The NZ Herald - 6 June 2012

End of Spartacus TV series leaves a gap for Kiwi actors

The end of the New Zealand-filmed TV show Spartacus is being called a ‘‘major blow’’ to Kiwi actors, but industry insiders are hopeful similar projects will soon replace it.

Creator and executive producer Steven DeKnight told the Hollywood Reporter the hit swords-and-sandals epic would end on a high note after three full series and a prequel season.

‘‘That was part of the decision to wrap up the show — the idea of ending it when you’re on top and the audience still wants more instead of dragging it out.’’

New Zealand actors who starred in the high-rating show include Lucy Lawless, Anna Hutchison from Go Girls and Craig Parker from Shortland Street and The Lord of the Rings.

Anna Majavu of New Zealand Actors Equity said the series had brought numerous benefits.

‘‘Screen acting work on major series is the only form of stable income for professional actors and the end of Spartacus will be a major blow to New Zealand’s professional actors who have been cast in increasing numbers in core-cast roles.’’

New Zealand film crews, extras, stunt people and equipment hire companies would also be affected.

Ms Majavu said appearing i n Spartacus, which airs in 150 countries in more than 15 languages, was a great opportunity for Kiwi actors.

‘‘It can catapult them into a big acting career overseas.’’

New Zealand actor Gareth Williams, who plays the villainous Vettius, said the opportunity to work on a large-scale production such as Spartacus was a ‘‘helpful stepping stone’’.

‘‘It does create opportunities because you can say that you’ve been in an American TV series.’’

Agent Graham Dunster, who represents Lucy Lawless and other actors in the show, said the producers had been very happy with the results they got in New Zealand and he was confident other projects would be brought here soon.

Filming for the final series of Spartacus will finish at the end of the year.

For more about Lucy's role as Lucretia on Spartacus visit the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Spartacus subsite or the AUSXIP Spartacus News and Multimedia Site

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