Johnathan "Manu" Bennett
This New Zealand born actor well known for his roles as the "Undefeated Gaul" Gladiator Crixus in the STARS network series Sparticus and The WB’s Arrow as Death Stroke an all-around highly trained bonafide bad ass. The real Manu Bennett isn’t too far from his alter egos. Although many pieces of him are embedded in the characters that propelled him in his meteoric rise to fame; the real Manu is also deep, sensitive and cultured. Perhaps one of the most fit Hollywood personalities out there, it is reported that besides conventional methods of staying fit, and despite having just trained in martial arts for roles; that Mr. Bennett actually trains in Mixed Martial Arts as part of his regular fitness regime.
A Real Person
Mr. Bennett is as real as they get when it comes to big screen personalities. Bennett who has also played roles in movies like The Marine, 30 Days of Night and three recent Hobbit films, (having just finished the third, Battle of the Five Armies), doesn’t need a publicist when it comes to interacting with the public. Most recently this writer having learned that Mr. Bennett would be at Comic Con in San Antonio decided to try to get an interview with the star. After no luck finding contact information or publicist contact information, I decided to contact him on Facebook. I asked him (or a public relations specialist whoever was reading the post) if I could interview him during the Comic Con. Much to my surprise it was him, that responded right away. He typed “Sure, come bye & we can talk”.
So naturally I drove 5 hours, had the worst dining experience of my life and paid 185 dollars a night for a room at the Marriot in San Antonio with only a Futon for a bed, so that I could make this interview. After all of the suffering and frustration, I finally got what I came for and more. When I arrived at his booth he was not present; however as I scanned right I could see Mr. Bennett and one of his assistants moving down an escalator and heading toward his booth. I could see that a line was starting to form and from having done book signings and public appearances myself, I knew that he would be rushed. Wondering if he would even remember that we had interacted on Facebook, my wife and I approached the rising action icon with open minds and a sort of inner voice telling us that he hadn’t remembered interacting with me on Facebook and that I came from Fort Worth to San Antonio for nothing.
A Charitable and Honest Man
While driving to San Antonio from Fort Worth, one had the radical idea to purchase several 8 x10 glossies from Mr. Bennett, pay to have him sign then and then ask his permission to raffle them at an upcoming charity fundraiser to take place on August 17th, for Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). The time was at hand to finally meet Mr. Bennett and to also see if he remembered interacting online as well as to see if he was a man of his word. I approached Manu and introduced myself. I explained that he had acknowledged the possibility of an interview on Facebook. I had also asked if it would be okay to purchase some 8 x 10’s that I would pay for him to sign and offer as a raffle as an incentive for our fundraiser. Curious he asked about the cause. So when this writer explained it was for the VFW, before one could finish the sentence he interjected with, “I’ll do one better mate (in a smooth New Zealand accent) I’ll give you ten”. As I tried to give this man my money and explained it was alright if I paid, he wasn’t having it. He simply stated, “It’s a worthy cause”. He also gave me a time to meet him toward the end of his day so that we could do the interview. This was absolutely mind blowing. Manu Bennett, a foreign actor after only hearing the cause instantly donated what one estimates to be close to or more than 600 dollars in merchandise.
One of the reasons that this was so amazing is that meanwhile; in Fort Worth and in Dallas Texas, this event was almost thrown at local media and sponsors as well as volunteers and participants and has yet to raise a single sponsor. In one fell swoop Mr. Bennett immediately met and exceeded the cash value donation to sponsor the event at the most expensive sponsorship package. He asked for absolutely NOTHING in return. He only wished us luck in achieving the goal.
Later on Manu Bennett of Spartacus, Arrow and Lord of The Rings Hobbit series spoke with The Fort Worth Martial Arts Examiner Exclusively at Comic Con in San Antonio Texas. Here are the highlights of the 5 minute interview with this Man of Men Manu Bennett.
· His early Fitness and Martial Arts Influences
· His training for the role of Crixus
· His training for the role of Deathstroke
· His current Martial Arts and Fitness regime
· What motivates him to succeed
· What martial arts technique was taught to him by US Army Special Forces Soldiers that scored him the role of Deathstroke.
Check out the Fort Worth Martial Arts Examiner and Knife and Hand to Hand Combat.com Exclusive Interview with this martial artist and action star for all the details. This interview is available on Knife and Hand to Hand Combat.com’s Combat TV.
A True Warrior
At one point during the interview with Mr. Bennett. He explained how American Special Forces Soldiers taught him the choke technique that not only won him the role of Australian Intelligence Operative Slade Wilson (A.K.A. Deathstroke) but also knocked a reader unconscious. It was then that Mr. Bennett discovered that this writer himself was once a “Liberator of the Oppressed” (A.K.A. Special Forces Soldier). As one man to another, he explained his respect for the warrior culture. He explained that in his world the director calls “Cut” and it is the real warriors of the military that place their lives in harm’s way on a daily basis.
Mr. Bennett said something during the interview that resonated deep within this writer that I could relate to. He said something that anyone who has performed, operated or competed at the top of their perspective profession would truly understand. It was after one asked what it was that motivated him with his workouts and training; he explained that he wanted to be part of the top one percent of his genre. Ever being the natural competitor and having the honor to have served with the men that I consider the top one percent of the profession of arms, I immediately understood his perspective. I respected him even more for it and it was at that point that the two of us had reached a universal understanding amongst warriors. Make no mistake about it. Manu Bennett is a True Warrior. Humble in his ways, loyal to his beliefs and true to his passions. Mr. Bennett has assimilated “Budo” or “Bushido” what the Japanese call the Warrior Way over a career of in depth and often intense training in the Martial or Combat Ways.
The Student is the Master
In many ways Manu Bennett is the Master for children and other students of the Warrior Way; that will one day embrace the way of the warrior. His influence is seen and felt in his films, through the positive image he portrays, through the example that he sets for others to follow. Mr. Bennett ever the true warrior lives the warrior ethos and exhibits traits that any warrior who lives “The Creed” will relate to. The interview and experience that this writer has had with Mr. Manu Bennett was an experience that as a writer, fan of the performing arts and a brother of the “Warrior Way” was the opportunity of a lifetime and a true honor that one will not soon forget.
In summary this was a great interview. I look forward to working with Mr. Bennett again, preferably in Fort Worth. Manu Bennett is a class act by any standard. This writer was particularly excited to get his certified replica Spartacus Sica sword prop certificate signed by “The Undefeated Gaul”. Unfortunately I was so I excited by Manu Bennett’s Generosity that I completely forgot about my replica sword certificate. Please go to Mr. Bennett’s Facebook page….like it. Follow him on Twitter and by all means keep an eye out for this star who’s on his way to the top of his profession. Manu, I salute you! Till next time folks.... and don’t forget to subscribe.