After eight months of swordfighting on the set of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” star Andy Whitfield had a real battle to fight, with Stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“Amazing,” he says immediately. “I feel better than ever, like, seriously, I feel like I’m 10 years younger. I had a good rest.”
Whitfield is back in training for Season 2 of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” which will begin shooting three months from now. Since he only had one month to prepare for Season 1, he’s not concerned, despite the fact that he does 90% of his own stunts.
As for “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,” the six-episode prequel series starring Lucy Lawless and John Hannah, Whitfield will appear in two episodes. “I’m bookending the prequel,” he explains. “It’s much more about the political evolution of the arena. There’s nothing about Spartacus. It’ll start from the end of ‘Kill Them All,’ and there’ll be a transition into the prequel, and then at the end of the prequel, it’ll come back to this moment in ‘Kill Them All,’ and then it’ll be out of the gates into Season 2.”
The prequel was developed because Whitfield was busy getting chemotherapy in New Zealand and the producers didn’t know when he’d be available to work again. “I have to hand it to them,” he says. “I handed them a problem and they really kind of made something out of it. It’s very clever.”
As we’ve seen from Zap2it readers, fans of “Spartacus” and of Whitfield have been sending him their well-wishes throughout his ordeal. You’ll all be happy to know that your support hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“I’m not comfortable looking at the message boards particularly, I just don’t find that healthy for me,” he confesses. “But people have sent me, like, ‘Have you seen this?’ I was kind of blown away. I just love that human spirit where people will put the show aside and say, the show is one thing, but look after yourself.”
“I found it moving and profound. What a lovely connection to complete strangers.”
Whitfield is looking forward to getting back to work. “I’m sure day one back on set is going to be kind of an emotional reunion,” he tells us, “because of everything that I’ve been through particularly. I’m looking forward to being back part of that family and just pushing the envelope with collaborative, like-minded people.”