'Spartacus: Vengeance': Steven DeKnight on nudity, porn and killing off characters

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Manu Bennett and Liam McIntyre.jpg"Spartacus: Vengeance" returns to Starz on Friday, January 27th and we were lucky enough to chat with producer, creator and show runner Steven DeKnight. He gave us the scoop on upcoming deaths, crazy Lucretia and whether or not this is porn.

DeKnight talks about killing off beloved characters. "It's a Steve DeKnight show. I learned at the knee of Joss Whedon. I'm going to probably kill somebody you love. I mean, that just happens. In this show, each season, we will continue to kill off our beloved children. Like we did at the end of Season 1. John Hannah. Believe me, no one wanted to kill John Hannah, but it just worked for the story. I always say to the actors on this show, 'When your number finally comes up, at least you know you'll go out in a grand fashion."

We've seen in the trailer that Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) survived the attack from Season 1. She's gone off the deep end a bit ... or has she? DeKnight says you can't be too sure. So, will we find out how she survived? "We'll find out, but not right away. One of the great things about premium cable is that, if this was network television, I think one of my first notes would be, you've got to explain how she survived Season 1 in the first five minutes. With premium cable, we do explain it, but it's a few episodes in."

We asked DeKnight if Starz ever thinks they go too far. He tells us, "In Season 1, one of the only notes we got was Segovax (Mike Edward), a rather well-endowed gladiator ... there was a shot in the baths, that I think we put on the DVD where Segovax walks up to Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) and Spartacus is sitting down. But the way it was shot was it was on Spartacus. His ... um ... prominent member, kind of proceeded him. And it was really ... Starz said, 'Listen, can we only see that once in this episode?'" he laughs.

Long ago, we spoke to Lucy Lawless who was a bit miffed about people calling the show porn. We asked DeKnight if that bothered him. "It still bothers me," he says. "Whenever I read a comment where someone calls this porn, I feel sad that they've obviously never seen the real thing. If you think this is porn you haven't spent five minutes on the Internet. I've seen things on the Internet that will curl your toes!"

Photo/Video credit: Starz