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Diane Lane: “I’m the person I’ve always wanted to become.

Last time you spoke to REDBOOK, three years ago, you mentioned how hard it was to be away from the family for work. Is it still?
That’s another thing that changed. On this movie I took the family with me to North Carolina. I was asked to do three movies back-to-back, and it would have meant six months away. So I made a list of the pros and cons of being away and realized my bread is buttered in my kitchen, not on movie sets. “I can’t go,” I said. Now that the girls are 15, they’d rather I be away sometimes [big laugh], but that was all the more reason I needed to be home [bigger laugh]. So then the producers told me I could bring the family, and it was the best of both worlds. What was it like being together in that gorgeous coastal setting?
Glorious. Absolutely glorious. When I was working, the girls were off kayaking and building sand castles, to the point where I was like, “Wait! I wanna play too!” But my hours weren’t awful, and after work we’d ride bikes and make popcorn and play Boggle. It felt very June Cleaver, and I loved it. This is your third film with Richard Gere, after Unfaithful and The Cotton Club, which you made when you were 18. What’s it like working with someone you’ve known for so long?
I feel like Richard is my witness. He’s seen me grow so much. Back then, everyone was marking me for success when all I really wanted was to be normal. I had all these walls of protection around me. Richard got that. He’d walk in and tell me what color my aura was or make a joke about something and it was like a cream pie in my face. He saw right through my walls, and that softened me up.Your daughter and stepdaughter are entering the heart of their teenage years. What’s it like watching them go from girls to women?
Scary! [Huge laugh] Humbling. Poignant. Challenging. Frustrating. Sometimes I think opposable thumbs were invented so teenage girls could use text messaging. And now boys are coming into the picture. I’ll get questions on that that just knock my socks off. I’ll pretend to be cool about it, but inside I’m…[she pretends to faint]. But, hey, bring it on! I can answer that question about sex and try not to sound insane! [Laughs] These are girls, you must remember, who are growing up watching Gossip Girl and movies like Sex and the City. My daughter saw Sex and the City and said, “Mom, don’t go. You can’t handle the sex.”How are you and Josh different as parents?
We’re a good team. When an issue comes up, we look at each other sometimes as if to say, “Do you want to take this one?” “No, you take it.” “No, you take it.” Both of us are very active parents, as far as making meals and being chauffeurs and just being there, though he tends to be a little more strict. I can roll with a lot of ‘tude from the young’uns. Josh, no way! He’s much more comfortable being unpopular than I am. I tend to be a pleaser. But I just read a book that completely shifted my behavior as a parent. What’s the book?
It’s called Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? by Anthony E. Wolf. They should hand a copy to every mother when their daughters hit 12. The basic premise is, you do not need to justify your decisions as a parent to your children. Your job is to set the boundaries and keep your kids safe. So now, when my daughter says, “Why, Mom? It’s not fair!” my smile just gets bigger and more beatific, but I don’t budge and I don’t explain. I might say, “I know it’s not fair,” but that’s all. Otherwise, you watch your status and your usefulness as a parent disappear. There’s a voice inside children that knows right from wrong. I call it listening to your inner Jiminy Cricket. I tell my daughter, “If you’re thinking this is not the best idea, it probably isn’t.” I notice you say “my daughter,” even though Josh’s daughter also lives with you. [Josh’s son is away at college.] Is it tricky navigating the role of mom in a blended family?
[She pauses, thinking] It gets complicated with merged families. I remember I was upset with the girls about something once and my daughter said to me — in front of my stepdaughter — “You take everything out on me!” My stepdaughter said, “Hey, I’m right here.” But it’s true — the way I understand stepparenting is you’re more the cheerleader than the disciplinarian with your stepchildren. Josh, as I said, has a different style. Sometimes I’m grateful when he’s strict with my daughter. Sometimes I’m like, “Ooh. Wow. I bet she’s gonna come talk to me later and be like…” [her lower lip quivers]. The great news is, the girls are good friends. I think growing up together is making them better people.

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