“Spartacus” Interview: Blessing Mokgohloa

We talk to the Aussie actor who, as gay pirate Castus, tried to come between Nasir and Agron.

“Apologies, Nasir, but, seriously, can you really resist this sexy pirate grin?”

The body count grew in last week’s penultimate episode of the Starz drama Spartacus: War Of The Damned, but the good news is that our beloved Agron (Dan Feuerriegel) did not perish as we were lead to believe. Instead he came down off the cross (literally) and was reunited with love of his life, Nasir (Pana Hema Taylor).

Since we’ve already hit many emotional highs in these last episodes, creator Steven S. DeKnight is obviously not holding back and, having seen the last episode, I can promise he delivers a series finale worthy of the entire Spartacus franchise.

Part of what made the Nagron story so compelling this season was introduction of the strapping Castus (Blessing Mokgohloa). The sexy pirate made it clear early in the season that he had eyes for Nasir, he and didn’t mind if Agron knew it. But now that Nagron is back together, will Castus accept that or make one last ditch play for the doe-eyed Nasir?

I recently spoke with Mokgohloa about his part in Spartacus, and the awesome gay love triangle his pirate character helps anchor.

AfterElton: Tell me how Castus came into your life. Was it the usual audition circuit, and how much did you know going in?
Blessing Mokgohloa:
Yeah. That pretty much is it. I just auditioned for the show. It actually was a little bit of a surprise for me because I didn’t think they were still casting for the show when I actually got the audition for Castus. So yeah, I guess that was a fortuitous turn of events.

When I auditioned all I got was that the character was a pirate and he was into guys. And I just had one note, don’t play him camp. That was it. And don’t play the typical pirate either so those were the only notes I got coming in. I pretty much tried to do as much research as I could with the little information I got. So I looked up information on Cilician pirates, just so I would kind of have an idea of where this character is coming from beforehand. I think that an advantage for me auditioning is that I really was a big fan of the show. So I kind of understood the style of the show.

AE: I know a lot of fans were not very happy to see Castus wedge his way in between Agron and Nasir. Did you hear any of that once the episodes started airing?
Yeah. I’ve interacted with the fans on Twitter, which is one great thing about this age of technology we are living in. It’s almost getting close to the experience of working in theater where you have immediate audience response. Not quite, obviously, but you still get to see how the fans take in the content of the show. And they’re so into it. They pick up on all of the intricacies of all the characters, which is great because I just do my job and I hope that it translates well. I think Steven DeKnight is probably in his castle up on some hill, rubbing his hands gleefully, because it’s all going according as planned.

AE: How is it working with Dan and Pana? You played aggression with Dan, but then the opposite with Pana since that was much more flirtatious.
You know what? Those guys are such incredible talents. I mean, obviously that shows on the screen but both Dan and Pana are also incredible professionals. Dan, Pana and I would goof around on set, but we were all a hundred percent committed once we’re on the scene so…it was effortless working with those two, I should say.

Castus cleans up nice, don’t ya think?

AE: You mentioned a little bit about how your direction in the beginning was not to play it campy as far as the gay element. How challenging was that when it’s getting very erotic in how you talked to Nasir, basically saying, “Dude, I want you.” It was really hot, by the way!
Thank you. Well, I guess it’s just preparation really, and you have to understand what the intentions behind the text are. That’s the most important thing. If you try and get bogged down in the lines then you’re not going to tell the story as it’s supposed to be told. People only say things to get a message across, to get something out of somebody or some situation. So it’s all about understanding the intention behind the lines, and after that everything kind of falls into place.

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