New Starz Original Action Series ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand,’ Coming to Premier Fan Event with Panel Discussion,
Ultimate Fan Pack Giveaways, Sneak Peek and More
First Look at Upcoming Official “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” iPhone/iPod Touch Game, Motion Comic
San Diego, Calif. – July 23, 2009 – Fans will be able to enter the arena of the eagerly anticipated Starz original series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con July 24 from 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM PT (room 6BCF). Starz is bringing some of the leading creative and on-air talent for fans and critics to meet in person to the leading industry fan event. Set to debut exclusively on Starz in January 2010, the violent and epic gladiator tale will have a graphic novel look and style unlike any other series on TV.
Join Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Battlestar Galactica”), actor Peter Mensah (300, Avatar), Executive ProducersRob Tapert (Evil Dead 1-2, Drag Me To Hell) and Steven S. DeKnight (“Angel,” “Smallville, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), and actress Erin Cummings (“Dollhouse”). They will discuss the fresh narrative approach to the ancient legend and offer exclusive first look footage at the ground-breaking series. Andy Whitfield, who plays the title character, will deliver a video message and Comic-Con greeting from New Zealand.
Ultimate “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” Fan Packs to first 2,000 Fans at Comic-Con Panel
The first 2,000 fans attending the “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” panel will be treated to complimentary “Ultimate Spartacus: Blood and Sand Fan Packs,” which will include:
* Limited edition copy of “Spartacus: Upon The Sands of Vengeance, ” issue #1 in the “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” comic book mini-series with an exclusive Comic-Con cover
* Autographed 8X10 headshots, featuring 1 of 10 randomly selected autographed photos from a member of the cast of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”
* “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” trading cards
* “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” USB flash drive featuring cast/unit photos, graphics, poster art, cast and series biographical background information, and more.
* “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” poster with mailing tube
* “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” collectible t-shirt (one of four being created)
“Spartacus: Blood and Sand” iPhone Game, Motion Comic Details
Starz Digital Media also revealed plans to jointly develop the official “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” mobile game designed for iPhone and iPod touch with Artificial Life, Inc (OTC BB: ALIF). The games will utilize the touch screens and motion sensitive features of the popular mobile devices and bring to life the action, violence and sex soon to be seen in the series.
Also, in association with Double Barrel Motion Labs, Starz Digital Media will bring to market a four-part “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” motion comic series. These action-packed videos will feature gladiators battling for eternal glory in a gore fest derived from Devil’s Due Publishing (DDP)’s official upcoming “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” comic book mini-series, to which DeKnight contributed. “Spartacus: Upon The Sands of Vengeance” is the first in the four-part comic book mini-series. A sneak preview of the “Spartacus: Upon the Sands of Vengeance” motion comic episode will be available after the “Spartacus” Comic-Con panel at www.starz.com/spartacus.
“‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is the most ambitious project ever undertaken at Starz,” said Bill Hamm, executive vice president, originals production and development for Starz Media. “Comic-Con offers a terrific stage to introduce the series to fans and we are delighted to have such a strong lineup for our debut appearance in San Diego.”
“We look forward to working with a number of key production and distribution partners in bringing ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’ to life across multiple platforms and media,” said Marc DeBevoise, senior vice president, digital media, business development and strategy for Starz Media and lead executive for Starz Digital Media. “The projects we’re developing around this franchise offer a tremendous opportunity for us to reach mobile gamers, comic book fans and online video viewers with incredibly unique and compelling content, all prior to the series’ premiere of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” on Starz.”
On July 24, DeKnight, along with the comic book’s editorial consultant R.H. Stavis, will sign limited edition copies of issue No. 1 in the “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” comic mini-series, with an exclusive Comic-Con cover. The autograph session will be from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM at the DDP booth (#2229).
Comic-Con attendees can swipe their electronic credentials at Starz’ Anchor Bay/Manga booth (#3345) and “enter for a chance to win a one-of-a-kind shield; an authentic prop from the battlefield of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
The official “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” trailer, “Spartacus: Upon the Sands of Vengeance” motion comic episode trailer and behind the scenes videos will also be available post-panel at www.starz.com/spartacus and via the Starz “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” Twitter feed, Twitter: @spartacus_starz. “Follow us,” then “direct message” to receive the videos and future “Spartacus” exclusives.
About “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”
Debuting exclusively on Starz, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is produced by Starz Media with Executive Producers Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi (Spider-Man and Evil Dead), Joshua Donen The Quick and the Dead), along with DeKnight .
The UK-born and Australia-based Andy Whitfield portrays Spartacus, a soldier in the Roman Auxiliary who is taken prisoner. As punishment for defying a Roman Legate, Spartacus is sentenced to die in the gladiator arena. But after surviving numerous fights, his sentence is commuted and is sold as a slave to be trained as a gladiator. A newcomer in the U.S., Whitfield has gained acclaim in numerous Australian drama series (“McLeod’s Daughters,” “Packed to the Rafters,” “The Strip” and “Out of the Blue”) and also starred in the feature film Gabriel, one of the highest grossing films at the Australian Box Office in 2007. He recently wrapped shooting on the Australian feature, The Clinic.
Lawless is cast as Lucretia, who along with her husband Batiatus (John Hannah), own the slave Spartacus and the Ludus (a gladiator camp) where the former soldier learns the ways of the arena fighter. The couple has fallen on hard times financially and has bought Spartacus hoping his fighting prowess will help them regain their status in the brutal world of gladiatorial contests. Among her many roles, Lawless is best known for portraying “Xena: Warrior Princess” in the long-running global hit series, and has appeared in Syfy’s critically acclaimed “Battlestar Galactica.”
Hannah is the BAFTA Film Awards nominee best known for his work in The Mummy trilogy as well as Four Weddings and a Funeral and on a number of successful British TV series, including “Rebus,” “New Street Law” and “MDs.”
Additional cast members include: Cummings as Spartacus’ Thracian wife, Sura; Mensah as Doctore, Batiatus’ most loyal and trusted slave; Manu Bennett (30 Days of Night, The Condemned) as Crixus, the top gladiator at Batiatus’ Ludus; Antonio Te Maioha (“Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Legend of the Seeker”) as Barca, a big, hulking brute of a man who is Batiatus’ bodyguard and hit man; Craig Parker (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, “Legend of the Seeker”) as Glaber, a Roman Legate, who blames Spartacus for his failed military campaign; and Nick E. Tarabay (“Crash,”
“The Sopranos”) as Ashur, a former gladiator who is now the Ludus’ resident bookie.
DeKnight is the head writer for the series, which is being produced in New Zealand by Starz Media. DeKnight recently finished consulting on Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” and will be writing the upcoming eighth installment of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” comic book series.
Starz’s new “Spartacus” series was inspired by the actual slave of the Roman Republic who in 73 BC led a slave revolt that grew to more than 120,000 fighters. Defying the Roman Republic’s legions of soldiers, they campaigned for two years through much of what is now Italy before succumbing to a much larger army. The new series will tell a new set of stories rich in character, action, sex and combat.
Anchor Bay Entertainment will hold exclusive worldwide home entertainment distribution rights to “Spartacus,” while Starz Media’s Worldwide Distribution group will handle international television and domestic syndication sales and Starz Digital Media will be responsible for all digital distribution globally.
“Spartacus” is just the latest original series for Starz. Its first dramatic series, “Crash,” a co-production from Starz Entertainment and Lionsgate, premiered in October 2008 and is set for its second season in September 2009. Starz Media also produced “Party Down” for Starz, which debuted in early 2009 to high critical acclaim and which was recently renewed for a second season and is set to air in 2010.
About Starz Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers 16 movie channels including the flagship StarzÂ® and EncoreÂ® brands with approximately 18.1 million and 31.9 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies per month across its pay TV channels and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Encore HD, Starz On Demand, Encore On Demand, MoviePlex On Demand, Starz HD On Demand, Encore HD On Demand, MoviePlex HD On Demand, and Starz Play. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, and is attributed to Liberty Entertainment Group, a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation.
About Starz Media
Starz Media, LLC, is a programming production and distribution company operating worldwide. It includes the Film Roman, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and Manga Entertainment brands. Its units create animated and live-action programming — including theatrical films — and programming created under contract for other media companies. It distributes that programming, and programming acquired from outside producers, through home video retailers, theaters, broadcasters, ad supported and premium television channels, and Internet and wireless video distributors in the US and internationally. Starz Media (www.starzmedia.com) is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Capital Group.