It's about time the women got to be part of the action on Spartacus: Vengeance, and we're not just talking about between the sheets.
This season's female ex-slaves have become an integral part of the resistance movement. Mira in particular helped orchestrate the demolition of Capua's gladiator arena and has also proven to be fierce in the field. In one skirmish, she even took a flying leap and landed on a Roman guard, stabbing him repeatedly.
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"I think that jump is being called the Flying Squirrel Monkey," Katrina Law, who plays former slave girl Mira, tells TVGuide.com. "I did all of my own stunts. There were no springboards or wires. It only took two takes to do it, so I'm pretty proud of myself."
Mira's shift from servile to scrappy was partly organic to the story line and partly a result of Law's conversations with the writers at the end of Season 1. "I really emphasized that I would love to get in on the action," Law explains. "It was always the men that were the violence and always women doing the whole sexuality thing. So when I started seeing the new scripts and I realized that Mira was getting more and more active, I was like, 'Oh, yes. I get to pick up something and be dangerous and fight and be active.' It's a whole hell of a lot more fun than holding a vase in the background."
Check out what else Law has to say about Mira's evolution, the sex scenes with Liam McIntyre and an intimate moment with a new warrior lady:
Mira seems pretty vicious, but how tough is she really? She hasn't trained like the gladiators have.
Katrina Law: Yeah, she's been pretty reckless for a good deal. She sees somebody in danger and she knows that if she could just stop them for a second or distract them, then maybe they'll have a chance to live. I think she knows very well that she's not ready to take on any Romans or gladiators yet, which is why most of the time you see her cringing behind a tree. But every now and then, she'll gather the strength, and get out there, and have a little play.
How will we see Mira's fighting skills evolve?
Law: She's not suddenly this ninja badass. Everything that she's done so far has been out of panic and self-preservation. She's been taking hits to the face and getting knocked down and getting the crap beat out of her, but she keeps getting up. Eventually, she will learn how to use the bow, and I think that's when her confidence really starts to kick in, once she has a weapon that she knows how to use. That she can actually say, "I trained in this, and this is what I'm good at."
How did you take to the weapons? Are you as good as Mira with the bow and arrow?
Law: I'm going to credit my dad. He taught me how to shoot a bow and arrow when I was younger, so it came back very easily, and I'm a pretty good shot... I'm also really good with a knife in my hand, but I was a little uncomfortable with the sword just because it's so heavy and I felt like I didn't have the strength. I also felt like it was a useless weapon, especially for a woman going against a man because as soon as I would hit a man with my sword, it would either bounce off and hit me in the face, or he would just throw it away and kill me. So I kind of felt like as a woman I had more of a chance of getting in there with a knife because I could be quicker, faster. I could get a score. And then, with the bow and arrow, just by distance and accuracy I could take out my opponent.
Since you had to be more active this season, did you take part in that infamous gladiator boot camp? What was training like?
Law: We would do relay races where there was an obstacle, like, say, a 300-pound tire. And as a team, you had to flip it all the way down, run back, do push-ups, run back, flip it all of the way back, run down, do sit-ups, run all of the way back, push it all of the way down again. We also have a circuit training where we go around and we do different things like throwing sledgehammers, lifting weights. It was really good for building the team spirit and the camaraderie. I just felt like I was one of the boys.
Check out this preview of Friday's episode (10/9c, Starz) to catch a glimpse of Mira wielding a bow and arrow:
The training sounds pretty brutal. What sort of injuries did you have?
Law: Well I did develop plantar fasciitis and Fat Pad Syndrome, which I had never heard of before... It was amazing every day trying to walk, and getting out of bed was terrible. And then I also hurt my rotator cuff, so that's kind of an ongoing injury. But it's such a physical show that you just kind of expect it.
Have you healed yet? At least this is an excuse not to wear high heels, right?
Law: It will take a couple of months to heal. And unfortunately in this industry, you've just got to suck it up and wear the heels, but it's not that bad. It's more the running that's a problem. It's terrible. You run just to get back to the same place. I don't get it.
What else concerns Mira this season beyond the fighting?
Law: I think Mira is a big question mark, even to herself right now. One of the other things that she and all of the other house slaves have run into is that they are completely beholden to the gladiators. If the gladiators choose to leave them for whatever reason, they are sh-- out of luck, to say. They don't know how to feed themselves, defend themselves, clothe themselves or find shelter. So each person is now going through their individual journey to figure out what it is that they bring to this world and where they stand.
Law: As of right now, she's head over heels in love with Spartacus [McIntyre], but I think she's starting to see the light and she's not necessarily liking what she's seeing. So she needs to figure out if Spartacus loves her, if she actually loves him, or was he the first thing that she clung to. I want to, like, hold her and be like, "Girl, he's just not that into you."
Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) is another former slave from the House of Batiatus, but it seems like she's had a rougher road than Mira. What's her journey this season?
Law: When we first find Naevia, obviously, she's been in the mine for months now. She's been raped. She's been beaten. She's been stuck in, essentially, a clay dungeon underneath the earth. So she's not doing that well. She's traumatized, a little bit PTSD at this point... but as the season goes, you're just going to see her getting stronger and more confident. She realizes that she must very quickly learn how to defend herself, and figure out what her place is in this newfound freedom. And she's angry.
You're not the only intimidating lady this season, though. Can you tell us about this German warrior woman, Saxa (Ellen Hollman)?
Law: The first time Mira actually sees Saxa, I'm pretty sure Mira's first thoughts were, "What is this mangy, feral, rabid cat doing in our campground?" All of the Germans in the series just look like mangy, mangy cats, so it's pretty funny. She also doesn't speak English so there's this big communication gap going on, and a lot of distrust between the two women. But eventually they find their place of how to work together with each other. I think you're going to love her character. She's a fighter from the start, and she was training before she even reached the rebel camp. So for all of those women looking for more fighters, you're going to get one.
We've heard that there's a kiss between Mira and Saxa. How does that come about?
Law: Because there are so few women in the rebel camp, whenever [Hollman] and I would rehearse our fights, we would instantly somehow have a huge audience of men. During the one fight scene, she basically said, "I'm going to plant one on you at the end." So we do this huge massive fight scene, a good couple of beats, there are four people involved, and at the end, she and I win. And she leans over and plants this huge kiss on me, but I kind of forgot that she was going to do it. So it was just this big, wet, sloppy kiss in front of everybody, and it was just hysterical because they actually use the tape where you see my face reacting [in surprise]. That, actually, was my favorite day ever in my entire career on the set... She made out with me. It was good. My fiancé dug it.
As Spartacus intimate scenes go, however, a kiss is pretty tame. How is it shooting the love scenes with Liam McIntyre? Is there any awkwardness, or do you laugh?
Law: There's a lovely comfort zone with him having met and knowing my fiancé, and then vice versa I met his girlfriend. So we both kind of knew that we were in safe territory, and this was strictly about business. When we approach the sex scenes, we always know, "My hands are going to be here for five seconds, and then I'm going to do this. And then you're going to turn this way, and then I'm going to do this. And then we're going to flip, and we're going to do this for 10 seconds. And then, we're done." The first time we were talking about it, I remember we got into this conversation about thrusting. There was this huge panic. I was like, "Are you thrusting? Because I'm not thrusting." He's like, "I'm not thrusting. Are you thrusting?" The director's like, "Nobody is thrusting. There's no thrusting. No thrusting talk." So, yeah, there's a lot of humor involved.
Spartacus: Vengeance airs on Fridays at 10/9c on Starz.
Do you like this season's woman warriors? Do you have a favorite? Would you like to see more?