Diane Lane loves greeting cards. Always has. She keeps a box of them at home, divided into neat categories, ready to send to friends and family when an occasion presents itself. She realizes paper cards are old-fashioned, but she doesn’t care. She likes the shameless optimism of the messages inside.
“See, look at this one,” she says excitedly while shopping at an independent bookstore in Santa Monica. She waves a card that reads, “There’s a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough.”
“That’s cool, right? You know how cards used to be cynical and jokey?” she asks, not waiting for an answer. “Now the backdrop of life is all, wa-wah.” She makes a sound like the Debbie Downer theme song. “So the messages have changed. We have enough wa-wah in the world already.”
Lane replaces the card and spins the rack, reviewing all her options. Unable to decide, she strolls the long aisles of books, dressed in straight-leg jeans, a gray T-shirt with "God Bless Detroit" printed on the front and wedge sneakers with a bit of lift. She pauses at a stack of aspirational coffee table hardcovers showcasing images of Irish country homes and $30,000 sofas.
“Oooh, my life could look like that,” she says, pointing to a woman twirling in a misty field, her exquisite farmhouse in the background. “Or like that,” she adds, this time pointing to an image of Ellen DeGeneres grinning from a burnished red-leather Egg chair. Lane laughs quietly, both enjoying and gently mocking the conceit of books designed to make women crave lives they will most likely never have.
“Remember those ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful’ ads?” she asks. “We grew up with that shit. It was the start of that psychoanalytical thing in our culture where we market to women by making women compete with each other. I found it very discordant.”
Lane abandons the decor section and beelines toward photography, still talking, her voice level, purposeful: “So you’re not allowed to say ‘I’m pretty,’ because you might get eaten alive by the rest of the tribe, you know? And the fact is that most—I mean, I don’t even know if we could run down the list of all the industries that exist because of the propagation of female insecurity.”
She exhales, picks up an illustrated book of superheroes through the ages, idly flips through a few pages. “Batman always looks so depressed,” she observes, sighing. “Maybe we should send him a card.”
To read our full interview, pick up our March 2016 issue—on newsstands February 23!
Allison Glock wrote about Liv Tyler in the October issue of More.