Share via Email If you've ever wondered whether movie stars enjoy shooting sex scenes, think of Diane Lane, star of Unfaithful, whose wild clandestine romps with co-star Olivier Martinez take place in a bed, on a landing and up against the loo wall in a New York cafe. Oh my God, yes,' she says, nodding seriously. Weeks and Fatal Attraction. His on-set technique, however, involves cheering the stars along like a coach from the sidelines.
His other trick was to shoot a whole magazine of film, so one take was as long as five takes. By the end, you're physically and emotionally shattered' She sips her water and picks lint off her crimson tonic jacket. I haven't worked since.
It's the kind of drive-through interview that tends to give an actress the distant cordiality of a flight stewardess, smiling but with the defences firmly in place. She's warm and frank and happy to talk sex scenes from the off. After all, there was a time when she was so set for success that failure seemed inevitable. Her first film, A Little Romance, propelled her to the cover of Time at the age of She was worth millions by the age of 18 and had the world at her feet, but instead of soaring to Jolie or Paltrow heights, or indeed careening into a muddle of drug abuse and therapy, Lane spent the 90s as a 'working actress', a hidden diamond in a string of also-rans and occasionally excellent indies.
After years below the celebrity radar, she has lately emerged as a seasoned talent in need of a worthy script. Her turn as the evil-junkie stepmom in The Glass House was suitably debauched, and she was every inch Mark Wahlberg's brave and sobbing widow in The Perfect Storm, her 41st credit. Yet all of this pales into the past now that Unfaithful is out.
It may well return her to the fame she has successfully ducked for so long. Lyne is used to hits, and infidelity is his major theme - he followed Fatal Attraction with Indecent Proposal - so Unfaithful should be a decent bet at the box office. Lane herself married a Frenchman - the actor Christopher Lambert, with whom she had Eleanor, now eight - but she denies this made the scenes any easier. Cue murder, guilt, cops, tears and a wrenching moral aftermath that ends, radically, in ambiguity - the good kind, the kind that makes you wonder what will or should happen next.
The final frame was fought over to the last. Initially, 20th Century Fox was uncomfortable with the enigmatic ending since it left crimes unpunished - a no-no in Hollywood. So the studio imposed a diktat, a particularly jarring 'Hollywood' final line.
And they were pointing at each other. Unfaithful's strength is its acute observation of what Lyne calls 'the body language of betrayal'. The parts are so nuanced and the script so lean that what might have been a standard morality tale becomes instead a complex, sympathetic portrayal of all three players - the cheat, the cheated on and the catalyst.
You feel for Gere and almost forgive his crime, Martinez is disarming and unpredatory, but most improbably, your heart goes out to Lane. Since her guilt is so transparent, a tribute to her performance, she remains ultimately moral. Lane has created, not for the first time, that most un-Hollywood of characters: Though she would never excuse her character's affair, Lane explains the impulse to cheat as a need for excitement.
Best, I think, to know that part of yourself. Because it will surface. Her stage career began at six, as a full member of La Mama, a globe-trotting avant-garde theatre company. As Matt Dillon's girlfriend Patty in Coppola's cult classic Rumble Fish, she had conquered the teenage-siren role and was casting around for a lead to catapult her into the firmament once and for all.
But she turned down Splash, which was a hit for Daryl Hannah, and opted instead for Streets of Fire and Coppola's next film, The Cotton Club, which both turned out to be high-profile flops. Lane still doesn't understand, particularly in the latter's case. The Cotton Club, in , was the last time she acted alongside Richard Gere , who was twice her age she was Is it a culling process?
And on her return to the business, she picked parts with mixed success - 'lessons were learnt, agents were fired' - but she has worked steadily for 15 years and emerged a model of confidence, self-respect and sanity. Which does for the remaining theories about child stars. That's my bumper sticker about the whole thing. In fact, she's so refreshingly comfortable in her skin that when asked what she would change about her looks if she could, she doesn't umm and ahh about 'my nose' or anything so cosmetic.
She is also defiantly anti-fabulous, at best bemused by the celebrity circus of which she was once a part. As almost an affront to the mythmakers of Hollywood, for example, she deliberately missed the Oscars this year. I didn't feel like "putting it on", so I wore my house slippers and went to my girlfriend's house. You know, I've done very well without celebrity for a very long time and I think I'm a different animal for it. She dated Jon Bon Jovi and Matt Dillon during the 80s, and was married to Lambert until - a man that she has described as 'the complete opposite of someone who could give me what I needed'.
But since then she has remained resolutely single. It's far too complex with a child,' she says. Besides, relationships don't fit in with your life.
You're consumed by them and your priorities change. It is no different for Lane, who is obsessed that her daughter not be railroaded into showbusiness and premature stardom as she was.