Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Andy Whitfield

I find myself rather shocked by the death of Andy Whitfield. He's the actor that played Spartacus in the Starz series. Only 39, he died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Part of the shock is that he's younger than me, fitter than me, richer than me, and that it seems so unfair that just as his career takes off he has to start fighting for his life.

I guess the other thing is that I liked the guy. Spartacus: Blood and Sand is a very different approach to the rebellion than I'll be taking with my novel. It's highly sexed up, peopled by chiseled men with no body hair and lingerie models, with gallons of blood splatters and some really over the top gore. I was almost embarrassed to watch it. But I did. It was strangely addictive, and the writers were pretty sharp in terms of turning the screws on the plot in surprising ways.

Few of the characters look like they would have historically. Far from being chiseled, gladiators were well-fed so as to be covered with a nice layer of protective body fat. They'd have been carrying extra weight intentionally, since any added inches of fat have to be passed through before a blade can do damage to important organs.

There were quite a few moments that the series manifested itself more as fantasy than history, but I'm okay with that. If I wasn't I wouldn't have reason to write my own Spartacus book. My point is that despite my differences with the series, I enjoyed it. And part of why I enjoyed it was Andy Whitfield.

I'm sorry to see him go.

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Blogger Kate Elliott said...

Me, too. Both my spouse and I really loved that show for what it was, and it was really entertaining (barring the first episode, which was just awful) and it even got in some good meta political commentary.

Like you, I'm stunned at his death. We watched a few of the extras on the DVD, and Whitfield came across just as a really likeable, unpretentious guy with a great sense of humor. It's just so sad.

2:11 PM  
Blogger David said...

I'm a huge fan of the Spartacus TV series precisely because it's such a fantasy and spectacle. With Whitfield now passed and the show going on I'm not sure how anyone will feel about it. I suspect some folks will feel lied to with a new actor, especially one that passed away.

I'm definitely looking forward to a your more realistic portrayal of Spartacus though.

4:28 PM  

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