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Forever Starlet
Celebrating young actresses of yesterday and today
Diane Lane Remembers Debut Film, A Little Romance 
25th-Jan-2017 10:45 am
amandla stenberg
Transcribed from the DVD of A Little Romance (review here), an interview with Diane Lane about her first film:

"When I got the job, I was so amazed to actually -- I'm going to be in a movie, you know? Rather than just auditioning and never really thought about what's involved in doing a movie. I was doing a play at, uh, the Public Theater called Runaways. [Director] George Roy Hill came and saw me in the play, and that was pretty rare, for the director to be able to see if the performer can perform, considering that I had never done a movie, and there was something he could see. It was interesting to me too because, um, down the road, after we'd had rehearsal time in Malibu, California, which to me being a New York City kid was... really bizarre, and I met the French boy Thelonious Bernard, I remember George saying to me, 'Now today, I want you to really cry. No more talkin' about, no more almost and we know you'll be crying in this scene when you do it. You're gonna do it.' And I was like, I am?

Diane in her first scene as Lauren

"When we started to rehearse with Laurence Olivier in Paris, the stakes went up. And to work with Lord Larry, as we jokingly referred to him to his face, because he said immediately, 'Call me Larry, please.' You know, he was very sort of uncomfortable with the royal family's bequeathing him with the title and all of this sort of business. And um, it-it's hard for me to separate the quote that has endured, that he called me the new Grace Kelley. He spoke about me in the media, and um, I read it, and it was wonderful to sort of have that forever in quotes from him. But my experience of him and the warmth and the education of working with somebody of that caliber and how it raises the standards of everyone around, right in the beginning of my career, I had no idea how good I had it, you know? I just thought it was always going to be that professional.

"I have many memories of Larry. I still -- it's awkward to call Olivier Larry, but there it is. And he was -- he always wanted to shirk that moat that was between him and other people that was imposed on him by his stature and status as an actor. Um, and he just wanted to be one of the guys and go to dinner with everybody in the crew. It was funny, he would tell off-color jokes about the royal family [laughs], and so I got to see many sides of him. And obviously in hindsight, as soon as the film finished shooting, I realized how generous he had been and how he could have chosen otherwise. Certainly it served him to be that way with me, but at the same time, it didn't have to go that well.

Lauren and Daniel (Thelonious Bernard)

"I often that the reason I was right for the role was because precocious was a word that was used a lot at me. And it's very awkward to be that age when you are a-a bit of a wise soul. Because people don't want you to own that much that young, you know? And Lauren and I had that in common. She was an intellectual, I mean, she was a very well-read girl and read Heidegger and was considering existentialism, which we see in the film and literally had a very high IQ. You see hints of the woman to come, but she's, uh -- don't forget, it was 1978, you know? It was a softer time in terms of female and their self image. She was all femme, very girl.

"It's interesting about what scene is difficult for an actor because in this movie, it was the scene where we all confess our truths to each other and our disappointments in each other and our suspicions of each other. And, um, Olivier's character decides that we should go on and create the dream anyway and make it real. And that was a hard scene for me, and I was never happy with it when I saw it. [shrugs] Just, as an actor, you -- that's not an uncommon experience. Because I didn't have a lot of options yet, inside of myself as an actor, as to how I would convey what I had in mind and to satisfy the scene. I was just raw and doing the way I would do it. And I sounded so whiny to me. [laughs] I just sounded so whiny. But that's how young girls are when they're vulnerable and crying. They sound like they're whining.

"The goodbye is my favorite scene because I really felt it. We shot it in sequence because George was smart that way. Of course, he's George Roy Hill, and, uh, when we were saying goodbye, I was really saying goodbye to Olivier and [fans her face] it makes me teary. Sorry. And, um, I did, I felt very grateful to him so when I hugged him, it was real.

The kids meet Julius (Laurence Olivier)

"Since it was the first film I ever did, it's very close to my heart. Especially because it was so good and because it was the turning point in my life that decided my fate because... it was a pleasant experience and I learned I could do it, and, uh, it was kind of the end of my childhood in the sense that [takes a deep breath] that was the beginning of my career. Unwittingly, very unwittingly. I had no idea, but in hindsight, that was where the hairpin turn came, and the rest, uh, the rest of is history. I'm just very pleased that the movie still touches people."
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