very interesting dynamic and spins into a hell of a great story.”
At first glance, it appears to be a show for men with all the sex, blood and violence. But some of the best and most complicated female characters can be found in the show. Since the very first season, Spartacus has showcase for fascinating female characters and for the actors who play them.
That will be no different in the final season, Spartacus: War of the Damned, premiering Friday night, January 25th, on the Starz network.
“The show is known for the sex and violence but what keeps viewers coming back are the relationships and the love between the characters,” said Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays Naevia, the longest surviving female character on the show. Naevia’s sometimes star-crossed love story with Crixus (Manu Bennett), a former gladiator turned rebel, has been woven through all the show’s seasons.
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You’d think it would be difficult — if not impossible — to keep fans happy when they know their hero is about to die. But the folks behind Spartacus: War of the Damned don’t seem too worried. In fact, as the Starz series prepares to launch its final season on Jan. 25, creator Steven S. DeKnight reminds us that Spartacus’ death at the hands of his Roman oppressors is “not unlike the story of the Titanic. It’s no big secret the boat will sink. It’s how you get there that keeps the audience invested.”
In War of the Damned, the former gladiator (Liam McIntyre) leads a massive, growing army of rebel slaves. That soon pits him against the up-and-coming Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance) and Rome’s hotshot military commander Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells). The latter ultimately defeated Spartacus, who — depending on which history you read — either perished in battle or was captured and crucified. Whichever way, “we will leave our fans with quite a gut punch,” promises DeKnight. “But the final episode is also rousing and inspiring and really beautiful. I was moved to tears in the editing room — and I wrote the damn thing!”