Sasha Lane is a one-of-a-kind talent with a one-of-a-kind journey in this industry. Lane wasn’t pursuing a career in acting, but someone saw something in her in an unexpected place. While enjoying her spring break, Lane was approached by director Andrea Arnold and asked to be in her next film, American Honey.
The film was a success, garnering a significant amount of critical acclaim, scoring a BAFTA Awards nomination for Outstanding British Film of the Year, and putting Lane’s name on the map. But even after that, there was still some skepticism and great challenges, ones that easily could have resulted in Lane going back home to Texas and making her pursuit of an acting career a thing of the past. However, that’s when invaluable support from collaborators made all the difference.
Even after having the experience of making American Honey, a film about a teenager (Lane) who runs off and joins a traveling sales crew selling magazine subscriptions door to door, Lane still had a lot to learn about the industry and what it means to make movies. She explained:
“I was in a really weird zone of figuring out what a film meant. It meant that you make something and then everyone leaves and carries on with their lives, and that was really, really hard for me to process. I was just like, ‘What do you mean, Andrea, you’re making another film without me? What do you mean?’ And all these people went back home, and so I was kind of lost there.”
However, that’s when a key source of support swooped in to give Lane some direction. She continued:
“It was the [American Honey] producer, Lars [Knudsen], who told me, ‘I really think you should give this a shot. I think you should continue.’ He’s like, ‘There’s something there. I think you should try to meet with an agent and go to LA.’ And that was not what I was expecting, even though I had just done the film, I wasn’t tempting to be an actress or anything.”
Knudsen’s belief is a major vote of confidence, but committing to moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in a notoriously challenging industry is still an incredibly scary leap to make. But then cue Lane’s other invaluable source of support, her American Honey co-star, Riley Keough.
“I had a few conversations with Riley after we were filming and she had taken me to Paris, crazy enough. I was asking her, ‘Do you really think I should do this? I don’t know.’ And she’s the one who kind of convinced me that I should just move to LA and see how it goes. And I did, and I was working with the costume designer for American Honey. I was working as her assistant on projects because I needed money obviously. It was an indie film; you don’t really get paid and it was my first one, and I was like, ‘Well, if I’m out here, I need to live.’ And I was just working on little things and lucky enough, there was already an agent who wanted to meet with me and I found one really early before it even came out, and we kind of just went from there. I was kind of going off pure, ‘You’re here. Let’s see what happens.’ I had no plan at all.”
Turns out, that was the right approach for Lane who’s added a slew of titles to her resume since including Hearts Beat Loud, the Marvel Disney+ series Loki, and now the latest Sally Rooney adaptation, Conversations with Friends. Lane stars as Bobbi, a college student in Dublin who’s now best friends with her ex, Frances played by Alison Oliver. After meeting an older couple, Jemima Kirke’s Melissa and Joe Alwyn’s Nick, they become a bit enamored with one another, sparking relationship complications.
Whereas Lane rolled into Conversation with Friends with a fairly significant amount of experience, the Hulu series marks Oliver’s very first screen credit. Having been the newcomer on American Honey, I opted to ask Lane if anyone did anything for her on that set that she strove to do for Oliver in order to make that first credit both creatively fulfilling and also not so scary. She immediately went back to Keough’s influence:
“I will always go back to, and I even messaged Riley the other day — Riley, it’s funny because we weren’t allowed to really talk to each other when we were filming [American Honey] because we were supposed to hate each other. So I didn’t get to know Riley until the very end, which was wild. But she became like a sister to me, and I remember so many times in that struggle period, she would just remind me that, ‘One, you’re 20-years-old. It’s okay.’ And also she would tell me little tidbits about events and about press and how they try to get you to say more. Just little tricks up your sleeve and kind of give me a little background info on certain things we were doing. She’s the only reason I actually stayed on the plane on the way to Cannes because I was like, ‘Get me off now. I’m not doing this.’ She’s talked me out of completely dipping. She kept me on red carpets because my anxiety, I was about to run off. She was my anchor and I could trust her, and she had done it before and so well.”
With deep appreciation for Keough’s support, Lane picked up that baton and ran with it. She continued:
“And so for me, it was like paying that due back to Ali because I deeply care about her and I do know what it feels like. And she is her own person and I obviously want her to find her own ways, but if I can be her rock and her handhold through it all and someone she can vent to and we can laugh about the craziness of it all then I will absolutely want to be that person for her because it meant a lot to me.”
Looking for more from Lane? Be sure to check out her episode of Collider Ladies Night in the video at the top of this article, or you can listen to our entire 40-minute conversation uncut in podcast form below where she talks about her Spider-Man audition, booking Loki, working on Hellboy, and so much more!
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