Starz To Recast <i>Spartacus</i> Lead

Starz has begun the search for an actor to replace Spartacus: Blood and Sand's Andy Whitfield, who was forced to leave the series after a recurrence of cancer.

Although Stars President and CEO Chris Albrecht suggested as recently as Friday that the series' future was uncertain, Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello reports that a casting notice has gone out for a Caucasian male in his mid- to late 30s with an authentic British accent and a willingness to sign a three-year deal.

Whitfield, 36, was diagnosed in March with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and immediately began treatment, delaying production of Season 2 of Spartacus. That led Starz to order a prequel miniseries, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, to bridge the gap between seasons and allow Whitfield time to recover. The actor appeared in July at Comic-Con International, where he announced that he had been declared cancer-free and cleared to return to work. However, last month Whitfield revealed the cancer had returned.

Gods of the Arena will air in January on Starz.

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