If you’re a fan of the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand you are no doubt aware that series star Andy Whitfield has been battling illness for some time. Recently, the network decided to find someone else to take on the titular role in the series once Whitfield’s return was not possible. Then began a search for the actor who would would be the new Spartacus, which recently was down to three.
According to the network, that search has now ended. Australian actor Liam McIntyre has been named the new star of the series. According to the report, Starz executives liked his acting abilities but he was told to bulk up to look more like a gladiator.
About the casting, Starz had this to say: “(McIntyre) has excelled at a grueling and rigorous audition process to claim the title role in the second season” of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The series’ prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, debuts on Friday.
Click through for the official release from Starz. We wish McIntyre luck but also recognize he has some pretty big, um, shoes to fill.
McIntyre takes over the role of the Thracian warrior sold into slavery in the Roman Republic city of Capua – where he rises to become the champion of the city – before leading the slave revolt that ended Season 1. The part was played in the first season of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” by Andy Whitfield, who was forced to leave the show in order due to health issues. Whitfield gave his blessing to the recasting.
“Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead ‘Spartacus’ forward,” Straz’s CEO Chris Albrecht notes. “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.”
Liam McIntyre made his mark in his native Australia on such series as “Neighbours,” and “Rush.” He also appeared in the HBO mini-series “The Pacific.” He recently completed his first feature starring role in the independent film Frozen Moments. McIntyre is currently in New Zealand, getting himself into gladiator shape in order to take on that iconic role. Production on the series is slated to resume by Spring of 2011.