Jake Bridgman ‘19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Emertainment Monthly has an amazing opportunity to sit down with Sasha Lane and discuss her role in Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, and what the film means to her. Sasha Lane plays the lead role, Star and has never acted before this film. American Honey follows a fearless and wild spirited Star (Lane) as she joins a “mag crew” of other misfits, led by the seductive and haughty Jake (Shia LaBeouf) selling magazines by day, and partying hard during the night as they criss-cross the southern mid-west.
Emertainment Monthly:Can you talk about why you joined the film? I know that Andrea Arnold found you on a beach during your spring break, so how did you accept that?
Sasha: For a while I’d had this feeling that something amazing was going to happen–something that had to do with my purpose. When I met her, we had spoken and everything, and I remember feeling very whole because something had felt missing before. Also, being at a place in life where you don’t have anything to lose; it’s much easier to say yes and just get in the car, and to do it. There were little parts that were hard about it, but it just felt right. So I just did it.
EM: So were there any challenges or did you have to drop anything you were doing already before you signed on?
SL: I went back to school, and pushed all my exams up and finished up my semester, and then just went out there. I didn’t have anything else to hold onto.
Harvard Crimson: So I know that you didn’t have a script, and didn’t know where the story was going, what was that experience like?
SL: It could be frustrating at times, and a little scary. But it allowed you to truly be free and to be open. With her (Arnold), you just had to rely on trust. It was like life. You never really know for sure, you just got to let go of that control. It was a really beautiful thing, and it was cool. Parts of it were like, “I need to know, what do you mean?” It was a range of different things.
Boston Free Press: What was the atmosphere on set like, specifically about the music choices?
SL: It was different depending on who was on set, and who was around. For the music, we all took part in. Even the producers, and people’s sisters knew a lot of music, so we’d ask them, and they would hit us up, and we’d ask each other, “So what do you listen to? What do you want to hear?” it was cool to all be a part of that.
EM: Since most of the cast were found and untrained, do you think that change the way in which Arnold would direct the scenes? Was it more natural, more chaotic, or was it organized?
SL: Yeah, it was chaotic.
EM: That’s rad.
SL: Hell yeah. It was good. Very chaotic, but that is how she thrives. So it was still just how it was meant to be. I don’t think it could have been any differently.
HC: How did you deal with being on the road and having to adapt to a new place so quickly?
SL: You can really know a place when you just chill in their parking lot, and meet that random person on the street, that is how you get a sense of what that place is. We spent a lot of time in parking lots, and on curbsides, smoking a cigarette with a person on the street.
EM: You shot all over Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma. Travelling across those places, did it change your view of the American landscape and what American identity is?
SL: No, because I know that. I am that kid who has been pushed off to the side. I’ve lived in those types of situations. I know those experiences. So, if anything, we knew, “Yeah, we are all in this. This is much bigger than than I even thought.”
EM: Do you think that helped you drop into your character, Star, and mold her around your own experiences? In that respect, did production just feel like real life with some extra cameras?
SL: That’s exactly what it was. It so strongly felt like that. Andrea did an amazing job of creating this little world. We stayed in those motels. We were in that van. We met those people. Those people were people met down the street, their own homes, their own towns.There was no way for us to not be in it.
HC: Is there anything not in the final cut that you wish was?
SL: I mean, there is always stuff missing. I can’t really grasp what that is in particular. I’ve only seen it twice, I don’t think I’m even registering everything yet. I wish more of the van stuf could be in there because you get to see even more of the kids and really learn their souls. I wish more of that made it.
EM: What’s next for you?
SL: Who knows? That’s the beauty of it. My mood could change, or something could happen. Anything could happen! It’s so amazing to say that. I do have a good feeling, and I’m excited to see what happens. But I also enjoy being in this moment.
EM: So this is you? You’re now an actress. These are the vibes you’re going to follow now?
SL: Yeah. I’m going to do it the way that feels good to me. I’ve found that I can. There is always another way, and right now I have found this route, so I am going to make the connections I want to make, and be a part of things I want to be a part of.
EM: At the end of the film, Jake (Shia LaBeouf) , gives your character a turtle, and you go into the water, with the turtle. What does that mean to you?
SL: In that moment, I think, I get to decide what happens with my life. I know that I don’t have to be apart of what I grew up in. Anything can happen now. She looks back and thinks, “I can be a part of this if I want, or not. And I can make these decisions, or not.” In that moment, anything can happen. It was a good feeling to have that as the ending. You just don’t know. It felt really personal to my life.
EM: Was there a moment on set where you thought to yourself, “This is important, this is why I am doing this”?
SL: There was this moment when It was really hard to vulnerable, and Andrea told me, “Think about all the people you get to represent.” and I thought, “Wow. Hell yeah. This is why I got to push past my fears and my own insecurities. I got to share it”.
BFP: So with the rise of Trump, and Trump’s America, the disenfranchised, the laborers, the oil workers, and coal miners. Is there anything that stands out, or connects with those ideas or those fears?
SL: I think he is the reason movies like this need to be made. I think you need to take a second look at everything across this country and realize, this is not a business deal. It’s people’s lives. It’s people’s work, that are being affected. With films like this, you need to take a look and peek around and think about every single person in America. You can see it like a good or a bad business deal. There is too much else involved, it’s too complex. I’m happy it’s coming out at a time like this. I wish I could open Trump’s freaking mind. His world is the exact reason why this film has got to get out there.
EM: Anything else you have on your mind right now?
SL: I’m not trying to be not interactive, it’s just that I’m feeling it. You know? When you have to keep talking about yourself, and keep experiencing stuff, it’s a lot. I don’t want the interview to seem vague or distant or anything.
EM: I don’t think so at all. You’re giving a very real, raw, interview that isn’t typical of stars.
SL: I don’t think of myself as a star. That’s dope. I didn’t want to feel out of place or anything. Thank you. It’s personal to me. It’s a really emotional thing. Sometimes It just hits me in the middle of an interview or when I am talking to someone, and I just don’t know what I am thinking about. I’m moving around so fast. But I appreciate this. It was cool to have you come out.
EM: Where are you off to next?
SL: Paris. It’s so weird to say. I never thought I’d travel like this. Yeah, It should be fun. I’m already tired just thinking about it. I like how we’re just chatting. It feels real. I love talking to people who have different experiences. I’ve never been here either.
EM: Yeah. It’s different, I totally feel that. Thank you for doing this. It was great to meet you.
SL: Thank you. It was nice to talk to you.
Sasha Lane stars in American Honey which is now in select theaters. Check out Emertainment Monthly’s review of the film here.