Online: 0 Guests: 18
Liam McIntyre takes over Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The tragedy of Starz's hit sword and sandal series Spartacus: Blood and Sand has been the illness of its star. Shortly before the series ended its first season, Andy Whitfield, the actor who plays the title character, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As Whitfield underwent medical treatment to fight the disease, Starz was stuck with an unfortunate business decision: how to continue on with a new hit series but also leave the door open for its star to take the necessary time away to battle cancer?
The decision was made to make a prequel series. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, is a six-part show that premieres on Starz on January 21, and will show the gladiator Gannicus (Dustin Clare) as he battled opponents to become the first champion of the arena.
That left time for Whitfield to recoup from his cancer treatment and for Starz to schedule the second season start of Blood and Sand. But just as the creative team were preparing for the new season, the news came that Whitfield's cancer had returned. Faced with fighting the cancer again, Whitfield couldn't reprise his role as Spartacus for the show. Starz had to make a decision on its series: recast the part, end the show or gamble on taking a drastic course correction and writing a series about a main character that couldn't appear in any episodes.
With the blessing of Andy Whitfield, Starz has made the decision to recast the role of Spartacus for the new season. Taking over the part is Australian actor Liam McIntyre, whose looks somewhat resemble Whitfield's. McIntyre had a supporting role in the recent HBO mini-series The Pacific and also starred on the Australian soap Neighbors. He's currently in New Zealand getting into the stern physical shape the part requires and preparing for a spring 2011 start of filming.
"Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead Spartacus forward," said the CEO of Starz, Chris Albrecht. "It was important to us to have Andy endorse the idea of recasting this part, which he did in the same heroic manner that he's dealt with his whole ordeal. And that, coupled with our fortune in finding a young actor with the gladiator credentials and the acting ability of Liam, makes it easier for us to keep this hit franchise going."
The second season picks off right after the climactic events seen in the final episode of Blood and Sand's first season (no spoilers will be shed in this news story.) Returning for the new season will be Lucy Lawless, who plays the noble woman and gladiator owner Lucretia.
Whitfield will be seen in a cameo as Spartacus somewhere in Gods of the Arena.
There are currently no comments