Spartacus Creator Steven S. DeKnight And Stars Talk War Of The Damned (Part 1)

By Kelly West 2013-01-22 17:02:10 discussion comments
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(To Lasance) Now I assume that following history, you deserve congratulations for probably being one of the few people to survive the season. And I was wondering if there were to be a Caesar spin-off, would you be up for it?

Todd Lasance: Look, it would definitely be something we’d look at taking on for sure, without a doubt. There hasn’t been anything specifically officially spoken to me about, but it would definitely be something I would look at if it was brought to the table.

You’ve had such great freedom with Starz to be able to craft this show and you’re working on another show. So what are some of the things that you’ve taken from your experience with Spartacus that you either want to move towards because it works very well for you, or are you looking to do some things very different in the same space?

Steven S. DeKnight: Well first off Starz has been, I can’t tell you the freedom that they have given us. I don’t think anywhere else on television in the United States would we have been allowed to just follow our path. Every now and then there was a question about, “this seems a little bit too naked.” Or, “that might be slightly too violent.” I remember one of the biggest ones was my original idea of stabbing Lucretia, pregnant Lucretia, in the stomach in the end of season one. And at the time they said, “You can’t do that, are you nuts?” Everybody will hate Crixus if he does that.” And I said, “Lucretia is evil, they won’t hate him.”

And then I waited, I bided my time for around four or five months. And then when we got to the end of that first season the idea popped up of Lucretia actually surviving the slaughter and I saw my chance and I sprung and said, “What if the only way she could possibly survive is if Crixus stabs her in the stomach?” Because otherwise he’s going to chop her head off. So I squeaked that one by.

Liam McIntyre: They probably didn’t win many of those battles by the sounds of things. If you’re talking about (unintelligible) right?

Steven S. DeKnight: You know, I thought there was going to be a bit of perhaps an argument of Lucretia taking the baby over the cliff at the end of last season. And I was shocked nobody said a peep about it, everyone was fine. At that point everybody thought that was a great operatic ending. So they have been just fantastic and very supportive creatively. For the next project I’m working on developing a show for Starz called Incursion that’s literally light years away from Spartacus. It’s set in the future, it’s a science fiction military show about this war on another planet. So it’s very, very different.

That said, I’d like to take some of the same elements that I love about Spartacus. Not specific elements, but the general feel. With Spartacus Rob Talpert and I always approached it that our job number one among all else was to entertain the audience. And we wanted to, you know, make sure it was emotional, and twisty, and turvy, and surprising. But we never wanted to lose sight of the fact that we wanted the audience to enjoy the show. And I think too often on this television landscape, especially once you get to premium cable, sometimes you can lose sight of the fact that there is an audience. You’re not just making the show for yourself. And, you know, it’s not a sin to actually have people enjoy what they’re watching.

There is, however, a chance you win less awards that way. But I think it’s a fine, fine trade off to have the audience actually enjoy what you’re doing.

Is there enough in terms of it being – you know there is a lot of war in Spartacus, seems that war is the center of it. Is there a different approach to how you want to explore war? You know, obviously the timeframe is going to dictate a lot of that. But dramatically, considering that’s where a lot of your writing comes from, what is the future, or space, or that new environment giving to you to look at?

Steven S. DeKnight:You know Spartacus I always approached it as a grand operatic canvas. And that’s where everything is, the emotion, the language, the violence, they’re all bigger than life. They’re all stylized really. In the best kind of way, in the way that I love. With the new show I’m looking to do the reverse. Where everything is much more real. You know, where the violence is very – it will be graphic, but it will be very real. And I really want to explore what happens to a person during war. How a person changes, and also explore – there’s a very strong religious undertone to the show. And explore religion and differences of religion. And how your ideas about God and faith can change during war time.

There's more! Read the rest of the conversation here.

Spartacus: War of the Damned premieres Friday, January 25 at 9:00 p.m. Et on Starz.
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