Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Diane Lane: I was a horse novice

Published 08/10/2010

Diane Lane plays Penny Chenery in Secretariat
Diane Lane plays Penny Chenery in Secretariat

Diane Lane has admitted she didn't know much about horse racing when she signed on to play horse owner Penny Chenery in Secretariat.

The actress revealed she was luck enough to have Penny herself to explain the difference between a length and a furlong.

"This is like Elvis trying to explain rock 'n' roll," Diane joked.

The film depicts Secretariat's Triple Crown win and the rough road Penny travelled to get him there in a male-dominated sport - but Diane and Penny said the movie wasn't a feminist film.

"We are all certainly ... fighting to be a person and not a woman," Penny said. "I like being a woman, and I'd rather look pretty than ugly, but that's not the point. The point is I, as a person, am doing something."

Diane praised her character's real-life counterpart for not allowing herself to be pigeonholed, whether as a housewife or a face of the women's movement.

"I don't think it's a feminist agenda," the 45-year-old actress said. "I think it's more of an equality agenda and a personhood that Penny's speaking of: recognition for your deeds, not for what you look like while you're doing them."

Diane added that she and Penny "love guys, and it's fine to be an underdog in a man's world because they're pretty good".

The pair insisted the movie was about confidence and bravery, regardless of gender or what doubters may say.

"This is one story that is so large that, in a way, it is the ultimate story of the ultimate horse, and the family that was rising to the occasion in every way," Diane said.

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