Diane Lane stars in Untraceable.


Asked to comment on Diane Lane, his co-star in Untraceable, Colin Hanks is characteristically generous, and describes the very basic bond the two actors had to make, playing a pair of agents in the FBI’s cybercrimes department, who find themselves on the trail of a murderer who kills his victims online, and ends up targeting them.

“It's always really nice when you meet someone and they're the most pleasant person that you could have possibly imagined. She's so friendly and funny and self-deprecating and was just a fun person to work with when you're both admitting that ‘I have no idea what any of this computer junk means. So you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours and hopefully we'll both look like geniuses at the end.’”

In person, at a Los Angeles press event for the film, Lane is a lot more striking than in recent films like Untraceable, where she’s had to make herself look far less glamourous than, say, the roles that made her famous when she was barely out of her teens, in pictures like Streets Of Fire and The Cotton Club. Researching her role in Gregory Hoblit’s film, she was put together with a female FBI agent in Portland – a woman her age, with a family, working in the cybercrimes unit, and Lane says that the experience was priceless.

“It helped a lot to have the real McCoy,” Lane says. “She was amazing, and it was really comforting to see someone who was so capable, so totally womanly, and the more I got exposed to the need for these people to exist, they're angels. I'm so naive; I didn't know that viruses didn't spontaneously occur, like in nature. Doesn't the term virus imply that it just grew in a petri dish? Oh, no, some brainiac sat down to try to figure out how to make everybody miserable. I don't know what to say, I'm so disappointed with human beings, and myself for not knowing better.”

Lane, a mother with one child from a previous marriage and two stepchildren with current husband Josh Brolin, says that she worried about technology and her children’s safety long before she made the film, and that she thinks her New York upbringing gave her a wariness that she worries that her kids won’t have.

“When my child was younger, I didn't want her innocence to be taken away even a grain of sand's worth, but you must inoculate your children - give them a little polio so they won't get the bit polio. And I don't want her to be afraid, but if you're not afraid - the reason I'm a good New Yorker is that I had to walk down the street, have radar, have Teflon, have cat whiskers, listen to my gut, but if you grow up in a bubble in Los Angeles and you feel autonomous and have the anonymity of being on the internet and think nobody is paying attention, you're wrong. Best to be not feeling too secure, and a little fear is a good thing.”

She says that she misses New York, but that the city she knew has disappeared, a period piece that her children probably wouldn’t recognize. “The New York I knew is over,” she laughs. “I used to go down to Colony Records at one in the morning to buy blank tapes to record off the radio. Now they have iPods.”