Despite existing on a channel that spells its name with an erroneous "z," Spartacus is actually an enjoyable show. Unfortunately, the show's future seemed unclear after star Andy Whitfield developed cancer, only to recover and then become ill again (that's Whitfield in the above image, by the way). At first the network dealt with the delay by producing a sequel series (Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which does not involve the titular character at all), but now they've had to replace Whitfield.
The new man playing the Thracian gladiator-cum-rebel leader? Fellow Australian Liam McIntyre, whom you probably won't know unless you are also from Australia. And if you're concerned about his physique, don't be:
Mr. McIntyre had been working on a thriller called Frozen Moments for which the director had asked him to lose a significant amount of weight. (Invoking a different Christian Bale movie, Mr. McIntyre recalled: “When I got this role back in January, the director rung me up, he said: ‘Congratulations. Now, have you seen The Machinist?’ I was a rake.”)
So Mr. DeKnight assigned Mr. McIntyre to a rigorous exercise and workout regime (“gladiator-camp hell, plus 10,” as Mr. DeKnight described it) and looked at photographs of the actor’s progress every two weeks before the commitment was made this week to hire Mr. McIntyre for the role.
So good luck to McIntyre on his new gig. I look forward to seeing how he fills out the loincloth.