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Diane Lane Interview - "Unfaithful"
by Rebecca Murray and Fred Topel

Diane Lane stars in "Unfaithful." Photo: Barry Wetcher.
Copyright ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises - All Rights Reserved.

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Diane Lane was cast in the role of Connie Sumner in "Unfaithful" for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which was her performance in Tony Goldwyn's "A Walk on the Moon." Director Adrian Lyne says, "It was a wonderful film and Diane was very sympathetic and vulnerable in it; you really liked her. And I thought that, given that Connie has a child, and she's happily married, it would be easy to see her as unsympathetic when she begins her affair. So we had to make certain that she was likable and nice. There are very few beautiful actors and actresses that don't have an element of toughness about them. It sort of comes with the package - the sexuality and the toughness. Diane projects both the sexuality and a niceness, which is rare. There's a sort of knowing quality."

DIANE LANE (Connie Sumner)

What appealed to you about this character?
I think it's a case study of the human frailty of being unguarded in your convictions. You relax too much in your convictions. You become lax and I think it takes a certain amount of vigilance to remind yourself why you made the choices you made - and you're sticking with them and being true to them. That takes two people and it takes homework. It takes communication and I think that tends to fade with 11 years of marriage. It's easy to incrementally let things slip away from you.

Can you relate to becoming lax in a relationship?
It's different when you live day in and day out with someone versus someone, say in my industry - time and separation can create a relationship that's in your mind and then you show up for it and you're like, "Wait a minute. I've spent so much time with you in my mind that you're a disappointment in reality." Even one's self - you disappoint yourself in a relationship because you've had too much time to think about it and not enough time to actually live it. That's the opposite problem, I don't really know how to relate to a long-term, day in and day out, comfortable exchange that goes on. Sometimes things tend to get traded - comfort gets traded for passion. It doesn't have to be that way.

Adrian is really good at telling these cautionary tales of keeping your knickers buttoned up. It seems to me like a theme - maybe it's just me projecting. Ever since I saw "Flashdance," I've wanted to work for him. That was when I was doing "Streets of Fire." It's been a long time waiting, but worth the wait though. We've all gotten better.

What was it about "Flashdance" that made you want to work with Adrian Lyne?
Because it was so bloody popular. I just thought, "What is that about somebody who can have the gift of being so timely in what they are telling, as a story?" It may not age well, but when it's out it's really current.

He's very much of a pollster, I think. He's never convinced, and he's always asking [questions]. Yesterday he was asking me, "What did you think? Do you think we ought to edit some more time out of the thus and such scene?" And I went, "Don't you have to lock the picture in yet? Get out of the editing room, man. We've got to print the reels up and send them out to the theaters!"

Why does it seem as though you play so many characters involved in extra marital affairs?
It's casting against type.

There are some great mother/son moments in this film. Can you talk about working with Erik Per Sullivan and that side of the film?
It's a very important side. I grew up playing the child in the Greek Tragedies, and I didn't realize why I was getting killed in every play that I was in - the death of innocence and the metaphor of that, that children bring to these adult stories, or the perspective of innocence and the loss of the preservation of it and those issues. I get it now. I'm always glad when any moment is remaining when they edit these things because you have such a wonderful connection and you want it to be on screen - with the children.

Was Erik fun to work with?
He was great to work with. He's gung-ho [and has] a positive attitude. To me, it's all a report card on the parents. They're very cool and they help him.

Did you draw on your own maternalism?
It's hard because they are looking at you like an actress, not just like a person who they would meet. So you have to break through that image.

When you play a mother, do you often draw on your own experiences?
Yes, it's just instinct. All you can do is say this is my version. Everyone has a version of their mother that they want to see. I did the best I could with that. It felt real to me.

How was it working with Richard Gere after 18 years?
18 years - half my life ago. Great, I mean when he showed up, I just wanted to fall into his arms. He'd just come off "The Mothman Prophecies" - months of night shooting in the freezing cold. [He had these] whole martyrdom stories that I'd been listening to and I was like, "Well, you just come here and I'll tell you MY stories." I was exhausted. I had done a movie and a half already with Olivier, and here comes Richard. I was like, "You mean, we have another month to go?" It was a big endurance challenge for me. He was a godsend.

How did you get comfortable doing the love scenes and how did you help Olivier get comfortable?
It was so tricky. It was really tricky. Adrian is very adamant, and he gets really in your face, "Make me believe it. Make me believe it." Olivier and I would have discussions in his trailer with all this bravado, then we'd get to the set and we're just like kids - uncomfortable. We get there, take six.

Was it embarrassing?
Well, I think in this story it is so necessary. There's no way to tell a sexy movie without there being sex in it - or a sexy movie without it being sexy. It's part of the context of the story. That's what it is about - sexual infidelity and what the repercussions are. My comfort level with it just had to catch up quickly - if I wanted to be the actress to play it.

How do you think this film fits in society?
As far as Adrian taking the pulse, I don't know how he does that. You'd have to look into his astrological chart or something. I don't know how it is that he's good at it, but he's consistently good at it. That's why I felt safe and confident enough that I'd want to do this part. Even though it's a large part, I wanted it to be as good as it can be. It was very important as to who the director was going to be. Adrian is the perfect director for the material because he's not going to leave any stone unturned, and he didn't. When I saw the movie yesterday for the first time, I forgot what we filmed that isn't there. That's what I do, I just see it and I go, "Okay, that's what it is." I don't remember what's not included.

Is there any type of character you haven't done yet that you'd like to do?
It's funny because there's this balance of tough cookie/one-liner stuff that the press has labeled me. I sort of dealt with that and said, "Whatever." I guess that was from some roles, and I hope it wasn't from some interviews - but I don't know. I think, to answer your question, I would like to find a way where I'm portraying somebody who - the vulnerability of a character is very important but at the same time, where you see the struggle. I enjoy watching women struggle because the vulnerability issues that women are expected to just wear on their sleeve, it's not how women are. I would like to find a character who is as strong as some of the iconic women from the black and white film era were, without losing any of this appeal that seems to be mandatory that falls under the vulnerability category for women.

Interview with Olivier Martinez ->Page 3

Interview with Richard Gere ->Return to Page 1

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