Featuring an army of scantily clad, gorgeous gladiators, Spartacus is a series that easily caught the attention of LGBT fans from the first episode. However, it takes more than a serving of skin to turn a TV show into the pop culture phenomenon Spartacus has become. The series quickly unfolded into an intriguing tale of power, honor, vengeance, and romance — romance which includes the love story that began last season between two gay rebel warriors, Agron (played by Dan Feuerriegel) and Nasir (Pana Hema-Taylor). With the show’s final season, Spartacus: War of the Damned, premiering tonight at 9 p.m. on Starz, hunky Dan Feuerriegel tells us about his preparation for scenes between his character and Nasir, surviving the show’s intense physical training regimen, and playing one of TV’s first gay action heroes.
You’d been working as an actor in Australia for a few years before landing the role of Agron in Spartacus. How does working on a high-profile series like this differ from the previous work you’ve done?
Most of the roles I did back in Australia were guest appearances and things like that, so you’re working one or two days, maybe four if you’re lucky. The biggest difference for me in playing Agron is I’ve had three seasons to flesh out the character. On a show like this, you just get more and more comfortable with what you’re doing and you start to appreciate how complex people can be.
You originally read for a different character on Spartacus and had to audition more than once before you landed the role of Agron.
Yes. The initial audition I had was at the beginning when they were casting the main roles. I auditioned for Crixus and, for obvious reasons, I didn’t get it. I don’t think I would’ve had the same intensity for the character that Manu [Bennett] had. Then a few months later I got a call to audition for one of the German brothers and I had to do one of the audition pieces with a German accent, which was hilarious. Then after a few days I got a call from my agent saying, “Congratulations. You’ve got yourself a role.” At first we thought it was just a guest role, but soon we realized it was a much bigger.
I knew from the very beginning. But I was told they weren’t going to pursue a romantic storyline in the first season because they needed to wrap other things up. First, they wanted to focus on the storyline of Agron and his brother because that filters into the second season. The loss of brothers is how he and Nasir initially connect. Because I’ve known for a while, I’ve thrown in a few sneaky things here and there and had a few lines that I guess the most astute observer would get and say, “Hey, wait a minute. There’s something there.” But other than that it wasn’t until the second season that it was absolutely clear and right in front of your face.