Spartacus has a new stud.
Wire-jawed ustralian film and TV actor Liam McIntyre has been hired to replace cancer-stricken Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield on the gladiator-themed series, Starz said Monday. Andy was unable to film Season 2 due to his battle with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a condition the actor was first diagnosed with in early 2010. Liam, 28, will take over the title role on the bloody drama when Season 2 begins shooting this spring.
McIntyre is best known for his work on the Australian sudsters Neighbours and Rush. He also appeared in the HBO miniseries The Pacific, in which he played Lew.
“Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead ‘Spartacus’ forward,” Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement. “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 is currently in New Zealand, where he is getting “into gladiator shape” in order to take on the part, Albrecht adds.