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Today in Entertainment News: Spartacus and Fast and the Furious 5

PRODUCTION ON STARZ’ ‘SPARTACUS’ SIX-PART PREQUEL TO BEGIN THIS SUMMER

Pre-production is underway on a six-part prequel to Starz’ hit original series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”

Andy Whitfield, who played the title character in the series, will appear in the prequel briefly, but Lucy Lawless and John Hannah take center stage in this story of the rise of the House of Batiatus and its champions before Spartacus arrives as a captured Thracian slave. With the title still to be determined, the prequel will begin production this summer in New Zealand, and is slated to air on Starz in January 2011.

John Hannah returns as Batiatus, owner of the Ludus, along with his wife Lucretia, played by Lucy Lawless. Other returning actors include Peter Mensah (Doctore), Manu Bennett (Crixus), Antonio Te Maioha (Barca), Nick E. Tarabay (Ashur), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Naevia) – and others. New characters will also be added – most notably the gladiator who was champion of the House of Batiatus before Spartacus or even Crixus – who will help fill in the story about the people and politics in the House of Batiatus and ancient Capua as a whole.

Production on the second season of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” was postponed this spring to allow Andy Whitfield to be treated for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in New Zealand. His doctors indicate that the actor is responding well.

“Spartacus: Blood and Sand” was the highest rated show for the 18-49 demographic among all cable networks for 12 of the 13 Fridays on which it aired based on coverage rating.* The production team remains intact for the six-part prequel.

If you did not catch the first season of Spartacus Blood and Sand, this Campus Socialite gives it a massive recommendation.  One of my favorite shows on television and one the few shows to increase its ratings as the season went on.  Make sure you catch up before the new season starts in January 2011.

Fast and the Furious: Fast Five Given the Green Light with One Big Addition

Another Fast and the Furious film has been greenlit by Universal and is currently titled Fast Five.  Yes, the people who are behind these films are totally incapable of coming up with a cool sequel name (see “2 Fast 2 Furious”).  The release date for the movie is currently set for June 10th, 2011 and to really put some fuel in the tank they have added a big name co-star to the already jakked up roster.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has recently been added to the cast.  There’s not much known about the plot at this time other than it will see Dom (Diesel) and Brian (Walker), “as fugitives being pursued by relentless lawmen.”  The Rock is rumored to be filling one of the starring lawmen roles.  Personally, I am happy to see The Rock stop taking roles in which he plays a fairy, see “Tooth Fairy”or “Be Cool”, and get back to action adventure films where he belongs.  

Tags : Blood and SandDwayne JohnsonFast and the Furious 5Fast FiveJohn HannahLucy LawlessStarz. SpartacusThe Rock