The Notebook's director cast his own mum as the main character. Part of the story is playing out in real life.

It's the movie that brings a tear to every audience member's eye—The Notebook.

Starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, we all fell madly in love with the story of star-crossed lovers Noah and Allie. 

American actress Gena Rowlands played the older version of Allie in the film's present-day scenes, where Allie's elderly husband Noah reminds her of their love story every day while she battles dementia

Now part of the film is mirroring real-life.

This week, The Notebook's director Nick Cassavetes announced Rowlands is living with Alzheimer's. 

Cassavetes — who is also Rowland's son — cast his own mother as one of the film's main characters. He told Entertainment Weekly that it was surreal to now live out part of the movie's plot.

Watch: a look back of the trailer for The Notebook. Post continues below.

Video via New Line Cinema. 

"I got my mom to play older Allie, and we spent a lot of time talking about Alzheimer's and wanting to be authentic with it, and now, for the last five years, she's had Alzheimer's," he said about his 94-year-old mother. 


"She's in full dementia. And it's so crazy—we lived it, she acted it, and now it's on us."

Cassavetes, shared the news while looking back on working together with his mum as part of celebrations for The Notebook's 20th anniversary.

While filming the 2004 movie, Rowlands said she channelled her own mother to play the older Allie, having watched her battle and pass away from the debilitating disease. 

"I went through that with my mother, and if Nick hadn't directed the film, I don't think I would have gone for it—it's just too hard. It was a tough but wonderful movie," she told O Magazine amid The Notebook's release. 

"As an actress, I've played a lot of mothers. People ask me, 'Don't you get sick of it?' And I think, why would I get sick of it? Mothers are the most powerful people in the world."

Gena Rowlands starred as an older version of Allie in the hit film. Image: New Line Cinema.


For much of her career, Rowlands was a staple in the industry.

She has acted in over 100 film and TV projects, and several stage productions, before retiring in 2017. She made ten films with her first husband, the director John Cassavetes, two of which earned her Oscar nominations.

In The Notebook, Rowlands' co-star — an older version of Noah — was played by James Garner. He died in 2014, age 86 from a heart attack. 

Reflecting on working with Rowlands, Garner said in a 2004 interview: "I've always admired Gena. I love her acting. I got the script and I liked it. Of course, I didn't know the director [Nick Cassavetes], but I figured if he came from that family he'd be alright. When he'd say, 'Okay mum, action' on set, I thought it was so cute."

Feature Image: New Line Cinema.

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