The Gay Action Hero on Spartacus Is Back

Dan Feuerriegel, the hunky actor from Spartacus: War of the Damned, talks about playing one of TV’s first gay action heroes, surviving the show’s brutal boot camp, and preparing for those infamous same-sex love scenes.

BY Jase Peeples

January 25 2013 12:17 AM ET

What was your reaction when you found out you’d be playing a gay gladiator?
It didn’t make any difference to me. I would have played him the exact same way whether he was interested in women or men. His personality wouldn’t change. They just wanted me to make him really fierce and a hardass, but then open up and have a soft, sensual side when he’s alone with the people he loves. His sexuality doesn’t change that as far as I’m aware.

For many gay fans, watching a character like Agron on Spartacus is huge because there aren’t any other gay characters like him on television. Did you feel a sense of responsibility when you stepped into this role?
If there was a feeling of responsibility, I’d say it was to be as faithful as I could what was written on the page and to who I believed this character was. If I was worried about how I was going to be perceived, I think that would’ve hindered the creative process. I’ve heard people tell me there’s never been a gay character like Agron on TV before, and some fans have even thanked me because they now feel like they have a gay action hero and it’s very endearing to hear that kind of stuff. But I just played him the way he was and tried to do right by the character. I felt a responsibility to be as respectful as I could to the character and myself and hoped that would flow through to other people.

How has playing Agron impacted you personally?
It’s changed my life. It’s opened my eyes to some amazing things, like how much people can connect with characters they see on TV and how one person can be regarded as a hero. I wouldn’t consider myself a hero or anything like that, but I now understand how people love to have something they can emulate, something they can hold on to that gives them hope. That’s been the biggest thing for me personally, that one man can make a difference in people’s lives.

Agron and Nasir’s relationship is much more than physical — they obviously have a deep emotional connection as well.
Yeah, it’s great! I would’ve been disappointed if all they cared about was two guys having sex and keeping their relationship purely physical. I think that would’ve been disrespectful. I love the fact that there was a deeper element. It was fun to play and to access those deeper emotions. I guess the best part of their relationship is that the audience got to see it from the very beginning and it’s carried all the way through to this season. It shows that love is everywhere. Regardless of who you are or who you like, love is love.

How did you and Pana approach preparing for your more intimate scenes together?
We’d had a few chats now and then saying we’d do this or that, or we might hold hands, but that was generally in the beginning. As time went on we became quite familiar with each other and we didn’t really need to have any conversations or prepare, really, we just did whatever in the scenes. We felt comfortable enough that we could touch each other or randomly put in a kiss without anyone freaking out. That’s what was great about working with Pana.

Spartacus is known for serving a substantial amount of eye candy in each episode. How do you feel being on a TV series where the men are more objectified than the women?
I’ve never really thought of it that way. [Laughs] Yes, on one hand you can see that the men are completely objectified, but  I just saw it as a great excuse to get fit and feel comfortable about myself and confident that I can get my shirt off and do all this sort of stuff in front of a massive audience.

Tags: television

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