A Minute With: Diane Lane, off to the races in "Secretariat"

Thu Oct 7, 2010 11:54am EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In her new movie, "Secretariat," Oscar-nominated actress Diane Lane takes the real-life role of Penny Chenery, whose famous race horse, Secretariat, won the Triple Crown in 1973.

In the film, due out on Friday, Chenery goes from housewife to horse racing power player. At first, she was not taken seriously, but she overcame the male-dominated sport. Lane spoke to Reuters about the film and playing a strong-willed woman with an equally strong-minded horse.

Q: What do you think it was about the real Secretariat that made the nation gravitate toward him?

A: "He was born a rock star. His third race in the Triple Crown was when he decided to impart to the world his joy at what he was doing. You could see the amount of passion in this massive creature eating up the track, finding his way in and loving it. You can't make a horse do that. That is the horse's decision."

Q: It took five horses to play Secretariat. What was it like to be surrounded by these strong and powerful creatures?

A: "It's like the Jimi Hendrix lyrics: 'Let me stand next to your fire.' There's a greatness to the creation of a horse that I just love. My favorite during production was a horse named Longshot. I found him very endearing. I learned to dial down all my inner voices, really tune in and be very Zen with the horse."

Q: What does the real Penny Chenery think of the film?

A: "I'm so personally, selfishly, sentimentally satisfied that she's happy with it. To live up to a great woman such as her, and do right by her, I can't think of anything much more noble to do in my profession than that."   Continued...

<p>Cast member Diane Lane poses at the premiere of "Secretariat" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California September 30, 2010. The movie opens in the U.S. on October 8. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>