Yesterday, Amber, myself, our friends Emmeli and Erin, and my husband Jordan were working hard on our autumn/winter lookbook. It was a long, busy, very fun day. And fortunately, it went smoothly, despite the fact that my husband and I tend to butt heads when we work together.
I’m always amazed by married couples who work well together. Isn’t it an unwritten rule that husbands and wives can’t have the best of both worlds? They can be madly in love, but make terrible work partners? No? It’s just me? Okay.
This made me think of one of my favorite filmmakers, John Cassavetes, and his wife/leading lady, Gena Rowlands. These two are huge icons in the indie film world, and together they made ten movies—two of which earned Gena Oscar nominations (Gloria and A Woman Under the Influence). Married for 35 years, they are believed by many to have revolutionalized the direction of independent American cinema. John Cassavetes died in 1989, but Gena Rowlands still supports and remains very involved in indie film.
What I think is so romantic about these two is that they obviously adored working together and were incredibly dedicated to their art. They met and fell in love when both of them were struggling actors, they were always making films at any cost, and they loved doing it. When studios rejected their films, they would use their own money out of pocket to fund their work, often using friends as actors and doing their own hair and makeup. When they ran out of money, John would go find acting jobs until they could afford another project. “When we [would get some more money, John] would say, ‘Time to go to work,’ and we’d make something [else],” Gena says. “Each picture took about three months, and they were unbelievably fun and exciting. We didn’t think about whether it was going to be a success or a flop. We’d go on to the next one. But we were doing what we wanted to do, and happy to be doing it. We had an enormous freedom, and God knows we enjoyed it. We didn’t think or talk about any-thing else when we were making something, it was obsessive, and we both loved it. I think people having something that they’re both crazy about keeps marriage exciting.”
Gena fought hard for John’s art even after his death, protesting the release and screenings of his movies that had been re-edited by others, rightfully believing that it compromised his work—a loyal partner to the very end.
“I was determined when I came to New York that I would not marry or have children,” Gena says. “I just wanted to be on stage. Then I happened to see John…and he happened to see me in a play. God laughs as we make plans.”