Dan Feuerriegel photographed by Clinton Gaughran for AfterElton
“We’ve had gay characters on the show before, but this was the first time that we could develop the relationship from the very beginning very slowly and actually see them fall in love,” said Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight of the love story that began last season with rebel warriors Agron (played with hunky bravado by Dan Feuerriegel) and Nasir (Pana Hema Taylor), a.k.a. ‘Nagron.’
On a press call late last week, DeKnight previewed what we’ll see when the War Of The Damned chapter (the final season in the series) begins airing this Friday on Starz. “We continue exploring their relationship,” he said, adding the tease that “you can’t always have a relationship that goes smoothly. There’s not a lot of drama in that, so we throw a couple of curve balls at them. But theirs is one of the relationships that, I think, is really kind of the cornerstone of the season. There are a lot of relationships going on and theirs, I think, is particularly powerful and gut-wrenching and beautiful.”
Co-star Liam McIntyre, on the same call, chimed in, “I feel like [Agron and Nasir] really chart the course of the rebellion. As things get harder and harder and more and more high stakes for the rebellion it’s really their relationship that gives you that insight of how all the couples in our rebel camp are dealing with the scale of what we’re doing.”
So what’s it like being playing a gay love story in a very violent, testosterone-heavy show like Spartacus? We grabbed some time last week with Feuerriegel at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills to talk about his journey as Agron, how he’s approached the relationship between his character and Nasir, and what he thought of making it on the AfterElton Hot 100 list. (At #55, Feuerriegel was the only Spartacus actor to make the rankings.)
Oh and, of course, we couldn’t let the opportunity go by without getting some great photos of the handsome Aussie!
AfterElton: You were working quite a bit in Australia before Spartacus, so I’m curious about how you feel about the experience since it’s such a high profile series and role.
DF: It’s been fantastic. I actually originally auditioned for Crixus back in the first season. Of course, nothing happened there. [Manu Bennett got the role.] Then just about three months later, I auditioned for Duro. [Ande Cunningham got the role.] Then I got a call from my agent a couple of weeks later saying Spartacus wants you. So, that was pretty exciting. First we just thought it was a guest role or something like that, but as the negotiations went on, we realized it was going to be a lot bigger than what we initially thought, which was exciting.
Slowly but surely over the three seasons, I built up a bit of a following. Especially in the second season, no one really knew who Agron was and so, in a way, I had free reign to do whatever I wanted, which was great. I didn’t have any pressure on me, no expectations. So, I did what was written on the page and just did what ever I decided to do, which was fantastic. Luckily it paid off. It’s got a fantastic following and all that sort of stuff, and it’s really exciting.
Nasir (Pana Hema Taylor) and Agron (Dan Feuerriegel)
AE: When did Steven [DeKnight] first talk to you about the love story between Agron and Nasir?
DF: From the beginning [Agron] did have interest in men, but just by the time they got to my character being introduced there wasn’t any real time. They wanted to explore the brother kind of relationship first. Then in the second season, just before we were about to get into it, Chloe [Smith, producer] and then Steven had a chat and said, ‘Look, this is the avenue that we’re going to explore more of him now, we’re going to do all that sort of stuff.’ I was like, ‘Cool. Let’s go for it.’ They were saying, ‘Just do what you want and go for it and we’ll go from there.’ So, that’s what I did, and yeah it’s turned out great.
AE: What do you think is the attraction between Agron and Nasir? Is it physical? Is there an emotional thing?
DF: Initially for me, the way I saw it was there was that emotional connection due to the loss of brothers. That’s how they first, I guess, became connected, but of course he was originally physically attracted to him in the first place. But I guess the way I saw it with Agron, there needs to be more than that. You never see him just going off and just randomly having sex and all that sort of stuff. Even though he’s quite a hard ass, he’s very soft on the inside.
AE: Do you see them as in love with each other?
DF: Yes. Absolutely.