Illness of Star Prompts ‘Spartacus’ Prequel
By BRIAN STELTER; Compiled by DAVE ITZKOFF
Published: May 12, 2010
While the actor who plays the title character in the Starz drama “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” undergoes cancer treatment, the channel will produce a six-episode prequel to the series. Starz said Tuesday that the prequel is now in pre-production, with a tentative premiere date of January.
Andy Whitfield, right, who plays Spartacus, has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; he will appear “in a limited capacity” in the prequel, Starz said, and the focus will be on two other characters from the show’s first season, played by Lucy Lawless and John Hannah.
The Starz president and chief executive, Chris Albrecht, said that Mr. Whitfield was “responding to his treatments,” and that “as soon as he’s able, we look forward to continuing the Spartacus story.”