Australian actor Dustin Clare (Satisfaction, McLeod’s Daughters) can thank Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities for being pivotal to landing the lead gladiator role in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
As he tells TV Tonight, it was New Zealand producer Rob Tapert who saw his work in the Nine crime drama and hand-picked him for the Spartacus prequel.
“Rob saw my work in Underbelly and wanted to have me involved in the show. So he came looking for me which was a nice change. But I wasn’t 100% sold on it. I like to do my research for any role I go in on, so I asked for the whole (first) season to watch,” he says.
“It was really the second half of the season that I could see they were onto something. They’d understood it was about the characters, and their relationships within their environment and to each other that was the interesting and engaging part of the series.
“They were focused on that and less of the violence and sexuality.”
Unlike the extensive auditions that have seen Liam McIntyre cast to replace actor Andy Whitfield as Spartacus, Clare had a much speedier audition process.
“It wasn’t like other things I’d done in the States with five auditions. I just put a test down in my lounge room and went to Sydney and did a test for the network and the next day they called and said ‘Yep, it’s yours.’
“It was a different process to casting the next Spartacus series, but I think Rob was really confident with me and backed me, which is a lovely thing for someone to do for you.”
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena premieres on GO! at 9:30pm tonight.