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Hollywood Highlights

Evansville resident keeps the fight going in new Lifetime movie

After a quarter century in the acting industry, few projects have excited Amanda Henn quite like the Evansville resident’s latest film “The Fight That Never Ends,” a story of love, justice, and perseverance.

Airing on Lifetime and inspired by a true story, “The Fight That Never Ends” stars Allen Payne as Leon Watkins, who runs a community helpline in south central Los Angeles, with one of his most frequent visitors being local gang leader John “Jay” Hunter, played by Robert Ri’chard. Joanne Beck, played by Christa B. Allen, is an All-American swimmer from Milwaukee who is looking for more purpose in life and insists on helping Leon with his community outreach. Together, the unlikely duo works to fight oppression during the intense racial upheaval in early 1990s LA.

“It was really a story of two people who should have never met in a million years,” Henn said in an interview Wednesday with [Evansville Living]. “(Joanne Beck) saw the inequities … with the people who worked for them, and she always had a heart for it. When she was in LA, she was working on ‘The Newlywed Game’ and kind of lived that little Hollywood life for a while. She saw how unfulfilling it was, and she knew she needed something.”

Henn, 70, grew up in northeast Alabama but has spent the last 15 years living in Evansville, settling down in the Tri-State to take care of her now 92-year-old aunt. She began acting in 1996 after a 28-year modeling career and has since also dabbled in producing.

Henn acted in and co-produced “The Fight That Never Ends,” playing a political consultant named Amanda Richards. Henn says it was tough juggling being onscreen and doing the behind-the-scenes work in what was her most involved producing role to date.

“I was in my trailer getting ready for one of my scenes. I was on the phone with a vendor, and we’re going through all this stuff and having to write everything down and pay them to do everything, and then I had to go into the studio right after that to start filming,” she says. “That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever done. Instead of going over my lines over and over, I was on the phone for 30 minutes with a vendor. You’d be surprised what all goes into making a movie.”

Directed by Preston Whitmore II, the movie tackles issues of love and social justice, and Henn says it corresponds well with today’s continued struggle for peace and social and racial equality.

“It’s gotten a lot of good buzz. In today’s world — as awful and divided as it is — (the film) couldn’t have come out at a better time,” says Henn, referencing last year’s police-involved deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. “(The film) brought this out again because the LA riots stemmed from Rodney King being beat up by police.”

“The Fight That Never Ends” premiered on Oct. 17 on Lifetime but will air on the network through the end of October. It’s also available to stream online at lifetime.com.

Photos provided by Amanda Henn.

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