Diane Lane is truly a rare breed. Born in the Big Apple, she was destined for Best- In-Show stardom, captivating audiences twenty-five years strong with her ability to portray remarkable characters. Her father was acting coach Burt Lane and her mother was singer/centerfold Colleen Farrington. The genetic mix has been kind to Lane, leaving her with explosive talent and breath-taking beauty. She sunk her teeth into acting at the young age of six and appeared in famed theater productions; The Cherry Orchard and Medea. At thirteen, Lane got her big break acting opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in A Little Romance. After her acclaimed debut, Lane found herself splashed across magazine covers everywhere, including Time magazine. She has built a solid career with movies such as The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club, A Perfect Storm and Under the Tuscan Sun. Her extraordinary performance in Unfaithful, as Richard Gere’s cheating wife, won the hearts of critics and fans alike and earned her an Academy Award nomination. Lane has one movie in the theaters this year and two features will be released next year. The romantic comedy Must Love Dogs, opposite John Cusack and Dermot Mulroney was released in July 2005. Next year, Truth, Justice and the American Way, a detective story surrounding the death of George Reeves (1950’s Superman) and Fierce People, a drama set around a massage therapist who looks to leave New York City and join an anthropologist in South America, played by Donald Sutherland, also the father of Lane’s son in the movie. Today, Diane Lane is balancing the roles of actor, mother and wife, to husband Josh Brolin.
Animal Fair had the honor of yapping it up with Lane about her career, true love and the animals in her life.
AF: You have the most adorable puppy! What is his name?
DL: We just got him! His name is Milo and he is fivemonths-old. He’s already changed so much, because they grow so fast. He’s half Shih Tzu- half Chihuahua. My step-daughter named him. You know how it is. The first few days you bring a dog home, you go through like twenty names. Milo stuck. It’s adorable. The fun part is always naming the baby. Milo is great. He is a people dog. It’s wonderful to have a dog that can just be on the sofa on your lap. I love being able to pick him up like a baby, when I’m on the phone or on the computer.
AF: Have you always been an animal lover?
DL: I’ve always been a cat person. I grew up with cats. We have a cat too, named Tiger Lily.
AF: What are Milo’s personality traits?
DL: Milo has human traits. He’s teething. It’s hard to believe he’s a puppy, because he’s so sweet and obedient. My husband (Josh Brolin) is very good with dogs and he’s teaching us how to train Milo.
AF: If Josh was a dog, what type of breed would he be?
DL: What a good question. I don’t know. That’s challenging! Probably some type of Border Collie. He’s protective and very smart.
AF: Milo seems spoiled, do you give him lots of treats?
DL: Oh no, I’m very strict when it comes to that. It’s in their DNA to survive on our scraps. That’s fine, but I never, ever, ever feed at the table. Because then they beg and then no means maybe. And we chase him away from the cat food, which is almost impossible. He’ll eat the cat food in six seconds flat. He likes it because it’s forbidden! But you know, our cat, Tiger Lily, is very bizarre. She’ll jump over furniture to get to a raw green bean. If you bite into an apple in one room, she’ll hear you and come running from the other room. She is sitting there begging and meowing and pawing for apples and strawberries and mangos. She’s a fruitarian! Milo, the dog, has been watching her. He’s thinking that there is something cool going on here with all these fruits and vegetables. So now he craves apples. If you bite into an apple, he’ll come running over too, like is there some for me?
AF: Does Tiger Lily get jealous now that Milo has become part of the family?
DL: The cat comes first. She was here first. We had to get a dog that was going to allow her to be the Alpha pet in the house. She sleeps with the kids. She only sleeps with me when the kids aren’t home. It’s funny because she’s very begrudging and very feline and very loving in her way. Once you get to know her, you can interpret her. I’ve had her for five years. Milo and Tiger Lily get along, absolutely. He’s so excited to play with her. He jumps and yips and barks at her. She loves being chased by him! She’ll turn around and stop. And then Milo will stop and bark. It’s a whole dance they do. She loves the attention.
AF: You have seem to have such a special relationship with your pets? Do you believe they are soul mates?
DL: Post raising children, when you take a pet into your life, you realize they are kids who will never grow over a certain age. There is some comfort in that. They are always going to look up to you, they are always going to need you to baby them in a certain way and look out for them in a way they can’t look out for themselves. Sometimes there is some tough love involved, but they are your responsibility. There is something very rewarding in being accountable for a little creature. You feel you are doing a good deed to look after all God’s little creatures. That brings out a sense of goodness in people and makes them feel good about themselves. I also think pets can feel how we feel. They reflect us totally. I can see myself in my cat, which is so bizarre!
AF: What appealed to you about your character, Sarah, in Must Love Dogs?
DL: It’s a story about people looking for people. I love that. It’s the correlation of how we use dogs as a bridge to people. There is a metaphor there also. I didn’t realize it, but I think the joke in there is: all men are dogs! (She cracks up). There is a double-ontondra in the title!
AF: Your character, Sarah, goes through some hilarious and disastrous dates. Did you pull from your own personal experiences?
DL: Yes, when I was really young and got set up. Mandatory pairing that your grandmother or your aunt would set up for you. That was really cute when you were sixteen years old, to go out with this guy that you’d never seen before. You are just rolling your eyes and getting through it, because you have nothing in common. I’ve had my share of those kinds of dates, enough to realize that things need to be as organic as possible. It’s very hard to accomplish that in a hectic, modern lifestyle … especially if you are a shy person. So, these dating services that exist online now are miraculous!
AF: How would you describe yourself if you had to do your personal online ad?
DL: Oh my gosh. I have no idea. I could fill Josh’s out and he could fill mine out.
AF: Okay, what would Josh’s personal ad say?
DL: (laughs) Must Love Kids. He adores children. In the movie, my sister shoves me online and does my ad for me. Which is mortifying enough. But, it takes a level of self-awareness that most people don’t have about themselves to say … I fit into this category. Like my character, I would need somebody else to do it for me, because I wouldn’t be comfortable with it.
AF: You both have busy careers, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
DL: Well, it’s interesting, but Josh and I like working on the house! We like creating the yard into a more habitable place. I have to say, Milo has really encouraged us to pursue our yard more. Before we used to have a “patch of grass” as I used to call it. Now we’ve put in trees, and we are going to put in a little fountain and we have a cute area where we are going to put a table and chairs. We are a family now. We like to invite people over, spend time with our kids and do the cookout thing. We are also going to Italy next month. I finally get my reward. I get my man and my country at the same time! It’s wonderful because I missed Josh so much when I was over there making Under The Tuscan Sun. And now, we can be together.
AF: We have yet to see you and Josh work together, is this down the line?
DL: I would never veto it. It’s entirely up to the comfort level of all parties involved. I thought Kevin Bacon and his wife were great in Murder In The First. That was a really neat use of husband and wife. So, yeah, I would never rule it out. It just depends on the project.
AF: Working in this industry can definitely take a toll on relationships. Do you try not to go too long without seeing each other?
DL: Absolutely. Otherwise, it just gets weird. Even when I was in Toronto on this last movie, I’d fly home every weekend and it was killer. Six hours of flying each way. It’s a challenge, for sure, but a necessary balancing act. So is life.