Official Rob Tapert Site


Star's Loss Raises Question Over Spartacus Series

2010 8 2 12 21 53 090820-Spartacus-05-0521 CRT cópiaThis is an interesting article about how much the show costs to produce.

Wellington, Sept 20 NZPA - The withdrawal of British actor Andy Whitfield from playing title role in the proposed second season of US cable television show Spartacus has raised questions over future plans for the TV series, which has contributed millions of dollars to Auckland's movie-making industry.

"The future of Starz's Spartacus series is now in doubt," reported an industry website which specialises in news on ending television series,

Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March and, after treatment, was declared cancer-free in May. He was training hard to get back into filming, but has now been advised by his doctors to resume aggressive treatments immediately.

In a statement, Whitfield said: "It's with a deep sense of disappointment that I must step aside from such an exceptional project as Spartacus and all the wonderful people involved."

Spartacus was renewed for a second season even before the first started airing, but when filming of the second season was postponed so Whitfield could undergo treatment, Starz ordered a prequel called Spartacus: Gods of the Arena which focuses on co-stars Lucy Lawless and John Hannah.

Whitfield was supposed to return to shoot Spartacus next month, but Starz Media managing director Carmi Zlotnik, said: "We will address our programming plans at some later date."

The prequel is still filming in west Auckland and will screen in the United States in January. The second series which has been contracted was expected to air next September.

Reuters reported the first series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, cost more than $US2.74 million ($NZ3.76m) for each of the 13 hour-long episodes filmed over 149 days from March 31 last year.

Though Spartacus benefited from New Zealand rebates of 20 percent of what was spent here, executive producer Rob Tapert -- who along with Sam Raimi produced the cult hit Xena: Warrior Princess -- admitted at one stage he had to ask Starz for more money.

That first series was the highest-rated show on cable in the coveted adult audience aged 18-49 years on 12 of its 13 Friday screenings.

The series features Whitfield as the title character, a Thracian fighting to return to his wife after being sold into slavery at a gladiatorial school, run by the deceptive Lucretia (Lawless) and her power-hungry husband Batiatus (Hannah).

The show also features New Zealand actors Antonio Te Maioha, Manu Bennett and Craig Parker.




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