Spartacus: War of the Damned premieres on January 25 with actress Ellen Hollman in the role of Spartacus rebel Saxa for the final season on Starz.
Although Ellen Hollman trained hard for months to play Saxa in Spartacus: Vengeance, Hollman hit the gym and Gladiator Boot Camp even harder for the final Spartacus season called War of the Damned.
After Saxa formed a close allied bond with Dustin Clare’s Gannicus last season, the former slave takes her relationship with the Spartacus General to whole new level. In fact, as Ellen Hollman told The Deadbolt ahead of War of the Damned, everything goes to a whole new level in the final season of the popular Starz series.
What can fans expect from Saxa in War of the Damned?
When we recently caught up with Ellen Hollman for an exclusive chat, the double-dagger wielding Spartacus beauty talked about the evolution of Saxa, her relationship with Gannicus, training for the season, and her favorite moment in War of the Damned.
THE DEADBOLT: So, what’s it like to go from a slave to true warrior rebel this season?
ELLEN HOLLMAN: Well, Saxa doesn’t quite look at herself as a slave, more like a prisoner of war. My biggest challenge was going from the feral, feisty rebel to a full-on warrior goddess, and making that transformation happen in less than a year’s time.
My god, it’s been an absolute honor and privilege. Hopefully the double-dagger skills I have will allow me to survive on the streets of L.A. when I’m trying to get my next job.
It was anyone’s guess who would be left standing after last year’s blood-soaked finale of Spartacus: Vengeance. Among the survivors was Saxa, a German slave who was rescued by Spartacus’ rebels and joined their stand against the Romans.
Saxa returns to the battlefield this season in Spartacus: War of the Damned, the final installment of the Spartacus saga, and is all the more ready to fight, as Ellen Hollman, who plays the warrior, explains. “As each battle is fought and won, our characters develop, and one of the things I discovered this year about Saxa is that she’s grown into her lioness paws,” says the actress.
“She’s no longer just a feisty rebel. Saxa is not only a true warrior but also a woman of few words, and due to the language barrier, she’s forced to communicate in a more straightforward, poignant fashion. Sometimes it’s crude, other times quite insightful, but Saxa is always aware of what’s going on. Nothing gets past her, and we see more of that wise aspect this season.
“Jumping back into not my character’s boots but her daggers for War of the Damned was an absolute pleasure. I spent so much time off-season training for this role that it just felt natural.
“The key for me with Saxa this time around was embracing her more as a woman than a girl and getting the audience to believe she’s a seasoned fighter.
“I didn’t grow up killing Romans on the battlefield, so convincing viewers that Saxa is a born and bred warrior was tricky, but I think they’re going to be more than pleased with the results.”
Audiences can also expect to see things heat up between Saxa and fellow rebel Gannicus (Dustin Clare).
“My character is essentially the female version of Gannicus,” notes Hollman. “Their relationship has developed from a wine-fueled debaucherous one to one with deeper qualities, quite possibly even love.
“I’m excited to see episode three and how Saxa and Gannicus interact when they’re alone. It’s surprisingly sweet and domestic until a certain ‘something’ is revealed,” teases the actress.
Source: Metro News
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Birthday: April 1
What’s your favorite part about shooting Spartacus: Vengeance?
Doing my own stunts and choreographing my own fight scenes. I did a lot of knife training with reverse-grip double daggers. You take two daggers, reverse the grip, and then just fuck shit up, basically.
You had to flip a 220-pound dude over your head in a scene. How was that?
My life may or may not have flashed before my eyes a few times. It was a thrill, though.
Has there been anything on the show you were glad you didn’t have to do?
Oh, yeah. My character has dabbled in just about every graphic category across the board, but some people got it worse in the vulgarity department than I did.
How does Spartacus compare to other shows you’ve done?
Spartacus stands alone in that it’s like shooting a movie every three weeks for seven months straight. I’ve never experienced anything in my life quite like it.
How has your character, Saxa, evolved over the course of the series?
Saxa has gone from feisty kitten to fierce lioness. She’s grown into her paws and is bigger and badder, giving the guys a run for their money.