Combustible Celluloid

Interview: Diane Lane

Lane Reactions

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

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 his head!"

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

Diane Lane Movies on DVD and Blu-Ray
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Partial Diane Lane Filmography:
A Little Romance (1979)
Touched by Love (1980)
Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1981)
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982)
Miss All-American Beauty (1982) (TV)
Six Pack (1982)
National Lampoon's Movie Madness (1982)
Rumble Fish (1983)
The Outsiders (1983)
The Cotton Club (1984)
Streets of Fire (1984)
The Big Town (1987)
Lady Beware (1987)
Priceless Beauty (1988)
Lonesome Dove (1989, TV)
Vital Signs (1990)
Chaplin (1992)
The Setting Sun (1992)
My New Gun (1992)
Knight Moves (1992)
Indian Summer (1993)
Wild Bill (1995)
Judge Dredd (1995)
Mad Dog Time (1996)
Jack (1996)
Murder at 1600 (1997)
The Only Thrill (1997)
Gunshy (1998)
A Walk on the Moon (1999)
The Perfect Storm (2000)
My Dog Skip (2000)
The Glass House (2001)
Hardball (2001)
Unfaithful (2002)
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Must Love Dogs (2005)
Fierce People (2005)
Hollywoodland (2006)
Killshot (2008)
Nights in Rodanthe (2008)
Jumper (2008)
Untraceable (2008)
Secretariat (2010)

Movies Unlimtied