Published On: Tue, Apr 26th, 2011

Manu Bennett says ‘Spartacus’ role of Crixus is the role of a lifetime

He had worked with movie tough guys “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones in “The Condemned”, WWE’s John Cena and Terminator 2’s Robert Patrick in “The Marine” and had even walked his first red carpet for cult horror flick 30 Days of Night.

But he still needed a big calling card and the Van Damme project was to be it.

“Five days before shooting started the producer rings me and says: ‘Manu, we have a problem with Van Damme. He’s not going to make the film’,” Bennett recalls. “At the time, I was quite devastated.

“I’d just had my first daughter and she was very young and we’d given up our lease and packed all our things away and here I was in South Africa and planning to go off to LA next and then all of that was gone.

“It was something that cost me $20,000 personally. I never got paid a cent.”

As a result, Bennett had to spend a year literally hauling stones and carrying bricks around as a builder’s labourer in Sydney to make ends meet.

“I’d been torn so far from what I really loved that when the opportunity of Crixus came up, I realised, ‘If you want to get out off this building site, you’d better fight really hard at this audition’.”

The result is the role of his career.

In the first series, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”, Crixus is the top gladiator at the ludus (gladiator school) owned by Batiatus (The Mummy’s John Hannah) and is not shy about making sure everyone knows it. But for all his bravado, he is still a slave and used at the whim of Batiatus’ wife, Lucretia (Lucy Lawless).

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- Stories transferred over from The Desk of Brian where the original author was not determined and the content is still of interest of Dispatch readers.


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