It looks like it’s back to the drawing board as far as casting goes for Showtime’s drama pilot Masters of Sex. British actor Paul Bettany was set to play one of the two lead roles in the project, however it’s been reported that he’s no longer attached to star.

Back in November, we shared the news that Bettany (A Knight’s Tale, Margin Call) had been cast in the lead role of Showtime’s pilot Masters of Sex, a drama based on Thomas Maier’s book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson the couple who Taught America How to Love. The story follows the start of the sexual revolution in the ’60’s, which is said to have been kicked off by Masters and Johnson’s research. Bettany was to play Masters in the pilot, however Deadline now reports otherwise.

Per Deadline, the role of Masters was supposed to be Bettany’s U.S. TV debut, but now he’s no longer set to star. It sounds like it was his call to leave the project, though no specifics are offered as to why he’s exiting the role other than references to the actor’s “known difficulty to commit to projects.” The series is now in search of two leads for the pilot, with Lizzy Caplan (Party Down) the mentioned name as a “talked about” option for the part of Johnson.

Fans of Bettany will likely be disappointed by this news, especially given how well Showtime has done in showcasing the talents of big stars in lead roles of their original series (see: Claire Danes and Damien Lewis in Homeland, William H. Macy in Shameless), however the actor is credited for a role in the upcoming film Blood, and fans will be able to hear him in The Avengers, as he’s the voice of Tony Stark’s helpful (occasionally sarcastic) virtual assistant Jarvis.
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