Just days after Starz President Chris Albrecht assured television critics the network is close to finding a new lead for the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, word arrives that Prison Break star Dominic Purcell has screen-tested for the role.
Deadline reports the actor, who is vacationing in Australia, emailed video of himself to Starz on Friday, the same day Albrecht addressed the Television Critics Association press tour. (Coincidentally, Purcell's Prison Break co-star Wentworth Miller earlier had expressed an interest in the role.) However, Australian actor Liam McIntyre is said to remain as a serious contender, and has been bulking up since his November screen test.
Spartacus star Andy Whitfield was diagnosed in March with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and immediately began treatment, delaying production of Season 2. 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, Whitfield revealed in September that he was leaving the series following a recurrence of cancer. Starz initially characterized the future of Spartacus as uncertain before finally deciding in early October to recast the lead.
The prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena debuts on Jan. 21.