We all feel like certain things are promised to us — happiness, love, longevity. These things are the pillars of a full life, and yet sometimes they allude us. Andy Whitfield had career fulfillment as the star of Spartacus and he had love and happiness with his wife, Vashti, and his two children, but Whitfield was cheated out of longevity, passing away at the age of 39 after an 18 month battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
It has been nine months since Whitfield’s tragic death, but his voice can still be heard in Be Here Now, a documentary that was filmed during his illness in an effort to, according to director Lilibet Foster, “be helpful and inspire other people facing similar challenges in their lives.
It was Foster that Whitfield, his wife, and his manager Sam Maydew, entrusted with this delicate and hard project, a project whose subject matter she was familiar with thanks to her work with Stand Up to Cancer. Still, the Academy Award nominated documentary director clearly took a shine to Whitfield, and was hit hard by his death:
“The hardest emotional part of the filming process was when Andy took a turn for the worse. It is no exaggeration when you hear or read that Andy was a wonderful and beautiful person both inside and out, who I feel honored to have gotten to know.”
The goal of Be Here Now, is to remind the world of that Andy Whitfield, but also to show the “love story” between Andy and Vashti, and according to Foster, to show “a beautiful, poetic and inspirational film that takes you into and beyond the subject of cancer, becoming a life-lesson for anyone about living fearlessly, going for your dreams and living in the here and now, despite the potential outcome.”
There isn’t likely a person reading this that hasn’t been personally touched by cancer, and there isn’t likely a person reading this who won’t be inspired by the grace and resiliency that Whitfield and his family show in the trailer (below) for Be Here Now. So many of us know the toughness required, the value of joy and laughter in beating back this disease, and so many would likely benefit from hearing a story that displays those things — something that Lilibet Foster’s documentary seems to promise. Right now though, the film is stuck, and that’s why a Kickstarter campaign has been started to help fund the filming of the documentary’s conclusion and to edit the project for release.
Presently, the Be Here Now Kickstarter page has more than $35,000 pledged by more than 650 people, but with 43 days to go, the project still needs another $170,000. To view and contribute to the Be Here Now project, and help Lilibet Foster tell Andy Whitfield’s story in full, go here.
Hollywood actor and 39-year-old star of the cable series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” Andy Whitfield has passed away.
Born in Wales and raised in Australia, Andy was considered by many a virtual unknown when hired alongside fellow actors Lucy Lawless, John Hannah and Peter Mensah to star in the original series from the Starz network. A series known for it’s sexual content and graphic violence Andy fit the role of Spartacus perfectly, a former soldier condemned to fight in the arena as a gladiator and ultimately leads a rebellion against the Roman Empire. This role showcased not only his athletic side, but allowed Andy to show his depth as an actor and portray a man deeply in love with his wife. This duality made Andy an instant star the world over.
Sadly, in March 2010 while prepping for the second season of “Spartacus”, Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodkin Lymphoma and began treatment immediately. In between all this adversity Andy still took the time to have fun, co-starring alongside Youtube filmmaker Freddie Wong in the 2 minute short Time Crisis. Earlier this year fellow Australian Liam McIntyre was signed to take over the role.
Andy’s manager Sam Maydew confirmed that he passed away Sunday of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sydney, Australia.
In a statement made by Whitfield’s wife Vashti she called her husband a “beautiful young warrior” who died on a “sunny Sydney morning” in the “arms of his loving wife.”
The man was a true warrior to the end and will sorely be missed by his fans, but more importantly his friends and family.
Last week Nerdbastards posted that Austrailian Liam Mcintyre was a front runner for the role of Spartacus. Andy Whitfield had to step away from the lead role in Spartacus: Blood and Sand last September when his cancer returned. Starz was left with two options: recast the role of Spartacus or cancel the series.. Starz confirmed their choice today.
When Spartacus Season 2 returns we can expect lots of sweat, skin, and tight abs. I’m really excited about the news that Lucretia played by Lucy Lawless, will be returning to the second season! We all know that Lucretia can be a cold hearted bitch when she feels slighted in the smallest way. Wonder what kind of floodgate will be opened after taking a sword to the gut from the gladiator she loved. Whole lot of Roman-spurned-woman-venom coming Criux’s way.
Wait, I just realized that I have written this whole post about Spartacus without using the word Merkin. There, I thought I was leaving something out, I feel better now.
Don’t forget this Nerdbastards reminder:
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena starts this FRIDAY! Set your DVR!
I love Spartacus Blood and Sand. I liked the fighting, I liked the outrageously huge blood splurts, I liked the full frontal nudity, I even liked hearing about Lucy Lawless‘s merkin. What? You don’t know what merkin is? Google it! Pretty sweet huh?
OK, back to Spartacus. I was pretty bummed out for Andy Whitfield when his cancer returned and he had to put his career on hold. (Nerdbastards thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Andy!) Starz had no choice but to cancel the show or recast the role. With the shows popularity it was pretty much a no brainer to move on and recast. Now the question is how will this affect the show? Will is be as obvious and unforgettable as the Darren switch in Bewitched, or forgettable like the Jimmy Olsen switch in Louis and Clark? (Didn’t know about that one did ya? One nerd point for me.?
From the Daily Blam:
Word from Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht is that they will going through with the second season and are close to recasting the lead role of Spartacus. According to Michael Aussiello, Liam McIntyre may be cast in the starring role. At the Television Critics Association Albrecht said:
“This will be the official second season, which picks up where we last left Spartacus and his gang of escaped gladiators. We don’t have casting news for you today, but the reason that we are announcing the official moving ahead is because we’re very confident that where we are in the casting process will result in finding a lead actor who can ably step into Spartacus’ sandals, although we will never be able to truly replace Andy Whitfield.”
That one’s for you Nerdbastard ladies. Well, Liam certainly has the physique for it. Now we just have to wait and see if his acting is as well toned.
The second part of Starz announcement is that Lucretia played by Lucy Lawless, will be returning to the second season! Executive producer and writer Steven S. DeKnight says, “What we have planned for Lucretia in season two makes season one and the prequel pale in comparison to what she’s up to in season two.” So Lucretia survives that vicious slicing she received from Crixus in the season finale. Does she lose Crixus’s baby? Oh, I can see some vengeance and blood in her future if that’s the case. Or even better, what if she AND the baby survive? We’ll just have to wait and see. But fear not faithful Spartacus lovers. In the meantime we have Spartacus: Gods of the Arena to tide us over!
The six part prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, was announced when Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, delaying season 2 of the show. Creating GOTA was an exceptionally cavalier move on behalf of Starz to support Whitfield. When his relapse was announced Starz as supportive as they were, had to decide on a recast. Although they haven’t decided on whom will fill the sandals, I’m sure we will know soon.
Along with a lengthy synopsis after the jump is the trailer. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena debuts on January 21 at 10pm EST on Starz. (more…)
Cancer is a Demon Bitch. Saw a lot of people die in the end..I never wanna walk that road again!! The Starz series Spartacus was an equal mix of Gladiator and 300. Every Friday night, I would get into my superman underoos and grab my sword replica and make my girlfriend walk around topless while I fought invisible foes. Needless to say, with a captivating storyline and a remarkable season finale, Spartacus; Blood and Sand had found its fanbase and popularity.
Unfortunately lead actor Andy Whitfield, of Spartacus fame was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had treatment, which he beat in the Arena to submission. So Starz went ahead with aSpartacus prequel series, Gods of the Arena, due in 2011.
Anyways, Whitfield’s cancer has returned which means he needs to start another round of treatments which has forced his to leave the series permanently. I don’t know if they’ll replace his character of Spartacus, or make this new season the last of it. But when it comes down to it, we will miss Whitfield’s character, and hope that he beats this next bout, too young, too talented, too handsome-like Dexter, to be stricken with this illness at such a young virile age.
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena serves as a prequel to the hit epic and premieres January, 2011…”You have your orders chief now get crackin'” When our lead protagonist Andy Whitfield the “Disputed” champion of Capua was stricken with a treatable form of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma we First thought “DEAR GOD!!! Our hearts go out to the fans of that show who are broken up over this travesty!!” No, I’m kidding we first thought, “Great now the show is gonna be called “Crixus: Blood and Sand” OK, I’m kidding again, it was a shame that such a strapping young lad was struck with such a fucken terrible illness and it goes to show that regardless of physique cancer can touch anyone. (more…)
What’s up with hit shows on Premium Channels and the bad trend of nearly terminal cancer striking down stars left, and well, right. Andy Whitfield, the strikingly handsome, often witty and tortured (great combo) Spartacus has been not been struck down with the blade of a champion, but with non- Hodgkin lymphoma. (more…)