Backstage talks with writer/director Nick Cassavetes:
He wrote his first script, Unhook the Stars, as an exercise, to see if he could create a fully developed character. He showed it to his mother, who happens to be accomplished stage and screen star Gena Rowlands. "I said, 'What do you think?' She said, 'What do I think? When are we doing this?'" he remembers. "I said, 'No, it was just an experiment.' She goes, 'Uh-uh. We're doing this.'" Unhook the Stars, directed by Cassavetes, was released in 1996 and netted Screen Actors Guild nods for Rowlands and co-star Marisa Tomei.
Actors love this guy and with good reason -- his writing is intelligent, his stories turn on a dime, and his camera is effortless. If you haven't seen "She's So Lovely", also written and directed by Cassavetes, check it out. It's loaded with fine performances -- with John Travolta, Robin Wright Penn, Sean Penn -- and is one of the lesser-known gems out there. Cassavetes has "Alpha Dog" (pictured) coming out soon.