We’ve all heard the old Hollywood fable. One day you’re just standing there minding your own business when somebody “discovers” you and the next thing you know you’re a star. But that doesn’t really happen, does it? It does if you’re Sasha Lane, the Texas-born young woman who was hand-picked by director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) to lead her sprawling road movie American Honey. On a fortuitous spring break, Lane was sitting on the shores of a Flordia beach when Arnold approached her with the offer. Lane will tell you she knew something was coming, but she never could have guessed it would be the starring role in award-winning film.
American Honey is a gorgeous, unapologetically anarchic film that clocks in at a near three hours without ever feeling static, and it all rests on Lane’s shoulders as Star, a young woman who leaps at the opportunity to abandon her stagnant life when a charismatic huckster (Shia LaBeouf) offers her the opportunity to hit the road in pursuit of some hard-earned cash. Packed into a van with similarly disenfranchised young folks, Star drinks, dances, cavorts and tastes manic love as she makes her way across the great U.S. with her like-minded crew. And to make the film, Arnold really did pack a van full of the rag-tag bunch, comprised of mostly similarly hand-picked unknowns, setting the filmmakers on a parallel adventure.
Sitting across from Lane in an Alamo Drafthouse karaoke room at the 2016 Fantastic Fest, it’s all too easy to see why Arnold found her such a compelling figure to lead her brazen, tender-hearted narrative. But you don’t have to meet the young actress to get it — it’s evident from the film’s first moments that Lane has an almost preternatural ability for commanding the screen. Which is perhaps why it was so surprising to find her a soft-spoken, unassuming woman who answered any question with a refreshing openness and honesty. It’s a brilliant, beautiful movie and resulted in a wide-ranging interview that stands as one of my favorite I’ve done in a while. Check it out below.