Katrina Law talks Spartacus: Vengeance

The hit Starz series returns with all-new episodes starting this Friday, January 27th

On the heels of the bloody escape from the House of Batiatus that concluded Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the gladiator rebellion continues and begins to strike fear into the heart of the Roman Republic in Spartacus: Vengeance, beginning with Fugitivus on January 27th.

Gaius Claudius Glaber and his Roman troops are sent to Capua to crush the growing band of freed slaves that Spartacus leads before it can inflict further damage. Spartacus is presented the choice of satisfying his personal need for vengeance against the man that condemned his wife to slavery and eventual death or making the larger sacrifices necessary to keep his budding army from breaking apart. Containing all of the blood-soaked action, exotic sexuality, and villainy and heroism that has come to distinguish the series, the tale of Spartacus resumes in epic fashion.

We recently caught up with Katrina Law, who plays slave girl Mira on the show, to chat about this upcoming season. Mira is a freed slave who played a vital part in helping Spartacus plot and execute the escape from Batiatus' ludus and thus helped to trigger the uprising that now grows in strength.

Mira is profoundly dedicated to Spartacus and the larger cause that inflames them both, proving herself a fierce champion for freedom and justice for those they fight alongside and those yet to be liberated. She is deeply devoted to the cause, and even more so to Spartacus himself.

Our conversation is below.

There's been a bit of a hiatus between Season 1 and Season 2. How excited are you for this show to return, finally?

Katrina Law: I am stoked, and I feel incredibly blessed. I wouldn't say it's been traumatizing in this last year and a half. But there have been some ups and downs. At the end of the day, it's moving on. I'm excited to get the show back. I am excited for people to see it.

It seems a lapse in time has only made fans hungrier for the show. They certainly haven't forgotten that it's still out there. That it's coming back...

Katrina Law: We have the most crazy, awesome, rabid fans. They are so dedicated to the show. They are invested in it. That's what you want. Of course you want to be on a show, and have people go crazy for it. I'm honored. I feel so lucky to be a part of it. To be a part of this entire Spartacus movement...To say the least. To have this kind of fan reaction? It will be interesting, with the new castings, and everything that has happened in-between. It will be interesting to see how those fans react. But, from what I have seen so far, people are going to be pleasantly surprised, and happy about what they will see.

Andy gave his blessing before he passed away to continue on with the show. That must have meant a lot to both the cast and crew...

Katrina Law: It did mean a lot. That is something that goes beyond the fan recognition. I don't think there is a single person on this show that would have been able to continue without his blessing. Andy Whitfield was the reason. He is the reason why we have a season two. Because of the amazing work he did in season one. I think we would have all walked away from it without looking back. With the fans, it's been great. They have been so supportive. Of course, there are always a few people who don't understand the situation. They don't understand what is going on. People were saying, "Why don't you just wait?" Its like, he didn't pull a hamstring. He is fighting for his life right now. This is different. Unfortunatly, at the end of the day, he didn't win that battle. The cast and the crew, and the producers have stayed strong throughout this, and the fans always remain supportive. I want to say, "Thank you!" To the fans for coming back to season 2.

When you have more than one new actor replacing an established character on a hit show, does that open it up for more revisions? Were you able to do anything new with your character that might be a little bit different this season? Or is Mira the same slave girl we've come to know and love?

Katrina Law: Um...Well, you definitely have to hold true to what you did in season one, and that goes for all of the characters. I think anyone that had interaction with Spartacus, which I think is pretty much everyone...The show is called Spartacus...You have to approach Liam McIntyre differently, because he has walked into an almost impossible situation. And he has done the best that any man could do. He has done a beautiful job. He has remained humble and gracious. He is just a sweetheart in real life. He felt he had a lot to honor, yet he brought his own flavor to the role. Now, when you are interacting with Spartacus, you have to take into account that this is a different dynamic. You have to act against what is present in front of you. And not what is in the past. I don't know, necessarily, if there is a newfound freedom to do something different with the role. It's about acting against what is in front of you. Cynthia Addai-Robinson is beautiful. She is such a great actress, and she has done such a wonderful job of honoring what came before with the character of Naevia. She definitely brought her own flavor and twist. I know you will be happy when you see what happens between Crixus and Naevia.

Mira was freed at the end of season one. How does this new found freedom play into her evolution throughout season two?

Katrina Law: In season one, you saw a woman who was, in the most convenient terms, resigned to her fate. This was her life. This was her daily routine. This is what she needed to do to stay alive. This is what she needed to do to not be beaten, or starved, or tortured. She was very resigned to her life. Then, she is presented with the possibility of love. Of freedom. Being able to dream without the threat of it being cut down. She might be able to have a husband and a life, and children. All of these things she has been afraid to dream of. In season one, I felt she was very reserved, and stagnant. She is just quiet, because there is nothing else for her to be, Other than that. In season two, she is getting a taste of freedom for the first time. She is getting excited. I can feel her starting to vibrate, if that makes sense, about the possibilities of this future. Everything is wide open. So you get to see her come to life a lot more. You get to see her fight for the possibility of freedom, and the possibility of love. Fight for all these things she has dreamed of. This year, she is a little feisty one. You need to see all of the shenanigans she gets up to.

Can you give us a hint of those shenanigans?

Katrina Law: I don't think I can without the possibility of someone knocking on my door late at night, beating me up. (Laughs) In the trailer, you do see her with a bow and arrow. She does pick up that bow and arrow. And she does learn how to use it! (Laughs) Yeah, unfortunately, I am sworn to secrecy!

The show has become popular for its violence and gore, and its sex and nudity, along with its grade A story telling. Can you give us a hint at some of the more gruesome stuff we may see this year?

Katrina Law: Okay. In episode one, there is going to be a scene in there...The first time I watched it...There was a cast and crew screening in New Zealand...I remember when this scene came on...I know how much blood and violence is on this show. I watched all of season one. I am on set every single day...I know! But I am watching this on screen, and it just made me go, "Oh, my gosh!" Anybody that wants to see the sex? Its there. Anybody that wants to see the violence? It has not gone away. Anybody that wants to see the devious storytelling, the manipulation of the Roman side, and the fighting on the rebel side...Who is going to come out on top, who is telling lies, who is being truthful, who is on which side? You are going to get all of that and more than you could possibly bargain for. By the end of the season...Who lives and who dies? Oh, my gosh! Jaws will be dropped. I am excited. Can you tell I'm excited?

Definitely. For you, are some of the visceral aspects less shocking after being on set, then seeing them on screen?

Katrina Law: No. Because you only work on the scene you are in. You read the script, you talk about what is going on with your character, but there is a whole world beyond your character that you don't see. Yeah, you may talk to some of the cast members, and they will tell you, "I shot this today, and it was incredible!" Its not until you actually see it come to fruition on screen...Even with some of my own scenes...I'll say, "I saw that happen on set." But then they take it through post, and all of this other stuff is being done and added. By the time I see it, I'm like, "oh, my god! That is just craziness!" Yeah, it takes away some of the shock...But it still hits you. For instance, in season one, I was there for two or three days, when we shot one of the death scenes. I was there, I read the script...But still, when it aired, and I was sitting there watching it...I was in tears by the end of it. And I knew what was happening. I think it's pretty special that a show can have an impact on you like that, even when you know what the outcome is going to be.

In terms of who lives and who dies in season two, how nerve wracking is that for you to sit down and read a new script, knowing at any moment, Mira's head may be the next to roll?

Katrina Law: (Laughs) You are definitely taught from the day that you sign no, not to get attached. There is that...It adds a sense of excitement. As an actor, you definitely want these juicy roles. You want the security of a job. At the same time, you also want to move onto other roles. Here is that excitement of not knowing what is happening. Maybe I will get to play this character for a long time, maybe I won't. It makes you appreciate every script and every day as it comes. Which is exciting. When most of the actors find out their death is coming up, they get excited. They know there is going to be an awesome death that is worthy of dying for. It is really cool. Everyone has this bull's-eye on their back. No one is expected to live forever. You take it as it comes and goes. You need to enjoy your friends while you are there, and say good-bye to them when they are gone.

So you can't even speak on whether or not you're coming back for season three. That has to be tough for you, if you know, right now, that Mira is dead.

Katrina Law: (Laughs) The mystery of it all. Its fun for the cast mates. We all know who lives and dies. So it's been fun watching people talk in interviews, what they reveal, and how they skirt around these issues. It's good.

Are you guys done shooting this newest batch of episodes?

Katrina Law: Yes, we wrapped on October 15th. So everything has been shot. Whether or not the post work is done, that is a different story. But the actor's work is all finished.

Can you reveal whether or not you have a favorite episode coming up in the next couple of weeks? Or a favorite scene for Mira that your excited for the fans to see?

Katrina Law: Oh...My favorite episode will probably be Episode 4. During the first three episodes, you are just being introduced to new characters. You are just figuring out what this world is now. You are getting used to the Rebels being on the run, and you are just starting to figure out whom these people are. You are getting introduced to the plots, and twists, and what this story is doing. Then, in Episode 4, that's when the story really starts to take off for everyone. Across the board, for every character, it's a great episode.

Aside from the cast changes, is there a tonal shift as well?

Katrina Law: Visually, it's the same show. You are going to get the same graphic novel style, and the blood and violence that makes Spartacus, Spartacus. There are the twists and turns. But I think, what makes the show different this year, and makes it feel like a completely different show, is that there is now outside scenery. In the first season, you are contained inside, and then you move to the arena. There are really only two places where everything takes place. Now, you get the forest, and mountains, all of this scenery, and water. All of these different elements that weren't in season one. It gives it a completely different feel. I think it's refreshing. There might be some people who prefer that dynamic, of having those original two locations. But having different sets to play in was more exciting than showing up to the same set every single day. I think it's going to be more exciting just for that. And the scenery, the sets, and design...It's just gorgeous. I think people are going to really appreciate it on that level.

And in terms of appreciating scenery, fans have certainly enjoyed your wardrobe, or lack of it...What can we expect to see in terms of Mira's style, and how that evolves this season?

Katrina Law: Well...Definitely, you will see me in armor. Mira is usually seen wearing rags. I used to describe her costume as a handkerchief. The handkerchief might have had more material than her costume. This year, she is wearing something that is a little more conducive to running through the woods, and what not. When she gets her bow and arrow, she gets an arm guard, and she gets some armor gear. She starts to look like a little warrior princess. That was fun. The leather work and spooling on the costumes was just beautiful. The guy that does all the leatherwork...His name is Wild Man, and he just does the most phenomenal costume work. For me to have a piece of my costume come from his work is so flattering. Because before, only the gladiators got to wear it. Now, Mira gets to wear a piece of it too. Yes. That was cool.

In terms of the year hiatus between the two seasons, did you use that time to study the bow, and become proficient in its use as a weapon?

Katrina Law: Well, first of all, during that time, we were never sure there was going to be a season two. A lot of that time was spent wondering what was going to happen with the show. By the time season two was a go, by the time it was for sure, and they knew it was going to be recasting, I only had a month to get in shape for what I needed to do on this show. With the bow and arrow? It past the point were they said, "Oh, you will be a natural. It will be fine!" I was like, "I haven't touched a bow and arrow." They said, "Just shoot straight at the camera, and hit the bulls eye." I was like, "I'm sorry. I just touched this today...And you want me to hit the bulls eye?" That's how it went. I did it, and there you go...

And now you are off to the Olympics...

Katrina Law: Yes! It helps that my dad was a pretty good archer. He taught me when I was eleven or twelve. The only thing I forgot to do is bend my elbow all the way. So I had this wicked bruise on my elbow, because the string kept hitting my arm. It was fine, though. I had a good time. They bet me five dollars that I couldn't hit the cameraman. I did. And they never gave me the five dollars.

How bad did you hit the camera guy?

Katrina Law: Oh, it was a soft tip. He could take it!

You just wing him every time you feel he's not paying attention. You just whip off an arrow...

Katrina Law: (Laughs) You have to stay entertained on set some how.

No doubt. That sounds like a dangerous set. Its crazy. We have Disney and Pixar's Brave, and we have the Hunger Games, both of which have heroines whose weapon of choice is the bow and arrow. 2012 might be the year of the bow and arrow.

Katrina Law: These things come and go in trends. I think its weird. It's like baby names. Suddenly, everyone is naming their baby the same thing. The bow and arrow is cool. It's kind of a dangerous weapon. It shouldn't be taken lightly. Unless you are trying to shoot the camera guy. Right? Like I said, entertainment on set is priceless.

Does anyone ever get hurt? Nicked or cut?

Katrina Law: Yeah. It's a physical show. And there are a lot of characters on this show, and they always fight. There will be times when you are just walking through, and the rest of the extras and cast is supposed to be having foot practice. So you are just walking through the set, and swords and shields are flying...People are doing roles...It's a physical show. Of course there are going to be some injuries. The trick is to minimize it, so they are superficial injuries. Not major ones. I don't think anyone has been harmed on this show. It is just a little bruise here, or a nick there. It is a painful show to be a part of. It's all worth it. Everyone is happy with the cuts they get.

Aside from the bow bruise, you've come out unscathed, it sounds like?

Katrina Law: Yeah...I have a few injuries that have been long lasting. But I don't think it's the fault of anyone but my own. It's just the nature of the show.

B. Alan Orange