Joining season three of Starz Original series, Spartacus, is Essex boy Simon Merrells, star of TV’s Family Affairs. Last seen on the big screen alongside Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Anthony Hopkins in the thriller, The Wolfman, Merells will play the role of Marcus Crassus, joining Australian actors Liam McIntyre (TV’s Neighbours) as the title role of Spartacus, and Todd Lasance (TV’s Home and Away) as Julius Caesar.
Merrells character description reads, “The richest man in the Roman Republic. Envied and despised by the highborn among the senate, he craves the power and respect that defeating Spartacus and his rebel army would bring.” Executive produced by Rob Tapert (The Grudge), Steven S. DeKnight (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), and Joshua Donen (The Quick and the Dead), this same team also produced the first three installments of the series: season one – Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the prequel – Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and season two – Spartacus: Vengeance.
Essex boy Simon is the elder of the two acting Merrells brothers, born in 1966, two years before his sibling Jason. Though there was no acting background in the family both boys were keen to tread the boards at an early age, attending Saturday morning drama classes, then a Sylvia Young school, and, in Simon's case, drama college, though on graduation he spent some time travelling abroad, and, on return, working as a mini-cab driver to earn the money to go back to Mexico to join a girlfriend who was in the circus there. He eventually went back to acting however, and turned professional in 1994. He has been particularly prolific on stage with such prestigious organizations as the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, for whom he played Benedick to Sally Anne Triplett's Beatrice in 'Much About Nothing' and acting with Jason for the first time in fourteen years as real-life brothers in 'The Comedy of Errors', both in 2007. On television he became well-known in the British soap opera 'Family Affairs'.
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