‘Cinema Verite’: Diane Lane, Tim Robbins try on reality TV


Diane Lane wouldn’t want to do a reality show, but she’s getting a taste anyway.

The Oscar-nominated actress (“Unfaithful”) plays one of the original stars of the genre -- Pat Loud, showcased in PBS’ 1973 milestone “An American Family” -- in “Cinema Verite,” a new HBO movie debuting Saturday, April 23. The dramatization of making the series also stars Tim Robbins as Pat’s husband, Bill; Thomas Dekker as their son Lance; and James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”) as producer Craig Gilbert.

As cameras captured her clan’s trials, including her marital woes and the controversy over Lance’s homosexuality, Pat Loud wasn’t always happy about the content. “I allowed her to speak for herself as much as I could,” Lane says of portraying her, noting that a book by Loud “became my truth-o-meter. Of course, the questions everybody was asking and that she was asking herself were, ‘Why did she do (the series)? What was she thinking?’ ”

Lane believes that during the filming of “An American Family,” Loud “realized this could backfire. I’m sure that came up daily as a nagging thought. It’s impossible to be in front of a camera without trying your best to come off a certain way, and there’s nothing more challenging than being in a relationship that bears the brunt of your less-than-stellar self. Having a camera there (for that) had never been done before.”

Translating that to “Cinema Verite” was largely what drew Lane to the project: “It was seen as something alien, primitive, useless and almost absurd in its time. It had lofty intentions of being educational, culturally relevant and honestly searching for a truth that had eluded the medium of television thoroughly up to that point.”


Obviously, reality shows are everywhere now, but don’t expect to see Lane participate in one. The wife of actor Josh Brolin (“True Grit”) claims that if she got such an offer, she’d think, “‘What did I do to deserve this?’ I don’t know the names of most of these people who are famous for being in reality shows, and that’s me living a sheltered life. By choice.”