By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol
4:49 PM CST, February 8, 2013
When Cynthia Addai-Robinson took over the role of the slave Naevia in "Spartacus: Vengeance," she wasn't sure how viewers would respond to her. A year later, she's kicking some serious butt in "Spartacus: War of the Damned," and fans are loving her.
"I remember [creator Steven S. DeKnight] giving me just a vague idea that I would be eventually fighting and kicking ass," the London-born actress said in a recent call with reporters. "But I don't think I could have really imagined what I ultimately ended up doing, which was some of the hardest work I've ever done, really."
So far this season, Naevia has led the ambush of a Roman patrol and fought bravely in open-field battles, proving herself a warrior worthy of standing with Crixus, Spartacus and the other former gladiators. Yet despite her fighting prowess, Naevia continues to struggle with the mental abuse and violent assaults she suffered from both Roman soldiers and other slaves after being banished from the House of Batiatus and sent to the salt mines last season.
Those horrible experiences feed the aggressive action she takes in "Men of Honor," airing at 8 p.m. CT Feb. 8 on Starz. As you can see in the preview above, she's striking first and asking questions later, and the Roman blacksmith Attius feels her wrath.
The scene perfectly illustrates what DeKnight has said about Addai-Robinson's work this season.
"I think the audience is going to be absolutely blown away by Naevia this season," he said during the same call. "Every time we were watching dailies in the writer's room, every time Cynthia would come on screen, we'd spend the next 10 minutes talking about how cool you were."
The physicality of the role didn't come easily for Addai-Robinson, who didn't have experience fighting or doing her own stunts before "Spartacus." But she trained with all the other actors in their gladiator boot camp before filming of both seasons began, and credits the production's stunt department with helping all the actors.
"I definitely was pushed to the limits in a good way," she said. "There were many times and many days where I just thought, 'Oh my gosh, I don't know if I can do this. I'm really out of my depth here.' But I'm really happy with it and ... I have to say some of the sequences this season are just absolutely amazing."
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