No Roman holiday
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