BEVERLY HILLS, CA–Full disclosure: I’ve long had a big crush on Diane Lane. The 47-year-old actress joined Meg Ryan, America Ferrera and husband-and-wife journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn at Sunday’s TCA press tour session for PBS’s Independent Lens documentary special Half the Sky (premiering Oct. 1 and 2).
Lane and the others talked about their participation as “celebrity advocates” for women and girls sold into sex trades and other acts of oppression, usually in third world countries.
She spent several days in Somali land working with women in a hospital, delivering babies and observing first hand maternity issues plaguing women in that region. Lane had read Kristof and WuDunn’s 2009 book Half The Sky and was happy to lend her star power to the cause.
Some of the women Lane encountered were as young as 13–the same age Lane was when she made the George Roy Hill film A Little Romance (1979). 
That film, which also starred Laurence Olivier, put her on the cover of Time magazine as one of “Hollywood’s Whiz Kids.” She’s gone on to star in four Francis Ford Coppola films, sizzled in Unfaithful, received an Emmy nomination for Lonesome Dove and appears next year in Superman: Man of Steel. Did she have any kind of a “There but for the grace of God go I” moment, I asked, meeting these young women? 
“It’s really unfair that people have to be saved rather than being able to just have an opportunity,” she said after a thoughtful pause. “And these people want opportunity, and they have the possibility of getting it if enough people agree that they ought to.”
Lane has gone so far as to bring her teenage daughter to Rwanda four years ago “to see first hand the healing and the work” that goes on through an organization she supports, Heifer International. “I wanted her to see the aide in action.”
Had to follow her out the hotel to ask a question that has been bugging me for years. I happen to have a 16mm print of A Little Romance, a sweet film shot in Europe about an American teen who falls for a young French boy played by Thelonious Bernard, then just 14. “What ever happened to that guy?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” said Lane, who hasn’t seen him since. “I remember him saying he wasn’t a fan of the experience at the time and he’d rather be a mathematician or a farmer.”
According to Wikipedia, he’s a dentist in Namtes. Bingo.


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