May, 2013 | Ellen Hollman earned herself a place in the hearts of “Spartacus” fans by portraying the Germanic warrior Saxa. In our interview Ellen talks about preparing for this strong, physical role, working with her castmates and how the “Spartacus” cast and crew keep the memory of Andy Whitfield alive.
1. Saxa is an exceptionally strong female character who made a great impact on the viewers. Had you ever expected such a huge response and what will stay with you from the experience of playing her for the rest your life?
It’s a rare honor and privilege to be able to have such a strong, physical role to play as a woman. It’s heartwarming to see such a favorable response from the audience as I gave my absolute all to Saxa. I can promise you that a piece of that sassy, Germanic warrior will always be with me.
2. Saxa is such a fierce warrior who easily takes on any Roman soldier. Did you do a lot of research about if there really were female warrios like her in the Servile War?
I assumed that for a female fighter to be accepted by her fellow male counterparts she would have to be just as (if not more) rude, brash, violent and skilled on the battlefield. Saxa may not be glamorous at times but you believe every moment she has a weapon in her hand. As for research, there have been remains of a female Gladiator that was discovered in Trier, Germany. Apparently they fought bearing midriff and portrayed their victories by raising one arm high above their heads. Sound familiar? I found this out after shooting “Vengeance”, it was sheer coincidence that my character happened to have the same physicality as the ancient female Gladiators. Perhaps it’s in my blood after all?
The Spartacus star reveals how she trains for the physically demanding role of Saxa on this addictive Starz series—and why Thai takeout makes her feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Q. Are you super-careful about your daily diet?
A. With every meal I do my best to keep a balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. I try to avoid anything fried because it makes me feel sluggish afterward, and like I’ve wasted hours of training on something that doesn’t even satisfy my hunger.
Q. What’s your favorite cheat/treat meal?
A. Pad Thai, hands down. I allow myself one cheat day a week, and in my case it’s “Fat Sunday.” If I don’t have to be on camera the next day there’s nothing like a belly full of sodium and noodles to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Q. How often do you work out?
A. Five days a week. I treat exercise like it’s my job. I do something nearly every day, though it varies. I’m a huge fan of circuit training, Bikram yoga, and MMA. For cardio, I prefer to do an hour-long canyon run in the California sunshine—nothing gets those endorphins firing more than a scenic mountain run!
Q. If you had to pick one, what is your favorite strength exercise?
A. My favorite exercise is quite mobile, actually. It’s the P90X Ab Ripper, which can be done anywhere. I tend to travel a lot, and try to keep my core toned with this amazing 15-minute routine.
Q. How has your role in Spartacus pushed you physically?
A. There has never been a job that has pushed my physical limits quite like Spartacus. I do all my own stunts, and with that responsibility I have to make sure I’m able to do what is asked of me. There’s no way to fake your way through something like that. I’ve spent hundreds of hours training to have every moment on screen be my own!
Q. In what ways would you say you are most like your character?
A. Saxa is a tenacious, vivacious force to be reckoned with. I’d like to think I have mild versions of those qualities, but she takes them to a much more extreme level. She has a halo balancing on a pair of devil horns and a natural confidence that’s fun to watch despite her incessant vulgarity. I’m just the driver—she’s the one giving directions!
Source: Muscle & Fitness Hers
After speaking with Ellen Hollman, Saxa on Spartacus: War of the Damned, earlier this year, it only made sense to talk to her again to get her thoughts on the series finale that aired last month.
(Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen it of course!)
Here’s what we discussed:
Let’s get this out of the way first: what did you think of your death scene?
You mean perishing on the battlefield amidst my fellow warriors in the arms of the God of the Arena himself? Pretty damn awesome.
You started out in the season very much with Gannicus, but he pulled away and we saw less of you towards the end. With that being the case, how come she still basically said she loved him while dying in his arms?
The denouement of ‘Gaxa’ was always destined. Even as quoted by Spartacus himself, Sybil represented innocence, purity and those we were meant to protect. I was beyond fortunate to have the writers keep me around until the final showdown, despite not being Gannicus’ better half anymore ;)
What did you think of Saxa’s decision to have her last words in her native tongue instead of a language Gannicus understood?
Even in her fleeting moments Saxa was true to who she was, a tenacious and proud German warrior. Despite not speaking the language himself, Gannicus understood her deeper meaning. After all, what’s more important than love at your last breath?
What did you think of some of the other death scenes?
We were all fortunate to watch it on the big screen together as a little Sparty family. Between sniffles, cheers and aw stricken gasps, I would say everyone had a spectacular gruesome departure.
Are you sad Spartacus is “already” done? What will you be doing next?
It’s bitter sweet to say the least. Who wouldn’t want to run around in a loincloth beating up handsome gladiators all day? I did however give it my absolute all, and it was one hell of a ride. The friendships and experience of working on such on amazing show will last a lifetime. As they say though, on to the next.
In my case? I hope it won’t be holding a cardboard sign that says, “will act for food.”
Source: Star Pulse