Five Minutes With: Diane Lane

By Michele Manelis


For all Francophiles, Paris Can Wait is a voyeuristic pleasure not to be missed. Diane Lane stars as Eleanor Coppola (the wife of director/producer Francis Ford Coppola), inspired by a real life road trip she took between Cannes and Paris. Directed and written by Coppola herself, now 81, the audience vicariously lives through her journey of sumptuous food, wine and scenery.

Lane, 52 was born and raised in New York City. She made her first appearance onscreen in 1979 in A Little Romance. Soon after she was hailed on the cover of Time magazine as ‘the new Grace Kelly.’ She has since appeared in many notable films, including the 2002 film, Unfaithful, which earned her an Academy award nomination for Best Actress.

She has also starred in A Walk on the Moon, The Perfect Storm, Under the Tuscan Sun, and Trumbo. She played Martha Kent in Man of Steel, and Batman v Superman, and will reprise her role in the upcoming Justice League film.

Currently single, she’s been married twice, the first of which was to Christopher Lambert, whom she met on the set of The Cotton Club. After an on-again, off-again relationship, they eventually married in 1988, had a daughter, Eleanor, in 1993, and divorced in 1994. She then became engaged to actor Josh Brolin in 2003, married in 2004, and divorced in 2013. 

This is a great movie to sit back and take in the scenery. How adventurous are you in real life?

I would not say that I’m known for being adventurous, probably not so much. I wouldn’t give myself a big high grade on adventurousness.

When you’re traveling, do you like to explore on your own or do you prefer being with locals who know the area?

No, I like to drive by myself, away, from everything (laughs). I’m teasing. I’m trying to think about your question. You have to understand I’m in a kind of unique situation because I was so young when I got go to Italy, Germany, France, Scotland, Finland, Lebanon, Iran, Holland, all these places when I was 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 years old. Growing up in New York City and going to public school, my parents weren’t going with me to those countries. I’ve been to Venice, I’d been to Paris, a couple of times by the time I did “The Little Romance,” and everybody was saying, ‘You must so excited to be in Paris!’ And I didn’t want to say, ‘Oh, it’s my sixth time in Paris,’ because it sounds like a brag, right? Sounds like you’re not grateful to be there which was not true at all.

How much of a Francophile are you?

French was the first language that I loved to try to speak when I was seven years old. So, I speak French a bit, my daughter she speaks French. My first boyfriend was Parisian, in the cinema. So it’s kind of natural for me to never go too far away from Paris, I think. And Europe in general, I was always, strangely, coming back to being the American abroad, even as a little person.

In the movie your character seems like someone who needs to smell the roses a little bit. What things do you focus on too much in your life?

Well my phone. Just putting it on airplane mode feels like a vacation. All the bells and sounds and the scheduling and calendar entries. And somebody says, ‘Hey let’s get together and do something,’and I’m like, ‘Just a minute, I have to check my master.’ I’m a slave to whatever I’ve put in my calendar and that’s become normalised. And I am fortunate enough to remember a time before these inventions and I feel very grateful that I got to be alive at a time before we were living such automated existences. So to surrender that in trading for some spontaneity, losing a little bit of control over every single moment of the day, that’s kind of what a road trip symbolises for people. Just eliminate that structured existence.

You’re not good at smelling the roses?

I think I’m very good at that. Maybe better than being adventurous with food. If I’m walking my dog I will stop and smell my neighborhood flowers. I look in the window hoping they don’t think I’m invading their property. But I think if you put roses on the edge of the corner you should be able to lean in and smell them. So I take advantage of that. I mean, literally I do. Metaphorically, I think with time and age and experience, the pendulum swings. You go so far with this idea of pursuing your goals, pursuing your goals, pursuing your goals and then suddenly they don’t mean quite as much. And then you sort of swing back and you go, ‘It really is the journey, it’s not the destination.’

How important is fashion in your life? 

Well, I think there’s on duty and off duty. (laughs) That’s how I feel. I’m guilty of that but at the same time, in my profession it’s like that. It’s kind of role-play. So being in character or being myself and what is the difference? In terms of the mood, I certainly have plenty of choices if I want to play dress up in my closet. But usually I opt for something I can really just disappear into a crowd with. That’s the way I roll.

How do you take care of yourself? You seemed to have stopped the aging process. 

Oh now you said it, I’m going to fall like a soufflé. (laughs) I really give the credit to my mother and things that are out of my control because I think a lot of it has to do with genetics for sure. So it’s kind of cheating. But at the same time, I eat healthy. Whatever my vices are I do them in real strict moderation. And I think part of it is enjoying life. I learned from this film that being an acetic, which is a real interesting word because a lot of people have misquoted me calling what I said as aesthetic. And I’m like, do you not hear the word acetic? It is not aesthetic. I believe that life shows and joy shows. And I could not have done this movie in 2013. I was just not happy enough. My mother was dying, I was going through a divorce. It was a tough time. And I’m glad that I got to play all these other roles which were dark or had tears or was full of drama and angst so that I could fully appreciate this experience, selfishly. And bring some joy and appreciation to the part too, not just be holding on like a rope and being carried through it. It was an honour to be present for Eleanor’s helms woman-ship. I really enjoyed her, vicariously. It was a thrill for me. There was a lot to be happy about on this. Just the lunches alone. We would joke that we came for the food, the crew, we would all make jokes. (laughs) Because they do that in France, they take it very seriously. It’s not like a bento box and that’s all you get, no.

Eleanor didn’t seem to realise that her driver was flirting with her. Are you aware when someone is flirting with you? 

I’ve been married so many decades of my life that I think I skipped that class. (laughs) Really, my twenties here, my thirties there, so I just don’t know. I’m blissfully ignorant of that, the art of dating. Isn’t flirting part of dating? Because it implies you’re not already a couple. So does dating right? Dating is permission to flirt. I’ve not been aware of it sometimes. I’ve had people tell me I missed it. Maybe I need to get better at that.


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