How 'Gladiator-Camp Hell' Helped Liam McIntyre Land Coveted 'Spartacus' Role
He also says he won't try to duplicate Andy Whitfield's performance: "I think that should stand alone as his legacy."
Initially, Liam McIntyre didn't seem like a shoo-in to replace cancer-stricken Andy Whitfield on season 2 of Starz's Spartacus.
On his audition tape, he hardly resembled a gladiator.
"He looked like Christian Bale from The Fighter," Steven S. DeKnight, the creator and producer of both Spartacus series, tells the New York Times.
But "the way he delivered everything was spot on," DeKnight says.
So they assigned McIntyre (who had shed a considerable amount of weight for another film) to “gladiator-camp hell, plus 10" to bulk up, says DeKnight.
Every two weeks they looked at photographs of the actor’s progress before the commitment was made this week to hire him for the role.
Production kicks off in Auckland, New Zealand, in the spring.
McIntyre says he won't try to duplicate Whitfield’s performance.
“As an actor, you never try to be someone else,” he tells The Times. “You can’t. I honestly think the reason I’ve got this far and now have got the role – I’d like to think I have the same soul as Spartacus, that Andy brought to it. But I guess it remains to be seen.
"Beyond that, Andy’s Spartacus is always going to be Andy’s Spartacus, and I would never try and emulate that. Or try to be him. I think that should stand alone as his legacy.”
He and Whitfield share an agent, but they have yet to talk.
“Obviously I’d love to speak to Andy,” he says. “But he’s going through a lot. I don’t want to get in the way of that. Whatever it takes to get him well is more important. I send him my love and I wish him well.”