27 May 2019

Diane Lane

American actress Diane Lane (1965) started her film career opposite Laurence Olivier at age 13. She appeared in Francis Coppola's cult classics Rumble Fish (1983) and The Outsiders (1983) and the gangster epic The Cotton Club (1984). She had her breakthrough with The Perfect Storm (2000) and Unfaithful (2002) opposite Richard Gere and since then appeared in several blockbusters including Man of Steel (2013).

Diane Lane
French postcard by Edition Erving, Paris, no. 719.

The new young acting sensation

Diane Lane was born in 1965, in New York. She is the daughter of acting coach Burton Eugene 'Burt' Lane and nightclub singer/centrefold Colleen Farrington. Her parents' families were both from the state of Georgia.

Diane was acting from a very young age and made her stage debut at the age of six. Her work in such acclaimed theatre productions as 'The Cherry Orchard' and 'Medea' led to her being called to Hollywood.

She was 13 when she was cast by director George Roy Hill in his wonderful film A Little Romance (1979), opposite Sir Laurence Olivier. The film only did so-so commercially, but Olivier praised his young co-star, calling her "the new Grace Kelly".

After her well-received debut, Diane found herself on magazine covers all over the world, including Time, which declared her the "new young acting sensation". However, things quietened down a bit when she found herself in such critical and financial flops as Touched by Love (Gus Trikonis, 1980), Cattle Annie and Little Britches (Lamont Johnson, 1981), Movie Madness (Bob Giraldi, Henry Jaglom, 1982), and, most unmemorably, Six Pack (Daniel Petrie, 1982), starring Kenny Rogers. All failed to set her career on fire.

She also made several TV movies during this period, but it was in 1983 that she finally began to fulfil the promise of stardom that had earlier been predicted for her. Francis (Ford) Coppola took note of Diane's appeal and cast her in two youth-oriented films based on S.E. Hinton novels: Rumble Fish (1983) and The Outsiders (1983), which have become cult classics.

The industry was now taking notice of Diane Lane, and she soon secured lead roles in three big-budget studio epics. She turned down the first, Splash (Ron Howard, 1984) which was a surprise hit for Daryl Hannah. Unfortunately, the other two were critical and box-office bombs: Walter Hill's glossy rock 'n' roll fable Streets of Fire (1984) was not the huge summer success that many had thought it would be, and the troubled Coppola epic The Cotton Club (Francis Coppola, 1984) co-starring Richard Gere was also a high-profile flop.

Unhappy with the direction her career was taking, she 'retired' from the film business at age 19, saying that she had forgotten what she had started acting for. She stayed away from the screen for the next three years. Ironically, the two films that were the main causes of her 'retirement' have since grown in popularity, and Streets of Fire especially seems to have found the kind of audience it couldn't get when it was first released.

Diane Lane
French postcard by Edition Erving, Paris, no. 755.

New, sexy on-screen image

After her interval, Diane Lane started to rebuild her career slowly. First came the obscure, sexy thriller Lady Beware (Karen Arthur, 1987), followed by the critically acclaimed but little seen The Big Town (Ben Bolt, 1987) with Matt Dillon and Tommy Lee Jones. In the former, Lane plays a very mysterious and sexy stripper and her memorable strip sequence is a highlight of the film.

Despite her new, sexy on-screen image, it wasn't until the TV mini-series Lonesome Dove (Simon Wincer, 1989) with Robert Duvall, that Diane made another big impression on a sizable audience. Her performance in the smash hit Western epic as a vulnerable 'whore with a heart' won her an Emmy nomination.

Film producers were interested in her again. Another well-received TV production, Descending Angel (Jeremy Kagan, 1990) with George C. Scott, was followed by smaller roles in major films like Richard Attenborough's Chaplin (1992) and Mike Binder's Indian Summer (1993), and larger parts in small independent films like Knight Moves (Carl Schenkel, 1992), which co-starred her then-husband, Christophe Lambert.

Lane was now re-established in Hollywood and started to appear in higher-profile co-starring roles in some big-budget, major films like Walter Hill's Wild Bill (1995), the Sylvester Stallone actioner Judge Dredd (Danny Cannon, 1995), the Robin Williams comedy Jack (Francis Coppola, 1996) and Murder at 1600 (Dwight H. Little, 1997) co-starring Wesley Snipes.

However, these films still did not quite make Diane a 'big-name star' and, by 1997, she was back in smaller, personal projects. Her next role as a frustrated 1960s housewife in the independent hit A Walk on the Moon (Tony Goldwyn, 1999) deservedly won her rave notices and gave her career the big lift it needed. The cute but tear-jerking comedy My Dog Skip (Jay Russell, 2000) also proved to be a small-scale success.

Diane Lane
French postcard by Edition Erving, Paris, no. 718.

Finally a household name

Diane Lane finally became a household name with the £330-million worldwide grossing blockbuster hit The Perfect Storm (Wolfgang Petersen, 2000) with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

She was now more in demand than ever. She played Leelee Sobieski's sinister junkie guardian in the slick thriller The Glass House (Daniel Sackheim, 2001), and co-starred with Keanu Reeves in the #1 smash hit Hard Ball (Brian Robbins, 2001).

A highlight was her lead role in the critical and commercial hit Unfaithful (Adrian Lyne, 2002), in which she superbly portrayed Richard Gere's adulterous wife. Her performance won many awards and nominations including Best Actress Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Her follow-up films included Must Love Dogs (Gary David Goldberg, 2005), Hollywoodland (Allen Coulter, 2006), Secretariat (Randall Wallace, 2010), and the blockbuster Man of Steel (Zack Snyder, 2013), starring Henry Cavill.

She won further Best Actress Golden Globe nominations for her roles in Under the Tuscan Sun (Audrey Wells, 2003), and Cinema Verite (Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini, 2011).

Recent pictures include Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Zack Snyder, 2016), Justice League (Zack Snyder, 2017), and Tully (Jason Reitman, 2018) with Charlize Theron.

Daryl Moulton at IMDb: "She is very well regarded within the industry, adored by film fans, and has a credibility and quality that is all too rare today. Her immense talent at playing human and real characters, her 'drop dead gorgeous' beauty and down-to-earth grittiness guarantees that she will stay on top, and she guarantee has already shown the kind of resilience that will keep her working for a long, long time."

Diane Lane was married to Christophe Lambert from 1988 to 1994. They have one child, a daughter, Eleanor Lambert. Her second marriage to Josh Brolin in 2004 ended in a divorce in 2013.

Christophe Lambert and Diane Lane in Love Dream (1988)
Picture of Italian calendar 'Forto grammi di set'. Photo: Gianni Caramanico. Publicity still for Love Dream (Charles Finch, 1988) with Christophe Lambert.

Sources: Daryl Moulton (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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