Sullivan Stapleton to Play Xerxes in '300: Battle of Artemisia' Prequel?
Though Rodrigo Santoro brought Xerxes to life in Zack Snyder's comic book adaptation 300, it looks like a different actor will strap on the gold chains for the gestating prequel 300: Battle of Artemisia. Deadline has word that Animal Kingdom star Sullivan Stapleton has landed the villainous role in the film that will follow the Battle of Artemisium, which is where the Persian leader Xerxes fought the warlord named Themistocles (a role that was rumored to go to Joel Edgerton but is not yet cast). The story takes place over several years, but the focal point is the Battle of Artemisium and learning why "Xerxes is the way he is."
Noam Murro is behind the film this time with a script from 300 director Zack Snyder which he wrote with the original film's co-writer Kurt Johnstad. It should be interesting to see how a director like Murro, who has no action experience, fares with something like this, especially following in the footsteps of Snyder's over-the-top, slow-motion, action-packed film. If Edgerton does end up taking the role of Themistocles in the film, it would be quite an interesting reunion for the cast of Animal Kingdom. With Xerxes now cast, we'll likely hear of more names joining the film sooner than later so stay tuned.
UPDATE: Variety has the same story about Stapleton taking a lead role in the film, but the role may not actually be Xerxes. Stay tuned as more information becomes available.
UPDATE 2: Deadline has updated their terribly inaccurate story to say that Stapleton will actually be playing Themistocles in the film, not Xerxes as was originally reported. In addition, it sounds like Santoro is in talks to reprise his role as Xerxes. Good news?