Sullivan Stapleton enters an all-new Animal Kingdom with 300 prequel

Update! : Deadline got it wrong; Stapleton is actually playing Themistokles, the role fellow Aussie Joel Edgerton was originally offered. Makes much more sense.

Aussie actor Sullivan Stapleton, best known for his role in career-making masterpiece ”Animal Kingdom”, will play the lead role of Xerxes in the ”300” prequel for Warner Bros.

The character of Xerxes was played by Rodrigo Santoro in ”300”, but he’s strangely been left off the credit block of this one. Maybe they simply wanted a new name? Maybe Santoro wasn’t capable of headlining a major movie? Maybe negotiations went awry? Maybe someone’s pecs looked better when lit by soundstage natural light!?

In the movie, Xerxes leads an army against Greek forces, who have little training but are under the guidance of a general named Themistokles.

Lena Headey (”Game of Thrones”) plays Artemisia, the lass calling all the shots- she’s the Jacki Weaver of the piece, if you will.

The untitled flick (previously called 300 : ”The Battle of Artemesia”) is being helmed by Noam Murro, a newbie to the action-movie genre having only helmed the character drama ”Smart People”. Murro is seemingly capable though, or at least has fooled Hollywood into thinking so, because he was offered the fifth ”Die Hard” at the same time. He picked muscly warriors over McClane.