Diane Lane
Photo by Jan Welters © Trunk Archive

Diane Lane: “I try not to draw attention to myself”

Short Profile

Name: Diane Colleen Lane
DOB: 22 January 1965
Place of birth: New York City, New York, United States
Occupation: Actor

Ms. Lane, would you ever consider leaving the United States and living somewhere else?

I think it’s hard to leave what you grew up knowing and identifying with. Honestly, I think it would be harder to leave it now when I feel like every person needs to do what they can to support the health of our country. It’s easy to run away when somebody is weak and sick and failing. It’s like, “It’s been great and thanks for all the good times.” This country needs every person to care and show up and vote and petition and express their vision for rather than letting it get taken over by the loudest voices. It’s an interesting time of history, so I feel like I have to stay, even though I sometimes feel like a hostage. But I speak French and I love Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland… The scale of Europe is so interesting. It’s definitely humbling to travel.

Humbling in what ways?

Well, I like to go on trips that are off the beaten path, that are not these five-star experiences, so that you get a sense of the non-touristic side. I went down to Somaliland recently, which is in Eastern Africa, and I became aware of this woman who leads a hospital. The trip was tied in with a documentary I took part in, where the journalist Nicholas Kristof and his wife travelled to see the experiences that women face globally, starting in China. It is amazing how women are the backbone of most cultures.

“I think if you live to a certain age, a midlife crisis should happen to you!”

That is a fact that is overlooked too often, even in America.

Right, they don’t have a voice and are often treated like they’re disposable. They are underrepresented in terms of their perspective and concerns. I think that needs to change. I think there is a lot to learn from what women have to teach. It would be good for the planet to think from that point of view rather than the more traditional patriarchal thing. I find it refreshing, as challenging as these times are. There is so much to listen and learn from all the voices that were silenced over so many years. So it’s really an honor to be able to experience that; people trusting and taking you in to see their day-to-day life. It’s nice to have those experiences where I can be a civilian, you know?

It must be a relief to go outside without being photographed.

It’s a very healthy place to be. There have been precipices of levels of fame that I walked away from. I am very grateful for that. I didn’t want to not be able to conduct my life in an as normal way as possible. I live my life in a way that I am allowed a modicum of privacy. I have to make some sacrifices, for sure.

Like what?

Well, part of that is… I remember reading an interview with Marylin Monroe. She was describing a moment where she was walking down the street and being invisible in the crowd as Norma Jean. And then she said: “Do you want to see Marylin?” And she became Marylin Monroe! She walked down the same street and everybody noticed her. There is something to that, there is an energy that you put out. It may be as simple as body language… But I try to not draw attention to myself.

Have you always been that way?

I prefer the anonymous life. I think life is finite and we’ve identified ourselves in a certain way. But who knows? You cannot rehearse times of life that you are not in yet. You think you can, but you can’t. It’s like people who are very conservative in their early years and later they wind up having delayed teenage years. Many books have been written on this: when you’re not fully expressing yourself, you are cheating not only yourself but the world around you from an actualized self.

Viggo Mortensen said that the fear of failing shouldn’t be a reason not try something new.

Exactly, I think it’s so good to try new things and open the window and let some fresh air in and try to eliminate any regrets. Hopefully those new things will manifest healthily and productively. A midlife crisis, for example, is a way of marking some real important phenomenon; it is not necessarily a bad thing. I think if you live to a certain age, a midlife crisis should happen to you!

Has it happened to you?

I guess I am still waiting. I am trying to see the manifestation of what that looks like… I managed to do a few things, little acts of rebellion that were hopefully non harmful. Like, I cut my hair off one night — that was fun. It didn’t take very long to grow back. It was really fun to do it and to do it myself.

“It’s been nice to become more aware of my own energy and then try to be more receptive, like dialing the tuner on a radio.”

Was that a reaction to being in the film industry for so long?

I think so, I mean, for years I had people owning my face, my hair, that’s what I do for a living, people constantly correcting how I look, telling me I don’t look enough like someone in the movie that I play. And I said, “You know what? This is my hair attached to my head! I know how to cut hair and I am going to do it myself!”

Were you nervous?

Sure, but the trick is to not be surprised. I ended up owning myself and it felt really good and healthy. It was not like Britney Spears having a breakdown. People cling to an identity and that will be challenged. If you don’t welcome the challenge, it can be an interesting show for other people to watch. But it’s been nice to become more aware of my own energy and then try to be more receptive, you know, like dialing the tuner on a radio, when you had to turn the knobs to find a clear signal. That’s how it feels.