It’s hard to believe that we’re only a matter of weeks away from the new series of ‘Spartacus: Vengeance,’ which picks things up from where the story left off in ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’.
SciFiPulse recently got the chance to speak with the lovely Cynthia Addai Robinson who will be taking over the role of Naevia from Lesley Ann Brandt who left the series after the prequel ‘Spartacus: Gods of The Arena.
Cynthia has a few genre credits to her name having had a fairly small but recurring role in last years Flashforward and when it came to talking about her new role in Spartacus she was very careful not to give to much away, but was more than happy to give us her take on the character of Naevia and even gave us an insiders opinion on how well the shows other newcomer Liam MacIntyre has coped with taking on the lead role, which was so well established by the late Andy Whitfield in the shows epic first season.
SciFiPulse: You’re in the unenviable position of taking over the role of Naevia from Lesley-Ann Brandt on Spartacus. How have you dealt with that and given that it is an actors job to bring something to the role. What if anything do you feel you have brought to the role.
Cynthia Addai Robinson: It wasn’t something that hit me until I actually got to the set that I realised, ‘Oh my god!’ You know am going to be playing a role that someone else has already established. And before I was hired I hadn’t seen the show and once I’d got the job I sort of had a marathon viewing.
I think Lesley Ann did an amazing job of establishing the character of Naevia and establishing that love story between her character and Crixus who is played by Manu Bennett.
So it’s always tricky to be in a position where you have to carry the torch. Especially when its a love story that people are really invested in. So my main concern was just to make sure that I did that storyline justice.
But at the same time the character this season. You know without giving anything away definitely has a different energy to her storyline from the previous season. So in a way I’m playing a different character.
So I used what Lesley Ann had established as background for the character. But moving forward you’re going to see Naevia in a different light. So it was sort of like playing a character that was just unique to me and the story. Hopefully the people go with it. It’s always a tricky situation.
And it is Liam MacIntyre and I that are in that situation, but obviously all eyes will be on Liam, but you know I think we we’re welcomed with open arms and I had a really great working relationship with Manu and that was really helpful to me as well. So yeah it was really a positive experience and after awhile it became a none issue.
SciFiPulse: When we last seen Naevia on the show she had pretty much been sold off to another house after it was revealed to Lucretia that Naevia had been having a relationship with Crixus. How does her story pick up in Spartacus: Vengeance and how would you say that whole experience of being cast out of a house that she’d essentially grown up in has changed her.
Cynthia Addai Robinson: That’s really tricky. All I will say is that again the direction that they have taken… that the writers have taken with Naevia is drastically different from either the first season or the prequel.
The audience is definitely in store for a lot of surprises. I can’t think of anything potentially to say that doesn’t get me into trouble [Laughs].
So people will really have to tune in. But let me say that I felt really fortunate to play Naevia at this stage because they’ve really created a great arc for her this season. So I think the audience will be into it.
SciFiPulse: The one thing that always struck me about Naevia throughout the series is that she had a quiet strength about her.
Cynthia Addai Robinson: Yeah. I agree with that. I think probably in that era you almost have an only the strong survive sort of environment. So yeah I would agree that from what you’ve seen in the first two seasons that Naevia has a quiet strength and would say that also carries over to this season as well.
SciFiPulse: You are not the only actor to come in and take over a role. Liam McIntyre was given the sad and unenviable task of taking over the role of Spartacus. Can you talk a little about him and how you think from an insiders perspective he has taken to the role.
Cynthia Addai Robinson: We are a very large cast that is always around one another and working together.
Liam again was the more noticeable replacement between the two of us and I have to say watching him work. Watching him handle the various challenges that he’s amazing and I completely understand why the producers chose him. He’s just a class act and to have that challenge of constantly being compared to someone who was very much beloved by both the audience and the cast and crew. That’s a really difficult and humbling position to be in and I just think Liam handles it so well.
I think the audience is absolutely going to love him. I mean he onscreen. I mean they’ve already released some early footage and behind the scenes stuff and he looks great and I think that the audience is really going to be able to warm to him very quickly and just get right back into the story. I’m actually real excited for people to see what he does on the show because I think they’ll love him.
You’ll be able to hear a unedited version of this interview in the next episode of the SFP-NOW podcast, which is currently being put together in the hopes that we can get it to you by Thursday or Friday.
Spartacus: Vengeance returns to television on Friday 27 January on Starz.
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By Ian M. Cullen