‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena‘ debuted last week to huge numbers on Starz, pulling in just under two million viewers for combined airings last Friday night in its premiere episode. Taking on the lead role of Gannacus, the star of the Ludus in the buzzed about prequel, is Australian Dustin Clare. Fancast caught up recently with Clare to get the scoop on his character’s motivations, working with the international cast, and whether there’s a future for his character in the upcoming Season 2 of ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand.’
How’d you get involved in the project?
(Executive Producer) Rob Tapert had seen work of mine in Australia and was keen to have me involved in the show. I was sent this new role of Gannacus to test for, and I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t seen the series so I got sent that and watched that. I think from the second half of the first season, it really knew what it was and geared up. The characters really started interacting – those character relationships were building – and I thought that was something interesting I could do with the role. I tested for it and then the rest is history. I really thought the first series found its feet about five episodes in during the first season. The show really knows what it is now. We’ve got six really succinct episodes. The way the characters all interact is great. Exploring all that and finding all that – the new cameras and toys, how do we keep pushing it, pushing the boundaries while creating new tricks to do. There’s plenty of them on this show.
What are your character’s motivations?
He’s very, very self-destructive. He’s probably got suicidal tendencies and is tryin to escape from his reality. He’s got problems with addiction. He’s got a lot of contradictions in him – how we see him first and then how we unravel him and reveal who he is and his dilemmas. That’s the interesting thing for the audience, and the interesting thing for me to play as an actor. I’ve modeled him physically in the arena after the Australian boxer Anthony Mundine, who is a guy – with the crowd for him or against him, can use them to his advantage. He’s extremely cocky. I kinda use that with Gannacus – but he can only be so cocky because he’s so skilled. I think those people can only really get away with their skill. Anthony Mundine is a highly skilled boxer and commands great respect. Gannacus is extremely skilled in the same way, a very athletic gladiator and very skilled with his swords. He’s fast – we’ll play with speed a lot.
What is his relationship with Oenomaus (Doctore)?
That’s the link in. People that know the first series, will know what a stoic, standout character Oenomaus (Doctore) was. For me, when I saw that relationship, I thought there’s levels and depths to these characters. Otherwise, the Doctore character wouldn’t have anything to do with him because he’s such a stoic human being with great morals. Gannacus and him have a great friendship. That’s a big part of Gannacus’ survival – the link to Oenomaus and his friendship. I think it’ll be great for the people that really follow the show. They’ll get to see characters like Barka, even gladiators with smaller parts in the first season, you’ll get to see a bit more inside them.
Will we see Gannacus again after the prequel, possibly in Season 2?
In the history of Spartacus, Gannacus is a character that’s central to the story. We may well see him again … Who knows how they’re gonna do it though or if they’re gonna do it?
What was it like working with Lucy Lawless and John Hannah?
John is a really well-established actor and he has a lot of fun. Lucy is fantastic – a real professional and really warm and down to earth. She’s really loved by the crews in New Zealand – she’s almost a cultural icon down there. It’s nice to get to work with them. The great thing is you get to work with all these different actors of different nationalities- Lucy’s a Kiwi (she’s from New Zealand), John’s Scottish, Peter Mensah is American by way of England and Ghana, Manu Bennett who’s Kiwi by way of Australia, I’m Australian. It’s a very multi-national mix within the group. We all bring our own things from our own different parts of the world.