Gal­lop­ing ahead

For­mer child star Diane Lane grew into her abil­i­ties.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - by MIcHAEL PHILLIPS

DIANE Lane loves a good metaphor as much as she en­joys a fine sim­ile. The star of the new Dis­ney film Sec­re­tar­iat – she plays the horse’s owner, Penny Chen­ery, who bat­tles old-boy sex­ism in pur­suit of Triple Crown great­ness – sprin­kles them in con­ver­sa­tion (or its sub­cat­e­gory, “con­ver­sa­tion in the guise of pro­mot­ing a new movie”) like, well, like metaphors and sim­i­les.

Does she rely on di­rec­tors to keep her on track? In­deed. “I wish I were some, some, stal­wart kind of ... steel girder that ev­ery­body could rely on,” she says.

“But, frankly, I’m much more liq­uid. Or mal­leable. And some­times it takes a while to get the wind in my sails.”

Diane Lane stars op­po­site John Malkovich in

What­ever her self-crit­i­cism and mental gym­nas­tics on set, or after­ward, it’s work­ing. Lane has be­come one of Amer­ica’s most re­li­able and ap­peal­ing screen ac­tors. Not movie star, ex­actly.

More like plain old movie star, with­out the “plain”. She is 45 and has not done any cos­metic dam­age to her face. This puts her in an en­vi­able Hollywood mi­nor­ity and, shal­low as it sounds, may well be a key to her lik­a­bil­ity fac­tor among both women and men.

By age six she was tour­ing in Medea over­seas. “I had no front teeth in my first pass­port pic­ture,” she says. She turned down a Broad­way trans­fer of Ru­n­aways at age 13 to do A Lit­tle Ro­mance on­screen.

She worked hard and dealt with suc­cesses and a tricky num­ber of flops and now, mar­ried to ac­tor Josh Brolin, she rides a ca­reer that oc­ca­sion­ally in­ter­sects with a big global hit ( The Per­fect Storm).

When Sec­re­tar­iat was run­ning in 1973, Lane was eight, tour­ing in Fin­land, the Mid­dle East and other places with the of­fBroad­way ex­per­i­men­tal the­atre troupe La MaMa.

“I ran away with the cir­cus. But my dad let me,” she says, re­fer­ring to her fa­ther, the late Burt Lane, an act­ing coach who man­aged his daugh­ter’s ca­reer as it was tak­ing off. (He and Lane’s mother, singer and Play­boy cen­ter­fold Colleen Far­ring­ton, split when she was less than a month old.)

Lane re­mem­bers Sec­re­tar­iat’s win well. “I re­mem­ber all of us were so grate­ful to get our hands on an Amer­i­can mag­a­zine. There he was, on the cover of Time and Newsweek!

“I was still a lit­tle girl, at least in my head, and in love with horses. And I took it per­son­ally that he won. He was my ul­ti­mate rock star. I knew that horses were bet­ter than peo­ple any­way, so it was like: Fi­nally! The world is wak­ing up.”

Lane made the cover of Time mag­a­zine six years af­ter Sec­re­tar­iat. She’d just made A Lit­tle Ro­mance. She was one of a group of young ac­tors on the way up (“A bou­quet of fresh faces to light up the screen,” Time’s head­line read). The at­ten­tion was in­tense, the ex­pec­ta­tions great.

Her early films in­cluded a num­ber of high-pro­file dis­ap­point­ments, in­clud­ing Wal­ter Hill’s Streets Of Fire and Francis Ford Cop­pola’s The Cot­ton Club.

Watch­ing Lane in The Cot­ton Club, as a world­weary teenage torch singer play­ing op­po­site Richard Gere’s cal­low cor­net player, you see a para­dox in ac­tion.

Not yet 20, Lane is al­ready a sea­soned per­former. Yet, in­side the suf­fo­cat­ing ar­ti­fice of Cop­pola’s pe­riod film, she strug­gles to re­lax, find her­self or some­one half­way be­tween her­self and her char­ac­ter.

Then, some­time around A Penny (Lane) with her Walk On The Moon, her tech-beloved stal­lion. nique fi­nally caught up with her emo­tional re­sources. And, sud­denly, she eased into be­ing the ac­tress she’d been work­ing to­ward all along.

Says her Sec­re­tar­iat co-star John Malkovich, who plays the horse’s trainer: “She’s very well pre­pared and thinks about what she’s do­ing. A lot. And she wants it to be good. To a great ex­tent, film act­ing is lis­ten and re­spond. Diane’s a very, very good lis­tener.”

Lane’s fa­ther’s best ad­vice? “Be a team player. ... I don’t know what it is, ex­actly, but there’s a neg­a­tive drag on film sets af­ter the sec­ond week or so, a muti­nous vibe be­cause the in­fi­nite ca­pac­i­ties of the di­rec­tors and ev­ery­body else be­come quite fi­nite and ev­ery­body’s un­der the gun and it be­comes work.

“And that’s when it’s my job, and ev­ery­body’s job, to pitch in and be a force for good. As a young per­son, it’s hard to re­alise your weight mat­ters.

And the in­se­cu­rity and the nar­cis­sism that goes with it re­ally is a big fat waste of ev­ery­body’s time.”

Lane re­ceived a best-ac­tress Os­car nom­i­na­tion for Un­faith­ful, to which she brought tor­rents of feel­ing in the role of an adul­ter­ous wife. The shoot, un­der di­rec­tor Adrian Lyne’s fa­mously de­mand­ing con­trol, was not easy, she says.

“I re­mem­ber call­ing up my dad and com­plain­ing to him about Take 55 or what have you, and he said: ‘ Diane, did it ever oc­cur to you that he might be try­ing to get you nom­i­nated?’ And I thought: Are you re­ally my fa­ther? I think I called the wrong num­ber for sym­pa­thy! And then he passed away be­fore the nom­i­na­tions came out.

“He never got to know that he was right.” — Chicago Tribune/ McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices n Sec­re­tar­iat opens in Malaysian cine­mas in Jan­uary next year.

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