The strikingly beautiful Oscar nominee Diane Lane, 45, has enjoyed a
major Hollywood career in such films as The Outsiders (1983), Rumble
Fish (1983), Unfaithful (2002) and Under the Tuscan Sun (2003), but
she's reluctant to take sole responsibility for these achievements.
Rather, she generously credits those around her, finding and
appreciating unique, amazing things about each person.
In her new film Secretariat, which opens Friday, she plays Penny
Chenery, the owner of the 1973 Triple Crown winner and arguably the
greatest racehorse in history. During a recent visit to San Francisco,
Lane begins by acknowledging the real, 88 year-old Chenery for providing
insight into the role.
"One of the things I believe I have in common with Penny is that we
both had strong fathers that we wanted to make proud, though it's very
bittersweet," she says. She explains that Chenery's father never lived
to see Secretariat win, while Lane's father once made a bold prediction
that she would earn an Oscar nomination for Unfaithful. "When it
actually occurred that I got nominated and he wasn't alive anymore -- he
had just missed it -- it was so bittersweet."
In the movie Lane also develops a wonderful chemistry with John
Malkovich, who plays trainer Lucien Laurin. "He certainly raises the
standards," she says. "We both read the same script, but I didn't see
the humor or the pain in his character. I didn't see the vulnerability
behind the bravado. I can see why there was a movie made about being in
This penchant for learning from others may stretch all the way back
to Lane's first film, A Little Romance (1979), made when she was just
13. Her co-star was the legendary Laurence Olivier, who hailed Lane as
"the next Grace Kelly."
"He was so gracious," Lane says. "I had seen all his work, the stuff
that was filmed anyway. I was one of those geeky kids that actually
liked Othello. He knew that he had to be present and make us feel
safe. That's why he said, 'Call me Larry.' If a 13-year-old could
chortle, I did."
But of course Lane deserves some credit, too. Secretariat director
Randall Wallace (the writer of Braveheart) says, "what really
impresses me about Diane is, who she is in public and who she is in
private are the same person, and the audience can feel that truth."
September 24, 2010