Categories 2012

Meet Ellen Hollman, Spartacus’ Savage, Mangy Saxa

Keeping limber is essential for Spartacus‘ numerous battle and boudoir scenes, but American actress Ellen Hollman also had to exercise her foreign language skills to play the new warrior woman Saxa.

“It’s not just a fighting role and a physical role, but also one that requires fluent German. They failed to mention both of those aspects when I was reading for it,” Hollman tells When Hollman heard that casting director Paul Weber had just returned from Hamburg, she made a comment in German. “He was like, ‘Wait, you speak German?’ I said, ‘What do you think ‘Hollman’ is?’ And [series creator] Steven DeKnightwas cracking up and said, ‘This is a German role. We just didn’t specify that because nobody speaks German.’ I’ve also been doing fighting stunts for quite some time, so I guess it was just one of those things that was meant to be.”

In Friday’s episode of Spartacus: Vengeance (10/9c, Starz), Saxa (Hollman) continues to fight alongside Spartacus’ men, seeking to liberate all from the tyranny of the dissolute Roman elite. Saxa was among the German slaves that the rebels had freed from a Neapolis slave ship as new recruits to their cause.

Check out Hollman’s other insights into Saxa and the dangers and pleasures on set:

What was your reaction when you read for the part of Saxa? Were there any surprises?
Ellen Hollman:
 It was a massive casting call. What’s funny is that the character description is so much different from what you see on the screen. The material I had to read was actually Ashur’s (Nick E. Tarabay) monologue when he’s basically torturing Oenomaus (Peter Mensah). So from my perspective, I thought the character was going to be more refined, if not Romanesque. Even the attire I wore for the audition was more Roman… But I was meant to play a filthy, German, feral savage.

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