When Spartacus star Andy Whitfield was battling cancer in the last months of his life, he had a camera crew with him every step of the way. The result is Be Here Now, a feature-length documentary project about the late actor, which is launching a campaign to raise money for its completion.
Related: R.I.P. Andy Whitfield
Whitfield was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after wrapping the first season of Starz’s Spartacus, a role that would make him a global star. He went through a rigorous program of chemotherapy and was deemed as being in remission when, during a physical to return to Spartacus, his blood tests raised a flag, resulting in a devastating news for the actor — his cancer had come back stronger than ever, leaving him with about a 25% chance of survival. Facing another round of treatments, Whitfield and his wife Vashti decided to have it all documented. “Our last experience with it was very difficult and lonely, we felt we had a lot of questions,” Whitfield’s manager Sam Maydew recalls the actor and his wife telling him back then. “We want to bring awareness to cancer treatment so others who go through it feel they’re not alone.” Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Lilibet Foster (Speaking In Strings), whose family hails from the same small Welsh town where Whitfield was raised, came on board. She spent the next year with Whitfield and his family as the actor went through grueling rounds of chemo and traveled to India for a shot at an Eastern medicine treatment.
When the cancer returned, Whitfield and his wife got matching Be Here Now tattoos Foster says symbolized the fact that “they would take the healing in their own hands” and also provided the title for her documentary. (more…)