Sullivan Stapleton, who appeared in the acclaimed Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom, is set to star in the untitled follow-up to 300 from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, Variety reports.
There appears to be some question as to whether Stapleton will play the god-king Xerxes I of Persia, the role portrayed in the 2007 blockbuster by Rodrigo Santoro -- Heat Vision contends he will, while Variety says "not necessarily." Another possibility is that he'll portray Themistocles, the legendary Athenian politician and general. Whatever the case, he joins Eva Green, who'll play the ruthless gold-covered goddess Artemisia.
Stapleton's role isn't the only uncertainty surrounding the film, previously referred to as Xerxes and 300: Battle of Artemisia. Directed by Noam Murro, it's supposedly based on Xerxes, the upcoming Dark Horse miniseries by 300 creator Frank Miller called “a sweeping tale with gods and warriors” that takes place 10 years before Thermopylae, beginning with the legendary Battle of Marathon. However, Variety cites anonymous sources as saying the movie is neither a prequel nor a sequel to 300, "and that the filmmakers are still figuring out its positioning," suggesting a divergence from Miller's comic.
Zack Snyder and 300 collaborator Kurt Johnstad wrote the screenplay for the film, which will employ the same green-screen visual effects that helped to propel the 2007 movie to a $456-million global box office.
Stapleton, who starred on the TV drama Strike Back, appears with Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn and Josh Brolin in the upcoming Warner Bros. film Gangster Squad.