Claire Danes Covers Harper’s Bazaar: Talks Homeland, ‘Cry Face’ and Motherhood

4 Sep

Last month we discussed the season 4 promo of Homeland noting that motherhood could be a central theme; at the time I wasn’t sure if I was reading too much into the framed baby shot and it turns out that maybe I wasn’t overreaching as this aspect is mentioned in Claire Danes’ cover story for the October issue of UK Harper’s Bazaar. Danes chats about the big Homeland shift, how she feels about the often referenced ‘cry face,’ real life motherhood and how her dance training informs her acting. Plus she’s rather candid about her relationship with husband Hugh Dancy.

claire danes HBThe cover shot is pretty spectacular opting for the black and white face shot – no it’s not revolutionary, but it’s still a striking photograph – and this is an occasion where I’d like to see less cover text. The text does at least frame the shot and the use of pink and yellow enhances this. Focusing on “Life After Brody” is one aspect of the interview and it’s only natural that Danes is feeling his loss this season. She mentions how it’s “going to be hard and sad. I loved working with him and he carried half the weight of the show. So I’m a little bit daunted about what that means for me.” This might be the case on the acting side, but for me as a viewer in the third season Mandy Patinkin is the natural co-lead, particularly as Brody didn’t show up until halfway through. For too long Homeland was bogged down with what the producers believed to be a Romeo and Juliet story and one that had lost any appeal by the somewhat maligned third season (*sidenote* I am a self-confessed Carrie/Quinn shipper).

Danes talks about comparisons she can draw between herself and Carrie including their shared obsessiveness, restlessness and how they are both rather earnest, however Danes is goofy whereas Carrie is far from this. Recent motherhood is something Danes and Carrie share; Homeland producer Meredith Stiehm mentions how becoming a parent and the adjustment that comes with this was something they wanted to explore “We thought Carrie would certainly struggle with it.” In the Homeland preview discussion I pointed out that juggling work and babies isn’t always the most interesting angle, with Carrie I think it could provide a very different take and response to this subject.

Talking about the ‘cry face’ phenomenon is something Claire Danes is clearly not all that comfortable with and as I have discussed this aspect of her performance (including in the recent Homeland chat) let’s take a look at the full quote:

“I’m surprised it’s so surprising. I have my guy, who thinks I’m pretty enough in our life together, so I don’t need to be seducing the audience that way. I think it’s also just my style, what I like in creative work, what I’ve always been attracted to, even as a little girl. I danced as a kid, that’s how I arrived at acting, and I took a class with a woman called Ellen Robbins. It was modern dance, so already a little raw. And I always had an appreciation for the macabre. We would do these improvisations and I remember one time, I was maybe 11 or 12, I was into grotesque movement, and I decided to do a dance where I was just doing a diagonal across stage, doing these weird movements and I landed and I just spat on the floor, like totally pretentious performance art. But it was great. I liked the ugly even as a kid, and I think that has stayed with me now.”

I love that she brings it back to dance – I’ve seen Keri Russell talk about dance in a similar manner – and that she lets it all go screen. As I pointed out during this My So-Called Life chat* after Danes talked ‘cry face’ in an Elle interview for me pointing it out is nothing but praise and to reiterate “your chin quiver makes my chin quiver.”

*It’s worth noting that the episode in question “Betrayal” topped Vulture’s recent 100 Best Episodes of the 1994-1995 TV Season and this list is full of many, many TV gems that helped shape the way I watch TV. 

Claire Danes Harpers Bazaar

Digging this gorgeous Zac Posen gown and the ‘who me?’ pose.

Now for something more adorable with these Hugh Dancy related comments “I’m genuinely in love with him. And I like hard things. You know, marriage is hard, but I’m up for it. I don’t do anything casually so dating is not for me. I would be marrying everyone I was with. When I met Hugh I was single for the first time and really looking forward to it, kind of bragging, “I’m going to rock this.” Then I met Hugh… But I like getting into [a relationship]. It’s more fun [than being single]. There’s so much opportunity if you are interested in each other to go further. It’s kind of a beautiful exercise.”

Returning to the subject of dance and this is one area where she might excel a bit too much “I’m competitive, yeah. I might be a better dancer. We dance together a lot. But when I get too drunk I get very bossy. It’s one of my least attractive qualities. My friend had a birthday party on a boat and without irony I was instructing my friends to dance with the waves. Arghhh!”

For more from this interview and photo shoot head over to Harper’s Bazaar. The October issue is on newsstands (physical and digital) now.





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