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Jonathan Manu Bennett (born 10 October 1969) is a New Zealand actor. He is primarily known for portraying characters in epic fantasy works, such as Crixus in the TV series Spartacus, Allanon in The Shannara Chronicles, Slade Wilson / Deathstroke in Arrow, and Azog the Defiler in the Hobbit film trilogy.

Click here to learn about Manu Bennett ‘s sessions.

Bennett’s professional acting career began in 1993 in the teen soap Paradise Beach. He then played guest roles in other Australian TV dramas, including Water Rats, All Saints, and Beastmaster. Bennett then starred alongside Claudia Karvan in the miniseries The Violent Earth, produced by French company Gaumont. In 1996, Bennett participated in theatre. In an open-air production of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, based on D. H. Lawrence’s novel, directed by Australian film/theatre director Robert Chuter, he played the title role, the gamekeeper Oliver Mellors in which he met model/actor Darlene Rada Ford from Bondi Beach who encouraged him to pursue more serious acting roles abroad.

In 1999, Bennett landed his first leading role in a feature film named Tomoko, shot on location in Tokyo, starring opposite Rumiko Koyanagi. In 2000, Bennett guest starred in Xena: Warrior Princess as Marc Antony, then played a role opposite Without a Trace star Anthony LaPaglia, where Bennett displayed his dancing skills as a salsa dance teacher in the award-winning Australian film, Lantana.

Bennett returned to New Zealand in 2000 to appear in the popular television drama, Shortland Street, then went on to play a cop turned lawyer in Street Legal before working with his director cousin Michael Bennett on the Māori Twilight Zone-styled series Mataku before working with Richard Taylor from the Academy Award-winning firm Weta Workshop on Creature Quest.

In August 2002, Bennett landed a screen test opposite Angelina Jolie for a part in the Tomb Raider sequel The Cradle of Life. Actor Gerard Butler ended up beating him for the role

In 2003, Bennett hosted Going Straight, a New Zealand reality show.

In 2006, Bennett was cast in The Marine alongside WWE wrestling star John Cena and Robert Patrick. In 2007, Bennett was cast as one of ten convicts alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones in The Condemned. In 2006, Bennett was cast opposite Josh Hartnett to play Deputy Billy Kitka in the US film 30 Days of Night.

From 2010 to 2013, Bennett co-starred in the new American television series Spartacus, about the defiant gladiator Spartacus. Bennett played the key role of Crixus, Champion of Capua. He was the only cast member of the series who starred on all four seasons, as well as starring in the most episodes of this series.

In 2012, he played the villain Azog the Defiler in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and continued to portray the character in the sequels. In November 2012, Bennett was cast in the first season of Arrow as Slade Wilson, and in March 2013, he was promoted to series regular for the second season. He then made several guest appearances in subsequent seasons.

In May 2014, Bennett revealed he had lost two roles in Stargate Atlantis and the 2011 film Conan the Barbarian to actor Jason Momoa.

In December 2014, Manu was cast as the druid Allanon in MTV’s television series The Shannara Chronicles.

Click here to learn about Manu Bennett ‘s sessions.

All sessions by MANU BENNETT


11 May 2019