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Credit: Streets of Fire: Universal/Everett Collection

Major actor or actress did you write off early on?

What major actor or actress did you write off as talentless or forgettable early on? —Jared
Diane Lane. Was it the lackluster movies she was in, or do far too many of us — in the media, in Hollywood, and in the audience — reflexively underrate actresses who hold the screen with their sensuality? In Lane’s case, the answer is probably a bit of both. She made a charming debut in the puppy-love fable A Little Romance (1979), but during the first stretch of her career, which unfolded in the synthetic ’80s, she endured thankless roles in Streets of Fire and Rumble Fish, among others, coming off as the spunky girl with cheerleader hair who had more on her mind than she got to say. I, for one, dismissed her as a lightweight. It took another decade, after her career had seemingly tanked, for Lane, in Unfaithful, to tap the anger, the quiet cunning, and the erotic force that made her, better late than never, a movie star.

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