No Ro­man hol­i­day

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television -

DUSTIN Clare has never worked as hard in his life as on Spar­ta­cus: Gods of the Arena.

The strap­ping Aussie ac­tor, ( pic­tured in a scene), scored the lead role in the drama se­ries, play­ing Gan­ni­cus, the first gla­di­a­tor to be­come cham­pion of Ca­pua.

While star­ring in an in­ter­na­tion­ally suc­cess­ful se­ries was a fan­tas­tic coup for the up-and­com­ing ac­tor, it has also been one of Clare’s tough­est chal­lenges yet.

‘‘ I was over in New Zealand and had a three-week boot camp with seven hours of gru­elling ex­er­cise a day and a re­ally heavy work­load in terms of the shoot­ing sched­ule,’’ he says.

‘‘ With this you’re up at 4.30 in the morn­ing at the gym, then you’re on set and you get home at eight o’clock at night and then you’re get­ting in the pool to swim laps for 45 min­utes be­fore you fi­nally go to bed.

‘‘ It was the most in­tense thing I’ve ever done in terms of the phys­i­cal de­mands on my body and my en­ergy and stamina.

‘‘ You’re train­ing at an elite level. You would nor­mally never train that much.’’

It wasn’t just weight and car­dio train­ing ei­ther; it was stunt work and sword prac­tice too.

While Clare en­joyed ev­ery sec­ond of it, he ad­mits he al­most didn’t take the role.

‘‘ The pro­ducer had seen me on Un­der­belly and wanted to have me on the show,’’ he says.

‘‘ But I wasn’t sure ini­tially. I wanted to watch a whole sea­son first. Af­ter about the first half of the first sea­son, I could tell that it was a story that was en­gag­ing be­cause of the char­ac­ters and the re­la­tion­ships be­tween the char­ac­ters. It wasn’t just about ac­tion.’’

The role was also a chance for the ac­tor to stretch him­self once again.

In the past five years, Clare has played a cow­boy in McLeod’s Daugh­ters, a gigolo in Sat­is­fac­tion, a hit man in Un­der­belly and now a gla­di­a­tor.

‘‘ That’s the beauty of what we do, it’s al­ways chang­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘ I like to do very var­ied work be­cause it keeps me in­ter­ested and en­gaged.’’

The ac­tor re­cently be­gan work on a mu­si­cal film with Ro­nan Keat­ing called God­dess, re­quir­ing him to sing and dance. While the role is a far cry from Spar­ta­cus, Clare says it has sur­pris­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties.

‘‘ I’m just learn­ing the dance now. It’s like a fight scene – it’s chore­ographed, so you’ve got to move here and step there just like on Spar­ta­cus ,’’ he laughs. ANOOSKA TUCKER-EVANS Spar­ta­cus: Gods of the Arena, GO!, Wed­nes­day, 9.30pm

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