The film also starred Laurence Olivier as the Roman general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus, Peter Ustinov, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as slave trader Lentulus Batiatus, John Gavin as Julius Caesar, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton and Tony Curtis. The film won four Oscars in all.
Douglas, whose Bryna Productions company was producing the film, removed original director Anthony Mann after the first week of shooting. Kubrick, with whom Douglas had worked before, was brought on board to take over direction. It is the only film directed by Kubrick where he did not have complete artistic control.
Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted at the time as one of the Hollywood Ten. Kirk Douglas publicly announced that Trumbo was the screenwriter of Spartacus, and President John F. Kennedy crossed picket lines to see the film, helping to end blacklisting. The author of the novel on which it is based, Howard Fast, was also blacklisted, and originally had to self-publish it.
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