GLAMOHOLIC: You’ve been acting in L.A. for just about a decade, what was the first acting gig that made you feel like this dream was real?
ELLEN: One of my first acting jobs ever was NCIS. I was agent Tina Larson and despite it being a one day guest spot, it was absolutely thrilling to be really doing it.
What made you want to pursue a career in acting?
I went to school for business and marketing with a minor in German. I figured I could wear a suit whenever I want, so why not go to New York and see what happens. I was nineteen years old, went out to New York and studied in various studios. When I felt I was ready I took off to Los Angeles to pursue the dream.
What has the pursuit of the dream been like for you here in Los Angeles?
It’s been hell! The funny thing is people only see the end result. They don’t see the blood, the sweat, stress and tears that go into getting to that. I think what a lot of people also take for granted is the discipline required to be a successful actor. You have to be so confident. If you think about it, your job is mostly to be rejected as opposed to be a performer. I have been rejected thousands of times, and yes, it’s for that one chance to be on screen and do what you love. You have to learn “no” just means try harder.
It is one thing to train for the stunts you have to do on STARZ’s Spartacus: War of the Damned. It’s probably another to deal with all the nude scenes, even if you get to do them with Gannicus.
Saxa is one of the newest series regular leads on Spartacus and she’s the show’s first female warrior. To learn more about her stunts, her relationship with Gannicus and what fans can expect in the final season, I recently spoke with Saxa’s portrayer Ellen Hollman over email.
Here’s what we discussed. Spartacus: War of the Damned airs on STARZ at 9 pm ET on Friday nights.
How did you first get cast as Saxa last season?
Just like any actor, I had to surpass a gauntlet of auditions among hundreds of potential “Saxa’s.” The ability to speak the indigenous language of the character as well as pull off the stunt work I’m sure helped me cross that finish line first.
How has your relationship with Gannicus evolved over the course of the season thus far? Do you think she in some way, actually loves him?
Saxa and Gannicus are mirrored images of each other—they’re the first on the battlefield and last out of the bedroom. Their connection is rooted in friendship and has grown into their version of a formidable love over the course of this season.
Ellen Hollman, 29, plays vixen Saxa on the STARZ original series Spartacus, and surprisingly, she isn’t that different from her feisty, tough-girl character. (Case in point: Hollman does all her own stunts.) The third and final season of the show, War of the Damned, premiered January 25th. If you’ve caught it you know there are some pretty epic and bloody battle scenes, which include plenty of hot female fighters kicking serious ass. Hollman tells us all, including the surprisingly simple ingredients of a killer date—whether or not she’d be up for some role playing after.
Do you feel a connection to your character in Spartacus?
Saxa is described as “a tenacious, vivacious force to be reckoned with.” We’re practically twins…minus the whole rebel-savage-fighting-an-epic-battle-everyday kind of thing.
What’s your workout secret to getting those rock hard abs of Saxa?
Aside from a hell of a lot of core work with MMA and knife fighting, I recently discovered hot yoga mixed with ballet and weights. That combo calls for a little bit of grace, a lot of sweat, and a few occasional tears.
What’s your favorite part of a guy’s body and why?
You can tell a lot about a man from his hands. If they don’t have any scars or calluses on them, you might as well assume they cry at romantic comedy films, too.
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.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BODY PART ON A MAN?
“Abs, hands down. If his core is in shape no need to question the other areas.”
MY IDEAL MALE BODY TYPE IS…
“Lean and athletic.”
HOW DO YOU PREFER A MAN’S FACIAL HAIR?
“I like a man to have some stubble.”
EVERY MAN SHOULD KNOW HOW TO…
“Give his woman a massage. The trick is to be delicate yet thorough, which is an admirable talent.”
IF A GUY IS UNATTRACTIVE, WHAT DOES HE NEED TO DO TO ATTRACT GIRLS?
“He has to have an incredible sense of humor.”
A GUY IS TRYING TOO HARD WHEN HE…
“Is gasping for air from flexing too hard.”
A GUY WHO IS INTO FITNESS AND TRAINING IS HOT UNLESS…
“He looks in the mirror more than I do.”
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP DEALBREAKER?
“If a guy orders a light beer and a salad on the first date.”
MY FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A FIRST DATE IS…
“Laugh. If you can make me laugh, chances are a second date is in your cards.”
MY PARENTS DON’T KNOW THAT I…
“Made out with a girl in an upcoming Spartacus scene…and liked it.”
Source: Men’s Fitness
When it comes to the women on the STARZ cable network period drama Spartacus: Vengeance, there certainly are no wallflowers. True, these so called members of the “fairer” sex have at one time or another been put in their place by their respective beefy or politically connected husbands or lovers, but they always seem to bounce back by making good use of their beauty and other feminine wiles.
One character who is more than capable of holding her own in a conflict is Saxa, a German warrior played by Ellen Hollman. While she may still have a great deal to learn about the Roman-centric world around her and how to survive in it, she is more than up to the challenge, mentally as well as physically.
“Saxa is a lioness in training and a born leader, but she’s not quite able to fill out her ‘paws’ yet,” explains Hollman. “She takes what she wants with no hesitation, using pure tenacity, ferocity and a dose of calamity. To step into those paws was an utter and complete challenge for me, not to mention an exceptional joy. To have the liberty to perform with complete, unbridled passion and impulse was a daring feat that will hopefully pay off onscreen.
“Aside from the aforementioned ferocious, tenacious stuff, Saxa is a hero in the making. There is no question in her mind that she can match any man regardless of size or entitlement. This may or may not get her ass kicked from time to time, but that’s how you grow stronger…at least that’s the idea. With this in mind it was a welcome challenge to face being the ‘first female warrior ever to grace the screen of Spartacus.’
“I’ve been an athlete my whole life, but what can prepare you for such a huge chunk to chew? Well, countless hours in gladiator boot camp, of course, attempting to conjure up the most intense and brutal fight sequences for a 115 pound savage. Needless to say there were plenty of cuts, bruises and scrapes, and that was just to the ego,” jokes the actress.