The Aussie media have started to pick up stories on the premiere of Spartacus Blood and Sand on Aussie TV on 18 August 2010. The following article is my home town newspaper The Daily Telegraph which appeared today.
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)
11 August 2010
The fight of his life
Andy Whitfield has battled cancer to resume combat as Spartacus, writes Colin Vickery
ANDY Whitfield has just endured the most shocking time of his life. In March, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. The 35-year-old actor, who moved from the UK to Australia 10 years ago, had just completed the biggest role of his career. Whitfield, who starred in local shows including McLeod’s Daughters, Packed to the Rafters, The Strip and Out of the Blue, had been picked for the title role of major US TV show, Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
Whitfield had just finished shooting the first series of the Gladiator-style historical drama when tragedy struck. Production on the second series of Spartacus was postponed while Whitfield received treatment.
‘‘I’m receiving excellent care, and am feeling strong, positive and determined with an army of support behind me,’’ Whitfield said at the time.
Four months later, he’s cancer-free and back in training. Series two of Spartacus will start filming in October. The cancer scare has had a major impact on Whitfield’s life: now he doesn’t take a single day for granted.
‘‘I was pretty tired at the end of filming the first series, but I think that was only to be expected,’’ Whitfield says.
‘‘I’d put my sore back and other ailments down to nine months of pretty intense physical activity.
‘‘To find out that it was cancer was very strange timing after having spent so many years trying to crack it (acting in the US) and to get this hit show and then for that to happen.
‘‘So many great things have come out of it. I went through a process of stripping back. Everything was taken away, almost. I embraced it and had a profound time which I’ll never forget. It changed me forever.
‘‘When you have something as serious as that (cancer) all the other stuff which you thought was important or worth worrying about just isn’t.
‘‘There’s a level of fearlessness that I’m enjoying and I’m really interested in seeing how that translates into work.
‘‘Acting essentially is taking risks every day — putting yourself out there — and some things can go wrong. That was easy to worry about before but now it’s like — what’s the worst that can happen?’’
Spartacus: Blood and Sand has been shot in the style of recent hit historical action film, 300. The series, which was shot in New Zealand, is incredibly violent and bloody. There’s also a high level of sex and nudity, but Whitfield says it’s the scripts, rather than the spectacle, that made him want to sign on. Whitfield plays Spartacus, a Thracian soldier who, as punishment for defying Roman commander Legatus Glaber (Craig Parker), is sentenced to fight in the gladiatorial arena. Spartacus is then sent into slavery but lives on the promise of one day being reunited with his wife Sura (Erin Cummings).
‘‘This is my dream role — the fighting, the sandals, the blood, the legend,’’ Whitfield says.
‘‘When the scripts came, I was blown away. It’s a unique combination of real hard edge, heart, passion and power.’’ Spartacus, GO!, Wednesday, August 18, 7.30pm