‘Spartacus’: Gannicus Returns to Repay Old Debt

Dustin Clare as Gannicus in Spartacus (Starz)

When “Spartacus: Vengeance” airs on Friday night, the potential for unbridled action goes up several notches with the return of Gannicus (Dustin Clare), the first gladiator to become champion of Capua representing Quintus Lentulus Batiatus (John Hannah).

We first met Gannicus in the prequel “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,” at the conclusion of which he became a free man. Since that time, he has been traveling the world and, while still the Gannicus we knew, he is more worldly.

“He has really enjoyed that freedom and he has very much been a journeyman, exploring a lot of different cultures and people and, I feel, growing from that,” Clare told XfinityTV in an exclusive interview. “We have tried to incorporate that into the costume and hair and different things to make it look like we see a man who has gathered accoutrements and some life lessons along the way. The freedom has been kind to him.”

Now that he is back, Gannicus will reunite with characters from “Gods of the Arena,” but he has yet to meet Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) — and Clare says that while the characters are pursuing different things, there will be a clash. For more, read his interview and check out what has to say about “Vengeance.”

Preview the Return of Gannicus:

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Why does Gannicus want to come back? Does he need to for financial reasons?
It is the major plot point of this episode that is about to air — episode 5. He returns because he has an old debt to repay.

Oenomaus (Peter Mensah) now knows that Gannicus slept with his wife which led to her death. I’m guessing their eventual reunion might get a bit heated?
I assume so.

That’s all you can say?
I would be giving you stuff that’s gold.

Can you talk about the scope of this season?
It has changed a lot in terms of the initial way the series was set up with the fighting in the arena. At the end of my episodes that was the climatic point and the clash structure between the Romans and the gladiators. It is on the road now. In that sense, there is traveling in the piece. There are bigger fights as well. There is a bigger malaise. Larger fights with armies and that type of thing so we are seeing different fighting skills employed, different tactics, so the stunt and fighting choreography team is trying to incorporate that into our fighting styles and the way we work.

Who will we see Gannicus interact with mostly? The rebels/men on the run or Lucretia (Lucy Lawless)/Glaber (Craig Parker), etc?
He will interact with both. That is the great thing about the character. Because he is a free man, he can move between both worlds.

How’s it been working with the new Spartacus – Liam McIntyre. It seems like he’s finally finding his stride etc now that we’re four episodes in?
Liam is a really great guy. He has a great energy. He is really a genuine, lovely guy. He really has a nice energy to have around the set.

Will you two fight?
[Laughs] Do you think the fans are waiting for that one?

I am going to cross my fingers as well.

Lucretia has pretty much been a shadow of herself so far – will we see the “real” version coming back soon?
I think she seems like she is past the point of return, doesn’t she? Lucy is really doing some great work. She has really gone to some great places.

Gannicus had an illicit love interest before, is he going to have another?
Gannicus always has one doesn’t he? I think there is always more than one with Gannicus.

How about one that captures his heart instead of just wine, women & song?
Okay. You will have to watch and see how relationships develop. I don’t think at this point anyone has captured his heart. It is a hard heart to capture.

“Spartacus” has already been renewed for another season. How much will Gannicus be around for the rest of this season and the next?
We start filming again in late April, so I will be around for that season.

Not that you would ever let yourself go, but did you stay in fighting shape for “Spartacus” between seasons, or did you have to re-train? What is that experience like?
I had time off. I stayed in the gym and swam a lot and surfed a lot and spent a lot of time outdoors, but in terms of that intensity of training, I don’t feel that it is something you can keep up for 12 months after 12 months after 12 months. You do need breaks in the regimen — firstly to enjoy the intensity of the training and second to enjoy eating fun foods again.

Do you enjoy the swordplay? Had you done anything like that previously?
No I hadn’t, but I love it. It is my favorite part of work. My favorite part of this show is working with the stunt and fight coordinators. That physical aspect of the show is my favorite to be honest with you.

Is this the most physically demanding role you have ever done?
Definitely. I don’t think you could ask anyone in the stunt scene or the acting scene if there is anything more physical that they had done because they would be lying.

“Spartacus: Vengeance” airs Friday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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