Gena Rowlands

By Tony Rizzo
Had a letter asking, “What is one of our greatest actresses, Gena Rowlands, up to these days?” Gena quietly moved on with her life after the 1989 death of her husband of 35 years, John Cassavetes, who directed both her Oscar-nominated films — “A Woman Under the Influence” and “Gloria” — and was a pioneer in independent film making. Always watching and waiting for a good script, she’s passed on most everything she’s read … until now.

When I lunched with her in Palm Springs, Gena told me, “I’m doing a film in Australia, which is a long way to go to make a movie, but ‘Last Dance’ is so good, I couldn’t turn it down! It’s about Ulah Lippman, a Holocaust survivor taken hostage by an injured terrorist after a bombing devastates her Melbourne neighborhood. It’s told from both their points of view and explains how they got where they are!” (If the title, “Last Dance” sounds familiar, it may be because of the Oscar-winning song “Last Dance” from the 1996 Donna Summer movie “Thank God It’s Friday.”)

Gena has enjoyed her break from movie making by dividing her time between Los Angeles and Palm Springs with her husband, Robert Forrest. Her son, Nick Cassavetes, had to bow out of directing John Travolta’s new film, “Gotti: Three Generations” due to a scheduling conflict with another film, “Yellow,” to which he was already committed.
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Marvel Comics is not wasting any time planning sequels to its new super-hero films “Thor” (due out in May) and “Captain America” (out July 22). Both Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) and Chris Evans (“Captain America”) will be getting the big superstar build-up. The advance reviews for “Thor” are very positive for director Kenneth Branagh, the action sequences and Chris Hemsworth. As for Chris Evans, he has proven from his work in the “Fantastic Four” films that he can more than handle the acting required of him. It seems that as life gets more complicated, we need bigger than life super heroes for whom we can cheer.

Hoover Vacuum cleaners has made a bold statement against ABC for canceling “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” In a move rarely seen by a sponsor, it has pulled all its advertising from ABC. Hoover’s VP of Marketing, Brian Kirkendall, admitted that his wife and mother are “both passionate viewers of ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live,’ as are many of my colleagues here at Hoover.”

Hoover has set up an email address, SavetheSoaps@Hoover.com, for soap fans to have their say, which it plans to pass on to ABC. In other words, Hoover told ABC, “We’re supposed to suck!”

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(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.