Andy Whitfield in 'Spartacus': It took months to replace him execs say

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Manu Bennett and Liam McIntyre.jpgWe were heartbroken when we got the news that Andy Whitfield was stepping down from his lead role in the 'Spartacus' series after his cancer returned. We were destroyed when we heard he passed away. Producers of the show had a really hard decision to make. Who could replace the beloved actor in the role in the next season, "Spartacus: Vengeance?"

During the Winter Press Tour "Spartacus: Vengeance" presentation, Managing Director Carmi Zlotnick described the casting process that resulted in the wonderful Liam McIntyre nabbing the role. McIntyre told us that it was four months of intense training. Zlotnick said, "He worked out, I got weekly updates showing how his physique changed from week to week. And after a period of a couple months of having him do that, we finally decided this is the guy. He not only has the acting chops, but the ability to bring the kind of intensity and unique attributes the role requires."

McIntyre told the room, "It was a very exciting time and I lost like 45 pounds for another [job]. And they kept bringing me back for training and they had a military trainer. It was fair enough and every moment through that process was exciting." He also described the day the producers had to tell the cast that Whitfield had passed away. "It's probably the saddest thing I had to be a part of. From the start, I knew I could tackle the role, because he made the decision [to leave] and get better. You can't imagine how sad that day was."

"Spartacus: Vengeance" premiered on January 27th on Starz. Let us know what you thought! And don't forget to give us your favorite "Spartacus" drinking game. Check out these favorites from the cast and fans.
Photo/Video credit: Starz