That’s a wrap! Filming is now complete on the next season of Starz’s Spartacus franchise, and Liam McIntyre said the cast and crew of the 10-episode series, which returns in January, wanted to do right by original series star, the late Andy Whitfield.
“I think everyone was really excited to do the show and try and do him proud and really get in there and keep making the show,” Liam told AccessHollywood.com’s Laura Saltman of what things were like on the very first day he hit the New Zealand “Spartacus: Vengeance” set earlier this year.
It was a big year in the Spartacus franchise world. In January, Starz began airing the prequel mini-series – “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,” starring Dustin Clare, and then – with Andy’s blessing – moved forward with Season 2 of the Spartacus-as-the-star drama, bringing in Liam as the new freeman-turned-gladiator-turned-soldier.
Sadly, though, the cast and crew of the show were delivered a blow in September, when, while in production on “Spartacus: Vengeance,” the news broke that Andy, who had been suffering from non-Hodkin’s lymphoma, had passed away.
“That’s probably the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” Liam said of the moment a producer on the show told the ensemble.
But, the emotional moment served to inspire those involved in the series – which also stars Lucy Lawless and Manu Bennett – to work harder.
“It was cool to see everyone pull together and say, this gives us a reason to do an even better show because we’ll give him that if we can,” Liam said.
In fact, long before he even started filming, Liam (who was a big fan of the show before he was cast) was putting in a professional athlete-style effort to turn into the B.C. man who led an uprising against the Romans.
“I did this other job and pretty much the day after, they said, ‘Come down to New Zealand, you might be the guy that’ll play Spartacus in the next season.’ I sort of laughed and went ‘OK, I’ve seen that show, I really like that show and I don’t look anything like Spartacus,’” he said, a reference to his former skinny physique for a role in the film, “Frozen Moments.” “But, you know, four months of hard training later and apparently they thought that was going to work out.”
And on the set, Liam broke out the brawn, engaging in battle scenes and sword fighting, leaving him with aches and pains most days of shooting the action-packed series.
“I certainly beat my body into submission… It’s like a tenderizing thing. It’s good --it means there’s cool things in the show, which is a good thing,” he noted.
“Spartacus: Vengeance” premieres on Starz in January.