Interview: Liam McIntyre Talks ‘Spartacus: War of the Damned’

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The final season of Spartacus: War of the Damned is upon us starting this Friday, January 25th on Starz. Last season we left off with Spartacus and his merry band of rebels facing the full might of the Roman army, which are as feisty as ever. I was lucky enough to sit down with the ruggedly handsome, chipper, and all around good guy to have in your corner if you happen to come across an army, Liam McIntyre. He shared some insight on the upcoming season.

The Flickcast: What has happened in the time between the ending of Vengeance and the start of this season, War of the Damned with Spartacus’ team?

Liam McIntyre: A lot, they’ve been fighting legions of Romans, so you’ll find everyone in a slightly different place. Spartacus is very much in commander mode, he doesn’t take shit from anybody, pardon.

From last year searching for a way into that leadership role and who he really is in terms of this war that they’ve gone on, he’s now very much that guy.  It’s fun to play and difficult because you can’t just play a commander, because he’s  boring.  It is all [about] the relationships with all of the generals. Each one has a different dynamic with the other and keeps kind of a shifting sands kind of feeling.

When we open this season we’re doing well, things are going quite well and that’s not something that always happens.  But, from there, if you read Wikipedia, things don’t always pan out the way like I’d imagine you’d want them to, certainly not from my character’s point of view, but it’s the way those things happened.

TF: Can you tell us about any exciting scenes you’ve filmed with Manu Bennett (Crixus) so far?

LM: Manu and I filmed some really, really energetic scenes just before we got on the plane [for this interview], some of the most dramatically tiring things I’ve done on the whole show.  I won’t spoil the story because in reading it as an actor, I’ve loved just reading those stories and going “Oh, you didn’t!”  I feel like such a fanboy reading these scripts sometimes, just the way they twist relationships.

Crixus has got a fantastic storyline.  The two different people that Crixus and Spartacus are was sort of hinted on in the first season when they’re in the training square and they have that chat just before it all kicks off of how they could never be friends.  That sort of really plays out under the stress and pressure of a war. That’s a great thing to play as an actor.

TF: Will Spartacus have a love interest in the new season?

LM: It’s still Spartacus, so I don’t rule anything out. But, for Spartacus, it’s almost that very manly thing of trying to shut love out because you can’t afford to let that in because of the history- everyone that touches him turns dead.

He’s now got a bigger cause so he can’t distract himself with love anymore.  He has to be cruel to be kind so that he can win a war.  That’s the job he has, but that’s difficult in itself.  Trying to be the guy that doesn’t feel is hard because by nature he’s a good human being and that’s why he’s on this journey at all.  That’s one of the things I love playing with is how a man tries to shut himself down and finds that he can’t.

TF: How have you trained for the upcoming season?

LM: Well one of the fun things I did between seasons is I went and found this friend of mine that does circus. I reckon there’d be some cool moves I could do like flips and somersaults and crazy- awesome moves that Spartacus doesn’t do. I don’t think you’ll ever find him climb a roof and somersault off it and slice a guy in half.  But, if he does, you’ll know why.

Al Poppleton, the stunt coordinator, decided to mix it up a little bit and got on this whole military kick and just put us through all these marine style drills.  We’re running through parks with “ammo cases” and twenty kilo bags and we’re putting people on our shoulders and running back and commando crawling through things. We’re trying to throw oranges into a box because it’s a “grenade” and if you hit the box you get five seconds off your time. He just finds a way to make things painful.

TF: Are you competitive with the other rebels in training?

LM: Yeah, that’s the best part because it’s all timed and damned if I let Manu [Bennett] beat me on a time. It’s very friendly at the start then it’s like “GO! Let’s do this!” It really is the best way to get a cast together. If you fight and struggle together and you really try to get each other through things, it’s kind of like the story itself. It’s a story we’re kind of about to live anyway, where it’s against impossible odds you got to try and find a way to get each other through things.  It’s a good way to get people on the same page.

TF: Spartacus the series is known for its use of slick, bloody visuals and hyper-stylized shots.  Have you had a chance to look at the visual effects shots this season?

LM: We’ve got new technology we’re using to film things with, which I haven’t seen on a TV show before.  I was extremely impressed by it, don’t know how they did the R&D for it, but it should make some deaths unbelievably cool.

TF: How does it feel this season vs. last season?

LM: It’s different, so many things have changed. We’re kind of ending this amazing history with this crazy legacy of so many ups and downs through the show and so many cool things.  It’s also a little more comfortable because I know what to expect and I know what the situation is and I know how it works.  So, it’s a little bit more comfortable in some ways but still, no less epic.

Epic? Truer words were never spoken.  As War of the Damned is the title of the final season, it’s a good bet it will be all kinds of epic.  Tune in Friday, January 25th on Starz to watch Spartacus take on a legion of angry honey badgers, err I mean Romans and enjoy.

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