Diane Lane on starring in "The Cherry Orchard"

Actress Diane Lane’s very first movie was “A Little Romance,” when she was just 13 years old. She has since made a name for herself on the big screen, appearing in popular movies like “Unfaithful,” “The Outsiders,” “The Cotton Club,” “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “The Perfect Storm.” 

Now, Lane is starring in the revival of “The Cherry Orchard” on Broadway. She plays a woman who returns to her family’s estate to stop its foreclosure. Her character opposes some ideas to save the property, including getting rid of its cherry orchard.

This isn’t Lane’s first appearance in the Anton Chekhov play; she was also in the ensemble of the 1977 Broadway revival.

When she visited the set of “CBS This Morning” Monday, Lane was asked by CBSN’s Josh Elliott, “This play is over a hundred years old. Why do you think it resonates still?”

“I think it’s been on Broadway 10 times in the last 100 years,” Lane said, “and the reason is because it deals so much with our human foibles, and we get to laugh at ourselves and see ourselves in these various characters … we despise human nature as much as we adore human nature. We feel compassion and we feel distain at the same time. And we see that history does repeat itself endlessly. And we are trapped in a beautiful play all the time.

“I get to speak in a Chekhov play!” she exclaimed. “I’m very blessed, very grateful. It’s an amazing experience -- a lot of adrenaline, a lot of adrenaline.

“Every character is a classic in this show,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for actors to show comedy that you don’t realize is there in the writing. It blooms in the care of wonderful directors and this adaptation by Stephen Karam is bringing it more to the people.”


Harold Perrineau and Diane Lane in Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” now on Broadway.

Joan Marcus

“Does the language make it easier or harder?” asked anchor Charlie Rose.

“Smart question. Both, because there’s so much truth in the words, and it’s not quite Shakespearean pentameter, but you do have to time your inhales to make your point,” answered Lane.

Anchor Gayle King asked, “You say despite all of your experience, you say being on the stage still terrifies you. How is that possible?”

“It is a high-wire act,” said Lane. “They say theater people are the same as people that jump out of airplanes. I would never do that, that’s not my idea of a thrill. But there is connectivity with the live audience that is delicious, and it is a two-way street and interactive.”

“Do you wish you had done more theater, as you continue to make film?” asked Rose.

“I’ve done my share, and good stuff,” Lane responded. “Yes, I love it. It’s a very different medium, as you know. The weird thing about film, which I don’t really care for, is that I’m always surprised when I see the film. One way or another I’m always surprised. A lot can change in editing room. I joke and say I have an editor on my altar!”

When asked about the energy expended on the stage for eight shows a week, Lane said, “As a cast, we hold hands before the curtain and we are backstage, and this beautiful group of people that I am a humble part of -- and I get to be the poster girl and, yes, it is very much Madame Ranevskaya’s story, she is the one whose family this cherry orchard belongs to – we as a group go through this as a team sport. We hold hands and I swear lightning bolts are going through our hands as we approach it together and we are connected like an umbilical cord between us.

“Because you have to be ready for anything. And now with the changes that are happening in previews, that’s hair-raising -- that’s probably where you got the quote about me being scared, because changes happening to props and costumes and lighting and words and actions and so many things in the process of rehearsal during the day and then we employ it and try it out at night in front of 750 people!”

“The people go nuts the minute you walk out on the stage -- it’s instant applause for you,” noted King.

“That doesn’t happen at home,” Lane laughed. “My cat can’t applaud!”

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