“You know, it’s a good time to be a woman of a certain age,” says Diane Lane. “Women are given the opportunity to tell stories that go beyond genius. It’s great. I think we’re back on the big screen.”
Lane undoubtedly is. At 55, right now, she’s getting something of a moment. In her life, she’s had a couple of those. None other than Laurence Olivier announced she was the “new Grace Kelly” when she was 13, after he starred in the movie A Little Romance opposite her. “At 14, under the banner “Hollywood’s Whiz Kids,” she appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1979. She worked on The Outsiders, Rumble Fish and The Cotton Club with Francis Ford Coppola in the early 1980s. She was also nominated for an Oscar some 20 years later, in 2002, for her role in the film Unfaithful.
There have also been no-moments, it’s true. Times when her career dropped off and sputtered. She also retired from acting for a while at 19 after the failure of “The Cotton Club,”
Yet she’s again on the rise now.
“Man of Steel,”Man of Steel,”House of Cards”House of Cards (the post-Kevin Spacey series).
The most recent version of this revival is the new movie Let Him Go, in which she plays Kevin Costner’s “married” (as in Man of Steel) to a modern-day Western heroine and mourning for her missing son. Oscar whispers surrounding her representation were already there.
Let Him Go is a slow-burning revenge thriller based on a novel by Larry Watson, which is also an essay on motherhood, grief and the rugged beauty of the American landscape. It’s home to Lesley Manville’s fiery success and a steely one by Lane.
As such, it is a reminder that, only because they are women, successful actors don’t forget how to do the job after they reach the age of 30. Finally, Hollywood may have caught on.
Lane remembers, “What was it that Jane Fonda said? ‘Women get a season, the spring.'” She knows what she’s talking about, of course, because she’s had them all. She lives them fiercely and places wonderful footprints in the sand to follow with hope for the rest of us all.
“I guess it was the era of black and white film when we had heroines who were strong female characters who weren’t always in ‘spring,'” she says.
“But thank you for the job. Humbling is it. You’re grateful every day, especially now with a global pandemic. Science fiction used to sound like it, now it’s science. It’s science, but it’s treated like fiction by people. So you won’t be able to win.
That’s a standard response from Lane, a hodgepodge of ideas that spill over and often smash into each other. In October, we’re talking. Trump is still in the White House, and the pandemic has not yet started to be battled by the United States.
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It’s a Saturday afternoon. Morning in Toronto, where Lane is today. On Monday morning, she begins filming a new television series, Y: The Last Man, based on a graphic novel that posits a post-Android world in which (almost) all men are wiped out by a mysterious plague. And, of course, it’s being filmed during another, which will bring its own challenges. As Lane says, it will be “fascinating to try to navigate a pandemic with all these protocols.”
Even on the speakerphone, Lane is good company. Easygoing, bitingly funny, amused by the world around her. In our short time together, she raves about Scotland: “I’ve seen some castles. I went to the Isle of Skye and I love the cities. I have a fine Scottish friend, Gayle Rankin, who is a marvelous actress. So, I love me some Scots.” – And what it was like to witness this year’s wildfires in California. “On a primitive level, you’re scared. The horses know that they must fly. Fresh air I don’t take for granted.
And when I mention the Oscar talk surrounding Let Him Go, she self-deprecatingly remarks, “Every year that Meryl Streep doesn’t compete …”
I tell that helps.
“It’s not up to me how it’s received,” she continues. “I learned a long time ago not to take it personally. There are a lot of great quotes about it, especially from the theater. ‘Of course I never read my reviews, but damn the Times,'” she says.
“I’m not going to kid you. If this film got the recognition that it did