Talking to the Star of 'American Honey,' Sasha Lane

Talking to the Star of 'American Honey,' Sasha Lane

How the breakout star landed a role beside Shia LaBeouf, and adjusting to life outside of the 'American Honey' bubble.

How the breakout star landed a role beside Shia LaBeouf, and adjusting to life outside of the 'American Honey' bubble.

Text: Craig Hubert

The word Sasha Lane uses to describe her life these days is “whirlwind.” In New York to promote American Honey—the Cannes-winning film the 20-year old actress was plucked from obscurity to star in alongside Shia LeBouf, Riley Keough, and others, which arrives in theaters on September 30—she looks exhausted, having arrived directly from the Toronto International Film Festival, a pivotal stop on what feels like an endless promotional tour. “We’ve just been going and going,” she says, shaking her head. “It’s been crazy.”

But it’s also clear that the atmosphere surrounding the film, from its creation to its ultimate arrival for the world to see, is attractive to Lane. She was just a college student from Texas hanging out with her friends in Miami Beach during spring break when Andrea Arnold, the English filmmaker, approached her. She said she liked her style, and talked about a film she was making about down-and-out teenagers who peddle magazine subscriptions door-to-door for pocket cash, traveling together across the country in a van and bunking in cheap motels. Did she want to be in it?

“I dipped out in a minute,” she says with a laugh. Lane ended her semester at school early, and around a month later was being filmed traveling across the country with a dozen other young people. When I ask what was going through her head at the time that put her in the position to take that risk, to drop everything in her life to join a mysterious woman shooting a road movie, she quotes, maybe unintentionally, the Rihanna song that is significantly featured early in the film. “I was in a very hopeless place,” she says. “When I met [Andrea] I became very hopeful. She was not someone just believing in me, but someone thinking everything about me was beautiful and worth it. It helped so much. I was nervous, of course, but every day was like a constant reminder that this is happening for a reason, so just let it happen.”

It’s this free-spiritedness that Lane brings to the role of Star, who drifts into the itinerant world of the magazine-selling crew after being pursued by the charismatic rattail-adorning Jake (LaBeouf) in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. He circles her like a falcon hunting pray, seeing something in her that she shares with the rest of the team: a need for connection, a desire to escape. Connection is something Lane brings up multiple times in our conversation as the key component to the entire experience. The bond between her and Arnold, between her and the cast—especially Keough, who she says she has clung to since making the film—made the whole thing feel like she was living another life, apart of her own.

“I completely blocked the outside world,” she says about the making of the film. There were times where she would have trouble figuring out the difference between her life and the movie, which were beginning to merge. “I would have those moments where I didn’t want to talk to anybody outside the process. It was easy to from a bubble.”

Exiting the film had its own set of problems. While Lane waited almost a year for the film to be edited, she moved to Los Angeles, which was a deliberating experience. “I would wake up, thinking, what am I doing here?” she says. “It was scary.” She was antsy hanging around in one place, and was missing all the people she had just worked with. It was hard to adjust to people outside the bubble.

Despite the film now coming out, and other projects on the way, this new life is still not comfortable. “I’m ready for all of this to be over,” she says of the entire promotional process. “I’m a really uncomfortable person, so the whole Hollywood lifestyle—attention on me, the cameras, people telling me how to live my life, talking about me in a public way—none of that is appealing to me,” she says. “Acting is amazing. But everything that comes with it is such a turnoff.”

Credits: Photo courtesy A24

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