Meet ‘300’ Hero Sullivan Stapleton; Is He Hollywood’s Next Leading Man?

Mike Fleming

After 300: Rise Of An Empire had an opening-week global gross of $136 million and SullivanStapletonresuscitated the franchise potential of a first film that ended with a bloody pile of 300 dead Spartans, the town is asking: who the heck is this Sullivan Stapleton, avenger of Spartans, scourge of Persians and the latest guy in town with a star look and a six-pack? And more importantly, when is he available to reinforce to Hollywood that he’s got the goods to become its next leading man?

I caught up with Stapleton as he was home in Melbourne, recuperating from a concussion suffered in Bangkok while he was there filming Strike Back, the Cinemax series he stars in with Philip Winchester. He has done barely any press. That knock on the head kept him from being able to fly, which knocked him out of the chance to do the tour for the 300 sequel. A few things about Stapleton: he’s Australian, and like most of the actors who grew up in the business there before coming to these shores, he’s got a working-class attitude and is not at all full of himself. When you speak to him, you call him Sully. He looks like an edgier version of Pierce Brosnan, and in an age where Hollywood continues to build franchises around young actors who’ve barely passed puberty, Stapleton is (gasp!) 36 years old and is the first new face to come along in the action game in awhile who actually looks like a man. Though he will the first to admit that getting older takes a toll.

strike“My head is good now, but I’ve been thinking I must be getting older, because I took a hit to the head that hurt a bit more than it did when I fell all the time when I was a kid,” he said. “It was an accident, my head hit the road, and they put me in a hospital in Bangkok and then I came here to my mom’s house for rest, relaxation and more tests. Unfortunately, it means that I couldn’t do the 300 tour, which was sad for me because I love that film. I am so thankful to the bosses at Warner Bros  for giving me that job, and the guys from Strike Back who have allowed me time to get over this head wound. Obviously, that opening weekend helped the cause.” Read More »

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Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’ To Go On Hiatus After Sullivan Stapleton Off-Set Injury

By | Wednesday February 26, 2014 @ 12:58pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

stapleton1Cinemax‘s first primetime drama series Strike Back had been filming its 10-episode fourth and final season in Bangkok, Thailand when one of its two stars, Sullivan Stapleton, suffered a serious injury while exploring the town in his free time. As a result, filming of the series will take a six-month break so he can recover. Because of Strike Back‘s action nature, the roles of stars Stapleton and Philip Winchester are physically demanding, often involving stunt work, which requires them to be in perfect physical condition that often includes intensive pre-filming training. Cinemax logo 2011bProduction will continue in Thailand through March as scheduled before it takes a break, resuming in the fall in Hungary. In the next few weeks, the series will be filming around Stapleton. He stars in the upcoming 300: Rise Of An Empire, which opens next week, so I hear Stapleton had filmed a lot of his Strike Back scenes in order to accommodate the standard carve-out given to actors on series who have a movie to promote. His injury will likely impact his promotional plans for 300.

Related: Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’ Renewed For Fourth & Final Season

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Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’ Renewed For Fourth & Final Season

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 7:13am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Cinemax‘s first primetime drama series Strike Back will come to an end next year. The pay cable network has ordered a 10-episode fourth and final season of the action drama, which will shoot in Asia and … Read More »

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Cinemax To Air Original British Series ‘Strike Back’: Video

By | Thursday September 5, 2013 @ 12:47pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The British series that spawned the Cinemax action drama Strike Back is getting a U.S. run on the HBO sibling network. Branded Strike Back: Origins, the six-episode series starring Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) and Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead) will debut on Cinemax on October … Read More »

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Dougray Scott & Milauna Jackson Join Cast Of Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’ For Season 3

By | Thursday March 14, 2013 @ 8:24am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Dougray Scott (Desperate Housewives), Milauna Jackson (Blood Done Sign My Name) and Robson Green (Wire In The Blood) have been added to the cast of Cinemax‘s action drama Strike Back as it … Read More »

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Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’ Renewed For Third Season

By | Wednesday October 3, 2012 @ 8:45am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Strike Back RenewedCinemax has renewed its first primetime drama series Strike Back for a third season with a 10-episode order for a 2013 premiere. The third season, which will shoot in South Africa and Hungary, will once again be produced by Cinemax/HBO, Left Bank and Sky, which will air the series in the U.K. Returning for season three will be Left Bank’s Andy Harries as executive producer, series producer Michael Casey and head of production Marigo Kehoe. Others returning for season three include director Michael Bassett and writers Simon Burke, James Dormer and Richard Zajdlic. As it did with the second-season renewal announcement, Cinemax would not confirm which cast members will continue in Season 3 “due to plot spoilers in upcoming episodes of season two.”

The Strike Back renewal comes two weeks before the premiere of Cinemax’s second original primetime drama, Hunted. It will be followed by Banshee in 2013.

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Rhona Mitra To Join Cinemax Action Drama ‘Strike Back’ As Female Lead In Season 2

By | Friday January 6, 2012 @ 5:54pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Rhona Mitra is finalizing a deal to land the new female lead on Cinemax’s Strike Back in the action drama’s upcoming 10-episode second season. She will play the beautiful, cunning and ultimately ruthless Capt. Rachel Dalton … Read More »

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Solid Start For ‘Strike Back’ On Cinemax, Lifetime’s ‘Against The Wall’ Inches Up

By | Monday August 15, 2011 @ 2:53pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Cinemax’s first primetime original series, actioner Strike Back, got off to a promising start Friday, drawing 567,000 viewers for its premiere 10 PM across Cinemax’s universe of 16.7 million homes. That was Cinemax’s best ratings performance in the … Read More »

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Cinemax Is Original Drama Player: Partners With Sky For ‘Strike Back’ Action Series

By | Wednesday February 9, 2011 @ 11:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

HBO’s sibling pay-cable channel Cinemax is venturing into original programming with its first scripted primetime drama, Strike Back, a 10-hour action series it will co-produce with British satcaster Sky and U.K.-based Left Bank Pictures (The Special Read More »

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