Her big-screen debut opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in 1979’s A Little Romance landed Diane Lane on the cover of Time at the age of 14. Now, after having earned a 2002 Oscar nomination for her perfect stormy portrayal of an adulterous wife in Unfaithful, Francis Ford Coppola’s muse graces the pages of The Advocate. And who knows? After playing a case-hardened cybercop in the new thriller Untraceable — and reteaming with cuckold Richard Gere in the upcoming romantic drama Nights of Rodanthe — the 43-year-old Neutrogena ambassador might just become a bigger Hollywoodland icon than her mother-in-law.
By Brandon Voss
The Advocate: Forget dogs! Gays must love Diane Lane. How conscious are you of that fan base?
Diane Lane: Oh, I’m delighted to hear that, but I have to say I’m more aware of my husband’s. That appeal? I understand it. But I think I turn a blind eye to my own because I get embarrassed or I’m shy or I don’t take compliments well.
So Josh Brolin feels our love?
I can’t speak for him, but I know that there are plenty of guys that I’ve been around who have expressed if not glee for me, then envy of me.
I’ve had a crush on him since 1985’s Goonies. You too?
[Laughs] No. Actually, I was blessed to have no previous impressions of him aside from meeting him, which is a much healthier way to start a relationship. I finally saw Goonies after we had already been together for, like, a year. Then I became jealous that I didn’t meet him when I was 15 and got very upset over anybody he knew before me — ever.
Your queer appeal certainly isn’t hurt by the fact that your stepmother-in-law, James Brolin’s wife, is Barbra Streisand.
Isn’t that hysterical? Who’d-a thunk?
What are the perks there?
Honestly, she’s just a very gracious, beneficent aunt and family member, and she’s just lovely in terms of having the ability to be the number 1 hostess.
As an ’80s child star, what was your wildest, most Lindsay Lohan moment — aside from dating Jon Bon Jovi?
Oh, I thought that was absolutely, perfectly appropriate for me. I mean, my God, first of all, going out with somebody for five months is long when you’re 20. The fact that he was away and traveling on his tours was probably how we lasted so long — kind of like my first marriage: When you see each other once a month, it’s easy to be romantic. But what was my craziest dysfunctional teenage moment? Honestly, I was so boring and uninteresting. And I loved it that way.
You’ve also confirmed flings with Timothy Hutton and Christopher Atkins. If you knew then what you know now, which other young stars would you have hooked up with?
Definitely my husband! I’d have hunted him down with a harpoon and lassoed him to my thigh for the rest of my life. No questions, hands down — he’s worth 10 of any other comparable hot guy for me. And that works for me because I get excited every time I go home.
Who’s been your most distractingly handsome on-screen love interest?
I’m a married woman — I can’t answer that question! [Laughs] Let’s see… Well, I had a crush on Leif Garrett when I was 11 and Tiger Beat magazine was everything. So when I got to work on The Outsiders and he played my boyfriend, I couldn’t believe it. I’m still pinching myself that that happened.
Did you two hook up?
Nah, I wouldn’t say that. [Laughs] We had our on-screen situation, which was enough.
Have you ever gone on a gay tour, as your character did in Under the Tuscan Sun?
I wish! It’s so cool that once you make that statement that you have an orientation other than whatever’s considered average, you can socialize having had that mystery resolved. It’s like, OK, I know what I want in life. It’s very liberating. I envy that. But no, I’m much more introverted, so I don’t know if I would do well in one of those situations — straight or gay. I loved the plotline in the story for the character of my best friend — wonderfully portrayed by Sandra Oh — a lesbian who’s decided to have a child with her partner. Whatever your preference or gender, there’s just as much dysfunction in relationships, so I thought it was wonderful to humanize that and bring that very loving subplot to the story.
That film was pretty gay for Disney.
I hadn’t thought of that! I don’t know, though. I think if we go all the way back to Bambi — remember Flower?
Do you have a real-life Sandra Oh?
I have a lot of friends that I forget are gay because to me, they’re just friends. I’d have to sit down and comb through my Rolodex and go, Oh, that’s right -- he’s gay, she’s gay, because we all go through the same crap.
Was that attitude fostered by growing up around gay people in the New York theater community?
Absolutely. They were the most courageous artistically, the most free in their creativity, and the most inspiring in their convictions. It was a brilliant childhood because it was so colored by those colorful people — not to say they have the corner on the market, but they sure stand out.
You’ve claimed to have been somewhat influenced by your fundamentalist Christian maternal grandmother. Did her beliefs affect your own?
If I was going to have a religion passed down to me, I suppose it was intended that that would be the one, but I was also brought up with my father saying to me, “You choose your religion when you’re ready, after you’ve studied all different religions.” I love psychology, sociology, the history of religions, and how people come to beliefs that comfort them. I think my chosen profession — or the one that chose me, I should say — gives me a little outlet to study that human nature, but I’m very limited by the scripts that I’m handed. When I got into Hunter College High School, I really wanted to be one of those brainiacs, but to this day I’m still waiting to grow up, get a life, and learn all the things that I was innately interested in as a young person. Like, it never occurs to people that when you say we’re created in — excuse me — his image, you’ve got sexism going on right there. You’re choosing a gender when you say God, which is instantly offensive to me — because I’m never going to have a penis. Does God have a penis? Is that what makes him a him? Somebody explain this to me.
The Advocate, January 2008.