Claire Danes on Turning Down a Role at 12 and Doing Research for Her ‘Homeland’ Character on YouTube

claire-danes-homelandClaire Danes is up for an Emmy for her role on the Showtime drama Homeland.  The actress has already enjoyed a long career, including playing teenager Angela Chase on the much-beloved series My So-Called Life and winning a Golden Globe and an Emmy for Temple Grandin.

“I got an agent when I was 12, and I started working in more amateur productions well before that,” she told NPR.  “But even as a kid, I never felt like a kid actor, you know?  I always took myself kind of absurdly seriously.  My first offer was when I was 12, and it was for a soap opera.  And I turned it down because I knew that I was an unformed actor, and I didn’t want to develop bad habits.”

That decision has certainly paid off for Danes, who has often been praised for her intense performances.  “I focus on the intention of the character and whatever thoughts and feelings she’s having, and they seem to kind of naturally communicate themselves on the face,” she said.  “But I have to say that my dad’s face is very malleable.  He’s barely got any cartilage in his face.  I think I maybe inherited that Play-Doh-like physicality from him.”

Danes’ acting is also stronger because of the preparation she does for her roles, including that of bipolar CIA Agent Carrie Mathison on Homeland.  “I had to do a lot of research for this role,” the actress said.  “And actually, I found great material on YouTube.  There was a lot of footage of people who recorded themselves when they were in manic states.  I think they were probably up in the middle of the night and lonely and, you know, needed to talk.  So they talked to the camera.  So I gorged on sort of manic confessionals on YouTube.

“They talk at a very fast clip.  But, you know, it’s not a strictly unpleasant phenomenon.  A lot of people are reluctant to treat themselves because they’re so protective of those manic highs.”

The new season of Homeland airs on Showtime, September 30 at 10 p.m.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/zach-galifianakis-baskets.jpg
Zach Galifianakis on ‘Baskets’: “Not to sound too pretentious or actor-y but you want to kind of challenge yourself”
"As a comic — as a fat, bearded comic — you can paint yourself into a corner" - Zach Galifianakis
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Michael-Shannon-Nocturnal-Animals.jpg
Michael Shannon on ‘Nocturnal Animals’: “From Day 1, I felt pretty locked into [the character]. It’s pretty mysterious”
"When you’ve got really great writing, it makes it easy." - Michael Shannon
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/giovanni-ribisi-sneaky-pete.jpg
Why Giovanni Ribisi Never Intended to Do a Show Like ‘Sneaky Pete’ and When He Finally Decided to “Chase Being an Actor”
"A friend of mine introduced me to the Actors Studio and Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro and Gary Oldman. It really was a revolution for me." - Giovanni Ribisi
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/tobias-menzies-outlander.jpg
Outlander’s Tobias Menzies on Preparation and the “Most Precious Commodity” of Filmmaking
Tobias Menzies: "One of the great luxuries when you have a bit of time is that you can give yourself a few different routes through a scene"
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/watch-conversations-with-miles-t.jpg
Watch: Conversations with Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart of ‘Bleed for This’
Teller and Eckhart speak about preparing to portray a boxer and his trainer in this inspirational comeback story.