Gerard Butler, a dark-haired, rugged actor with an accent, broke out as a star in the goofy, brawny, stylized 300, then used it to take on more interesting and serious roles. Now Joel Edgerton, a dark-haired, rugged actor with a different accent, is seemingly going the opposite route. He's had meaty roles in Animal Kingdom, this year's Warrior and The Thing and Baz Luhrmann's upcoming Great Gatsby, but he's apparently also considering strapping on a loincloth and screaming into the CGI comic book void. Vulture reports that Edgerton is in talks to star in 300: Battle of Artemisia, a prequel to the 2007 hit from Warner Bros.

The prequel has been rumored pretty much ever since 300 became a surprise hit, and earlier this year it actually seemed to be taking shape when Noam Murro was hired to direct it, replacing the original's director Zack Snyder (he's busy with a little movie called Superman: Man of Steel, of course). The film will be an adaptation of a graphic novel that Frank Miller is currently writing, documenting the Persian army, led by a hero named Xerxes, and how they rose to power in ancient times.

The first 300 was a surprise hit, which meant it didn't really need to have any stars because nobody had any expectations for it. But Battle of Aretemisia is a late-breaking attempt to turn 300 into a franchise, so it makes sense for them to seek out someone who is more of a name, even if it's a name as relatively new as Joel Edgerton. Is he smart to take on the project though? He seemed to be doing just fine by my lights, snagging the role of Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby when Ben Affleck dropped out and with The Odd Life of Timothy Green and Wish You Were Here both coming as well. Leading his CGI army to victory seems like it could turn him into just your average beefcake-- but then again, it jump-started a career once, so why shouldn't it work again?

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