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ET: When you auditioned, did they ask you to take your shirt off?
Andy Whitfield: Surprisingly, I wasn't. I was wearing clothes. That didn't happen, so I had a month to convince them they made the right decision.
ET: How comfortable are you with the nudity and the love scenes?
Andy Whitfield: Some of those things are easier than others. Doing that is actually easier than some other scenes. It is something that is natural. My philosophy is you have to make whatever is written on the page look real. Part of that is investing in the other person you are working with. It is a commitment thing. I never really know what is going to happen next. I just let that flow.
ET: Talk about the physical preparation for this and the training that you have gone through.
Andy Whitfield: It was pretty brutal, actually. Two days after I got the job, I flew to New Zealand, and I was in gladiator boot camp, which is a month of four hours a day, getting smashed to pieces by big stunt guys, learning how to fall, sword fighting and not eating anything. It was really hard. And then you get to the end of that first month, and then they're going to do an eight-and-a-half-month shoot where you have to stay in that shape.
ET: Did you have a stunt double?
Andy Whitfield: I did most of it myself because of the phantom camera. There is this 1,000 frames-a-second camera that creates the slow-motion stuff, so you can see it is not me if it is not me. There were some things I couldn't do for insurance reasons. But pretty much, I hit the deck every time and threw the punches and swung the swords.
ET: I understand that you have an interesting background. You came over to Australia from Wales and climbed stuff?
Andy Whitfield: I used to climb buildings, bridges, dams, whatever with ropes. I was working for a big consulting engineering firm and my job was to look at problems on structures and figure out what was going wrong.
ET: How did you make the transition from engineering to acting?
Andy Whitfield: One day I realized that I didn't have to do what I studied to do. It was a time in my life when I was unlocking parts of me … acting was just an awesome way of pushing that envelope.
ET: The series has already been picked up for the second season. When do you go back into training?
Andy Whitfield: I am just ironing out all the things that went pop in the show. Probably two months before, I will go back in the gym. I am trying to put it off as long as possible.
"Spartacus: Blood and Sand" premieres a new episode tonight at 10 p.m. on Starz.