Everyone has their favorite Bond, says actress Diane Lane, as well as their favorite Superman. “To me, George Reeves is the one,” she quickly admits.
Lane is one of the people who, in a cinematic way, knows the late Reeves best, having played opposite Ben Affleck as the TV superhero in “Hollywoodland.” The actress portrays Toni Mannix, Reeves’ real-life lover and benefactor, who, after being jilted by her mate for a younger woman, becomes one of Reeves’ possible killers in the film.
“Our task was to open up every avenue and motive,” she explains, adding that Mannix was just part of the unexplained shadow hanging over Reeves’ death, officially deemed a suicide. After the film was released, however, “I’ve had more people come up to me and tell me that she killed him. They feel like they have to share that with me.”
Lane feels as if the role was sent her direction for a reason. “I almost played her in another version of this film, six or seven years ago. So it’s kind of fun to feel like maybe Toni approved of the casting,” she laughs.
Besides finding Mannix intriguing (“She had her own version of honesty. She left prayer cards at the crime scene to cover the bullet holes, like a good Catholic.”), Lane found the film’s portrayal of Hollywood more than familiar.
“It’s a great portrayal of Hollywood, showbiz and the movie industry,” she says. “I found myself thinking, ‘I’ve been listening to this kind of lingo for decades.’ Like witnessing your own premiere and wanting to sink into the chair and disappear, while everyone can see you watching yourself,” as Reeves did when viewing himself in the film at his “From Here to Eternity” premiere. “It was nice to see those moments, because I’ve lived them.”
The shoot was an easy one, she says, in part because of the approach of first-time feature director Allen Coulter.
“He turned a simple script into something far more ambitious, because it deserved to be,” she says, while adding that his openness with the cast about his vision for the film was vital. “Sometimes directors don’t necessarily give you the tone of the film as they see it, but Allen’s very thorough. There was a lot of conversation. It’s nice to know what film you’re making.”
Lane feels an immense amount of compassion for Reeves.
“He was the poster boy for what can go wrong when you do something too well unintentionally,” she says, adding that she personally believes his death to have been a suicide. “It’s important to honor George and Toni and the people that are referenced in this film. I feel like suicide is always a cry for attention. And it’s my hope that, in a very primitive way, this is an answer back to that call.”
Favorite film of the past five years: “Little Miss Sunshine.” “It’s so raw, believable and multifaceted in that sad way of also being funny, which I love.”
Actor who impressed you greatly after working together: Philip Seymour Hoffman. “He had a cameo in a small film I did in 1992 called ‘My New Gun.’ It’s a long way from Tipperary from when I worked with him.”
Next project: “Untraceable,” directed by Gregory Hoblit. “I’m getting ready to film in Portland in late winter. I work for the FBI, looking for the bad guys.”