Interview with Spartacus’ Christian Antidormi, AKA Tiberius
We’ve had the chance to chat with the Aussie actor Christian Antidormi. He can be seen currently as Tiberius in Spartacus: War of the Damned, which airs Friday nights on Starz. We discuss sex and violence on the show, Tiberius being a dick, Caesar having something up his sleeve, and how he felt about…okay, that would be a spoiler.
If you aren’t currently caught up with Spartacus: War of the Damned, there will be many spoilers ahead. If you’re caught up or don’t care, then read on!
John “Spartan” Nguyen: So this is my first time trying to call out to Australia, so I didn’t know what the country code was.
Christian Antidormi: Oh yeah it’s like an extra fourteen digits or something?
John: Yeah fourteen or twenty thousand.
Christian Antidormi: How are you anyway?
John: Doing good…doing good. I just caught up with Spartacus: War of the Damned before this interview.
Christian Antidormi: That’s good.
John: I’ve just been checking out some of your stuff and you are really talented. You’re a dancer, singer and now an actor. How do you get so awesome?
Christian Antidormi: Thank you so much, it’s an interesting process. I dipped my feet into the art of dancing when I was about fourteen, I got really into hip-hop and through that I started thinking about singing, then I evolved into my current passion which is acting. Ever since then it’s been a flaring drive for me, so yeah I’m pretty happy to be where I am right now.
Well yeah, Australia is pretty multi-cultured when it comes to sport and arts. There isn’t one particularly strong culture when it comes to sport and pastimes. It’s really diverse and gives people the opportunity to explore lots of different things at a young age to find out what works and what they enjoy. So yeah it’s been great.
John: So I have to ask, what are some of the things that hasn’t worked out for you?
Christian Antidormi: I tried karate for a few years but I think I tried it at the wrong age, I didn’t really handle the discipline and the workload that goes with it and got very frustrated and bored with it. I’m sure if I was to pick it up now I would have a completely different perspective of it, but at the time it didn’t really work out for me. I tried tennis for a while, but that was never really my forte. I could never hit a serve over the net.
John: Now after doing Spartacus and the training that came with it, martial arts might be a different story for you now.
Christian Antidormi: Yeah it did sort of help having that small background in it, but the boot camp really put us through our paces and we learnt so many different skill sets from sword fighting to one-on-one combat and all different forms of martial arts to just regular weight training and learning about nutrition in general. That was pretty beneficial. Hopefully the karate had a little bit of a good influence on it.
John: So tell us about the boot camp. What was it like training with the other actors, and was it the most grueling thing you’ve ever done?
Christian Antidormi: It was hands done the most grueling thing that I have ever done. It was one month of intense training, three to four hours every morning, lots of heavy cardio, heavy circuit training, lots of different sword and staff techniques, and there was boxing too. It really was fantastic and it was a great way to introduce ourselves, especially us new characters to the rest of the cast. It was a great bonding experience and I really think it helped us prepare both mentally and physically for the season ahead.
John: Yeah I was wondering how you went from working on the Disney Channel to something like Spartacus?
Christian Antidormi: It was quite difficult, I worked with the Disney Channel on As The Bell Rings over here. I think there might have been an American version of the show too. But yeah going from As The Bell Rings to Spartacus, well it was a challenge, but I had prepared myself for that. When Spartacus came my way it tied in with my childhood dream of always wanting to hold a sword and be a gladiator. I was literally living a dream; it was fantastic.
John: The show has a lot of violence and sex. Did you know about that before approaching the role?
Christian Antidormi Oh yes. I was 100% warned about what was involved in Spartacus before taking the role. I took it all as it come because with acting, in order to grow and to develop, you do need to be challenged and put through your paces, and Spartacus delivered that. The sex and violence of the show are great features and an asset to the show itself, but also the relationships that they build and the emotion and story behind it deserve to be mentioned. It’s a story of unity; there’s some great meaning behind that.
John: As a watcher I am used to just seeing naked people on the screen all the time on the show with penis’ hanging out everywhere all the time. Are you still used to it, or is something that you think, ‘Wow I’m on a Spartacus set, this is still different.’
Christian Antidormi: Oh no it definitely shocked me every day. It was an eye opener every time I walked onto set. From the scale of the sets to what was actually going on, it was pretty eye-opening. I don’t think it’s something that you can actually get used to. It was really good fun, and different, and it definitely helps you immerse yourself in that world when it’s going on beside you.
John: Yeah and I bet that any project that you have after this will seem lame or not that hardcore compared to Spartacus.
Christian Antidormi: I don’t really know what to expect from that. We’ve got some great projects in the works at the moment. We are right in the thick of pilot season. It’s good having the Spartacus experience behind me though. It’s definitely a unique show that has its own unique culture and style to it. Perhaps the next role might not be so specifically tailored to such traits.
John: Do you have any ideas of what genres you might want to tackle after Spartacus?
Christian Antidormi: It’s tricky and I would like a new challenge. As I said we’re right in the thick of pilot season at the moment, so there are a few major roles that I’m lucky enough to be testing for. I’m just going to see how it goes and then decide what direction I want to take next. It’s great to have Spartacus on my back and I still feel like I’m part of that world actually. It was a great experience.
John: Speaking of Spartacus, the episode that really stood out for me was the Decimation episode.
Christian Antidormi: Oh yeah, right.
John: I guess some fans were wondering if there was a love relationship with your childhood friend, Sabinus. Are they just friends or are they more than that?
Christian Antidormi: That’s a question that hasn’t really been presented to me yet, but I know that in minds of a lot of people that is the case, and in the end that is the purpose of the production. We wanted to instill a lot of confusion around the relationship between Tiberius and Sabinus early on. There were a couple of moments there that were meant to keep the audience guessing. At the end of the day Sabinus and Tiberius were just best mates who were willing to slug it together in war and there wasn’t really anything else going on in that sense. So sorry to disappoint to a couple of fans, but it was definitely supposed to spark some sort of interest in regards to the potential of their relationship and ultimately during the war it was destroyed.
John: When I first saw you appear as Tiberius I did think that the character might be a dick later, but then you showed some promise. Ultimately you became a total dick again. I really wanted to root for your character though.
Christian Antidormi: One of my favorite parts of playing Tiberius was his arc, and that is something that as an actor you dream of. Going from one extreme as an ignorant young boy who just wants to emulate his father to ultimately having to kill his best mate and disobeying his father’s command. Then being sent to the slums of the camp and then rising again from that low point to prove himself once again and becoming one of my favorite people in the show. To have the opportunity to portray that as an actor was so honorable.
John: I guess since a lot of people have seen the episode already I can talk about it. That last episode with you killing Crixus, how did you feel when your character was going to do that? Did you feel like the fans were going to hate you for it?
Christian Antidormi: Yeah, I knew 100% that I was not going to be liked by the fans. If I was hated by that point already, I definitely would be after episode eight. I saw the script early on and I didn’t know how to react. I almost wanted to try and pass that role on to someone else, in regards to the killing of Crixus. It was such a prominent and pivotal point in the season. Crixus is one of the most authoritative figures, next to Spartacus, within the rebel army, and to take his head was a big task. We worked hard and we worked well and Manu [Crixus] was great to work with. There was a very unique vibe on set during those days of the shoot. Everyone understood the importance and respect of that scene.
John: Yeah, that’s cool. Crixus has been on the show the longest, and it’s amazing that you had the opportunity to kill him.
Christian Antidormi: That’s right. It was awesome.
John: I know you can’t reveal to us what happens next in the episodes, but can you tell us what we should expect?
Christian Antidormi: Basically Crassus, Caesar and Tiberius, their legions have a great sense of accomplishment after defeating the undefeated Gaul, ultimately they’ve saved Rome from being trampled on by the rebellion, and there is only one thing left to do and that is to take down Spartacus. With only two episodes left it is inevitable that they are going to meet again. However Caesar, after receiving the treatment that he did from Tiberius in episode eight, does have a couple of tricks up his sleeve which are tailored upon the opportunities that he comes along early in episode nine and he does his best to try and balance the scales. It’s going to be quite interesting, and there is a great twist there. As for the rebels, as seen in the teaser trailer, they do pause to honor the dead, in particular Crixus, and those fallen in the previous battles throughout the four seasons. There’s a couple of twists and turns and it just goes from height to height. I guess you could see episodes nine and ten as one big movie.
John: Speaking of Tiberius giving Caesar ‘the treatment,’ I always thought of Caesar as such a badass. But after that I was just like, ‘Oh, man!’
Christian Antidormi: Yeah perhaps that might have been one step too far, but you have to think that back in those days if you performed that act on another person, it was to show power and dominance. Ultimately it was done to show who holds the higher position and who is more authoritative or to put someone in their place.
John: Oh yeah and that’s one of the things that I like about the show. It’s not afraid to show you what it was like back then, like how someone treats another person, the whole Decimation scene, ‘the treatment’, and other acts.
Christian Antidormi: That’s the thing. The Spartacus story was so gruesome and so there was choice to either half-ass it and try and do it in a placid way or go all out. The show shows everything and shows what it probably would have been back then. It’s one of the good features and one of the features that audiences have taken to heart. The violence and the sex have become a trademark for the show. The relationships and storylines themselves though are equally important and have become as gripping, which is great.
John: I guess my last question for you would be what was your most memorable scene and memorable moment on set so far?
Christian Antidormi: Most memorable scene on set I would have to say is the death of Crixus. Just the way that it was shot,how the preceding days were planned out, the way that everybody else was and the energy on set was electrifying. Also it was a pivotal point in the episode and the season that I was lucky to be a part of. It really required us to take a step up and come to plate and try and deliver and put all of your energy into that. It does stay with you and they became real memorable scenes for me.
John: Thanks a lot for doing the interview with us.
Christian Antidormi: Yeah thanks, John.