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Katrina Law hits bull's eye in 'Spartacus: Vengeance'

By Curt Wagner

RedEye

8:05 PM CST, March 8, 2012

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In a recent episode of "Spartacus: Vengeance," the rebel leader's companion and confidante, Mira, felled a former ally with an arrow before she could run off with the rebel's loot. Katrina Law's aim wasn't as accurate when she first trained to use a bow.

"I almost took out the entire stunt team when I was learning how to shoot the bow and arrow," she said, laughing. "I accidentally hit the concrete background and the arrow shot back 50 feet and everybody behind me had to dive out of the way.

"It ricocheted back. I'm like, 'Oh, sorry about that, guys. Stay alert! Stay alert!"

The bow hasn't been the only weapon Law, who has played the freed slave Mira since the series first season ("Spartacus: Blood and Sand"), has gotten to use in the second season. Mira and other women are in the middle of the fight that former gladiator Spartacus and his rebels have taken to the Romans. She's taken up a sword against Romans, sliced open a prison guard with a knife and in "Sacramentum," airing at 9 p.m. March 9, Mira gets into heavy duty fistfight with a recently freed German slave.

"It's so much fun," self-professed tomboy Law told me during a phone interview. "Being able to be part of the gladiator boot camp was amazing, and then having weapons training. It's dream job."

And yes, her marksmanship with the bow and arrow even improved over the course of shooting the season, as does Mira's, which fans will see in upcoming episodes.

"I got much better. I remember one day on set the first AD bet me $5 that I couldn't actually shoot the camera or the cameraman," she said. (I assume they were stunt arrows and no one was hurt.) "I shot both of them but I never got my $5. I'm still bitter."

Law, who was raised in rural South Jersey in a suburb of Philadelphia but now lives in L.A. when she's not in New Zealand filming "Spartacus," and I talked about Mira's evolution throughout the series, how the loss of Andy Whitfield affected the tone on set and what Liam McIntyre has brought to the role of Spartacus. And then there's that moment when she takes her shirt off...

READ: Katrina Law talks "Jersey Shore"

Is it ever uncomfortable for you filming this show?
Yes, it gets very uncomfortable filming this show at times, but it's always in a very comical sort of way because I know what I signed up for. I know what the show is about, but there are times when you're just walking around and you're figuring out what the extras are doing in the background and sometimes you're a little shocked by what you see. But honestly, when you read the script you always expect to be shocked. The first time I watched the first episode, the brothel scene made me sit back in my chair and I was extremely uncomfortable. But I think that's the intended purpose of it, to show the humiliation and what the Romans are actually doing to these slaves and what life was like and why people wouldn't want to be slaves. So it works out.

Right. I mean it's all there for a purpose.
Yeah, it's only slightly perverted. [Laughs.] It's for the story. [Laughs.]

Mira changes a lot over the season.
Yeah, Mira is no longer confined to holding a vase and pouring wine and taking care of Spartacus.

She's almost the third leader it seems.
She is the voice of reason in Spartacus' ear and I think as the season goes on it's good to watch how Spartacus goes from just a slave who wants to be free, who want to find vengeance to a slave who becomes a rebel leader. I don't know of any leader out there who doesn't have people whispering in their ear one way or another, so Mira definitely helps to shape him along with the others, like Dan who plays Argon eventually Oenomaus and Crixus. Everybody plays a part in shaping Spartacus into the leader he's eventually going to become, so it's good to know that there is a female voice in the mix as well.

I like that she basically tells him, "I'm not staying in the background. I want to be involved in what happens here."
At the beginning she tries very hard to fight against the rebellion. She's trying to just run away and be free and potentially have the life that she wants, which is maybe a house and a family, potentially with Spartacus. As the series goes on she starts to realize that in order to gain her freedom she actually needs to fight for it. Once she realizes that, there is no way that she is going to sit in the background. She has a taste of freedom. She wants it and she's willing to do anything to keep it now.

This season gets quite physical for you. Did you have any bad injuries or anything?
I did walk out with plantar fasciitis and a very sore shoulder, but no, for the most part safety is a huge concern down in New Zealand. The stunt team makes sure that you're well protected and covered. It's just a such physical show, so you're going to walk out with nicks and scratches and a couple of bruises, but that's to be expected.

Tell me a little bit about playing in the mud all day for Episode 4.
That mud was just torture and the bane of my existence. The only thing that made it better was the fact that everybody kept telling us how amazing it looked. It was this sticky material and they put it on you and by the end it was just ripping off the hair of your body and it was just so uncomfortable. It just really put me into the mode of being a slave on the run and how uncomfortable that would be.

It was intimidating because we couldn't stand up in the caves and we had to duck down. It was filled with water, and I have a little bit of an issue with water. There was mud everywhere and our extras were so gorgeous because they had to stand in that water and be covered in mud for about 12 hours and nobody complained. They just kind of did their jobs, so kudos to them because that was beautiful. It was a beautiful set and very intimidating and very scary, but very realistic.

Liam said it was really, really cold mud.
Yeah, it was very cold. Getting changed for work every day made you cold because you usually went from a really warm comfy outfit to a piece of fabric.

Right, I think you guys always have the tiniest amount of clothes. With all the changes happening with Mira and everything, what advice, if you could give her advice, would you give her?
I think--give me one second. I'm sorry. I had to take my shirt off. That sounds terrible. [Laughs.] This interview is just making me hot. [Laughs.]

All right, back to the brothel scene! (Law was in the middle of a magazine photo shoot, thus the change of clothing.)
[Laughs.] OK. [Laughs.] If I was to advise Mira, I'd maybe tell her to slow it down. She moves so fast. She is so headstrong. She is so opinionated and just does everything on instinct. I think sometimes she forgets about caring for herself because she is so busy caring about others. I think that would probably be my advice to her, just slow it down, but I don't think she's going to.

You want to give us any tease about the rest of the season?
You're going to be floored by the ending.

Is Mira going to find happiness?
I think in a way she already has. I think her being able to fight for her freedom and fight for herself and suddenly having the ability to dream about what she can potentially have gives her a sense of happiness. She has never been able to do that, never had that luxury, so I think in her own way she is very happy.

Do you feel that there are any similarities between you and her?
At any given moment I do feel like Mira's 100 percent me and other times there is no resemblance. I am opinionated in real life and I am headstrong and I do move too fast and I do things to protect others and sometimes I forget about taking care of myself first, but then there are the opposite days where I'm No. 1 in my book. It just goes back and forth, but the funny thing is I do feel Mira really fights for her freedom and for what she thinks is right and I do that too.

I'm a Libra, so I think by nature I just kind of look at both sides of the story before I take my action, whereas Mira just sees one side of the story and goes after it. And when it comes to protecting family and friends and people and ideas that she believes in, I think she is very similar to me.

How difficult was it initially to work without Andy?
Yeah, you know it was difficult coming back to the show without Andy. It was a huge decision I think for everyone including Starz and the rest of the actors and I don't think that any of us, including Starz, would have been able to continue on without Andy's permission and blessing. I don't think there would be a single person working right now on the show.

That being said, the first day back was really bizarre. We have pictures of Andy and posters around the studio, so there is a daily reminder that he is not there, but it's also a daily reminder of why we're doing the show and who where doing this to honor.

It helped keep him in focus and to know that we would haven't a show without him. He was so good in Season 1 and brought such depth and and strength to the role. Had he not provided that nobody would have cared to watch the prequel or Season 2, so there's a humble thanks to Andy for what he's done for the show and for my life in particular.

It's always going to be difficult and the show is always going to be a little bittersweet for me even though I think it's an amazing show and I'm happy to go on, but the show is going to be bittersweet.

How was it working with Liam and how do you think that he handled the incredibly difficult situation?
I don't know how Liam could have handled it more graciously than he did. He was so humble. He was very genuine and real to the situation. There was no part of him that was trying to act like he was too sympathetic or too excited about it and he really kept Andy in mind. The honor that he did to the work by remembering all the work that Andy did was beautiful to watch. Liam himself is just a gracious, gorgeous person and so kind and sweet and he just came there with open arms and willing to take on everything. I can't imagine anybody else taking over the role of Spartacus. Liam is kind of the perfect person.

Would you like to say anything in closing?
I just wanted to say thank you so much to the fans for supporting us for everything that we've gone through before coming back. And thank you to Andy and his family for their support.

Well thank you very much for your time. Get your shirt back on.
[Laughs.] Don't take away all my fun! [Laughs.] Have a good day.