Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

MANU Ben­nett, star of Spar­ta­cus, The Hob­bit and Ar­row, doesn’t muck about when it comes to cre­at­ing re­al­is­tic on-screen bat­tles. Fa­mously “au­then­tic” in fight scenes he looks down on those who don’t share his com­mit­ment to play­ing rough.

“At the end of the day sto­ries spin off about how ded­i­cated I am to my roles and some peo­ple might go, ‘Gee we got scared by him when we were act­ing next to him’,” the New Zealand born ac­tor says.

“But when I see guys chitchat­ting on the side of the set, not warm­ing up, not ready to go in there and throw their war­rior spirit into a war­rior se­ries, then they best wake up be­cause we’re not there to be­come Hol­ly­wood prima don­nas.”

Ben­nett’s war­rior spirit was the rea­son Peter Jackson chose him to play ter­ri­fy­ing orc Azog the De­filer in The Hob­bit tril­ogy.

And his com­mit­ment to his work – which saw him “ac­ci­den­tally” choke a cast­ing as­sis­tant into un­con­scious­ness dur­ing his au­di­tion for Ar­row – then led him to be se­lected to play su­pervil­lain Slade Wil­son, AKA Death­stroke.

And he cer­tainly hasn’t gone cute and cud­dly for his lat­est role as Al­lanon, the pow­er­ful, ma­nip­u­la­tive and se­cre­tive sole re­main­ing Druid in MTV’s adap­ta­tion of epic fan­tasy se­ries Terry Brooks’ nov­els The Shan­nara Chron­i­cles.

Based on the sec­ond Shan­nara novel, the se­ries fol­lows the El­ven na­tion as it comes un­der threat from a horde of demons com­ing through from a di­men­sion they’ve been trapped in for eons.

Shot in New Zealand us­ing many of the crew who worked on The Hob­bit, the pro­duc­tion de­sign and spe­cial ef­fects are suit­ably epic.

“You don’t switch the tele­vi­sion on and ex­pect to see stuff like this. I’ve taken the jour­ney … I’ve felt the vi­bra­tion of this story and it is pure. We’ve got what we set out to achieve,” he says.

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