Tag Archives: Homeland

Claire Danes Covers Allure: Talks MSCL, 90s Style and Body Shaming

18 Nov

Whenever Claire Danes talks about My So-Called Life it lights up a very specific nostalgia spot and so this comment in the December issue of Allure feels like it could be directly referencing me “they loved the show, that it was really meaningful to them when they were going through a bad, chaotic, murky time of being a teenager” Yep all of that is very accurate and the MSCL’s pop culture position stretches far beyond its 18-episode run (it got to the final in Vulture’s recent High School TV Showdown) and Danes discusses how this has impacted her “I feel a real loyalty to my generation. I think your identity is sort of set in your teenage years. And my cultural identity was set at that same time.”

What struck me about the shot used here of Claire Danes and Winona Ryder from 1996 is how I had forgotten that I didn’t just model my hairstyle on Michelle Williams, but Danes was a HUGE influence too – I was too scared to go for the full Winona pixie cut – and this barrette/zigzag side parting became one of my signature looks. In fact I’m actually wearing a barrette right now while typing this as like Danes my hair constantly falls in front of my face and I really need a haircut. This whole slideshow is a delight going from on and off screen style from MSCL to now including some rather dreamy takes about her relationship with Hugh Dancy.

Claire Danes Allure coverThe cover image goes full 90s with a darker lip color (Winona would approve) and this silk Lanvin dress is a stunning shade of blue; even if I would love to see a photo shoot in Danes endorsed overalls. Or maybe a little bit of plaid. But as far as glam editorials go this one is good, if not a little run of the mill. And while one of the topics covered is the much discussed cry face phenomenon, my favorite shot is on the other end of the facial expression scale.

Claire Danes AllureI love a good cry face and one day I will set up the Cry Face Olympics of which there will many contenders from television and film. Danes will be a big hitter and even though I’m sure it is irritating to discuss this part of her acting style in every interview, she has softened her position from annoyance to yeah this is just what I do “I’m very vain about my performance. I want to give as honest a performance as I can. But I’m not so worried about being regarded as beautiful when I’m playing a character.” What she says about body image is also pretty inspiring and how there are all these different factors at play. We can be more than one thing.

“It’s just so ingrained in us, the idea that we should take up the right amount of space, literally and figuratively. I’ve wrestled with this my whole life, as just a person in the world and as somebody who makes images. It’s OK to want to look and feel your best. It’s OK to work at being attractive, whatever that means to you. And it’s also OK to not expect to be defined by that. It’s OK to be powerful in every way: to be big, to take up space. To breathe and thrive.”

For more from the Claire Danes Allure interview including this video where she goes through many of her famous looks such as Angela’s red hair and those angel wings head here.

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W Magazine New Royals Covers: Julianne Moore, Claire Danes, Adam Driver and More

10 Sep

September issues are done with for another year and the traditionally not so extravagant October cover roll-out is here. This doesn’t stop as they have gone big with their New Royals theme featuring six covers with rising stars and those who have long been playing a good game.

The unifying quality shared by these cover stars and those included inside is they are all ‘rule breakers’ with varying degrees of actual rule breaking. One thing that does link them is how fun and in some cases different the editorial choices are and it is one reason why is particularly good at these kinds of spreads; they go all out.

Julianna MooreFirst up is Queen Julianne Moore channeling her Boogie Nights days in full 70s inspired hair, makeup and fur.

Claire DanesSticking with the 70s theme is Claire Danes, but in a far more Cali boho fashion with loose curls and off the shoulder sparkle. This is a far cry from the trench coat Vogue cover which always comes to mind when I think of recentish Danes editorials (even though that was back in 2013 and she’s had warmer features since). Just before we enter Carrie Mathison territory it is good to see her looking so relaxed.

Greta GerwigGreta Gerwig looks just as likely to serve you a 5 o’clock cocktail, a witty put-down or an excellent piece of scandalous gossip in this shot and I love it. Floral pleats, red lip color and those super long lashes add to the drama.

Allison Williams coverThis caused a double take because it really does not look like Allison Williams and while ‘rule breaker’ is not a title I would associate with the Girls star this cover is definitely breaking the mold for Allison Williams cover shoots. And it means she joins #ladywatch2015 in a look which is half Patti Smith “Horses” artwork, half Blondie New Wave.

Adam DriverAnother Girls star and one who is more in line with the rule breakers theme; this is going to be a huge year for Adam Driver with Star Wars: The Force Awakens just a few months away and this image is incredibly striking.

Jourdan DunnA bowl cut is very hard to pull off and supermodel Jourdan Dunn is doing just this and with New York Fashion Week kicking off today we should be seeing a lot more of Dunn in the coming weeks.

Allison WilliamsBonus Allison Williams because she is doing a whole Fairuza Balk Almost Famous thing here and this is a sentence I never contemplated writing.

For more head to W Magazine.

Homeland Season 5 Trailer: You Can Take the Girl Out of the CIA…

27 Aug

Homeland ventures to Europe for season 5 as Germany takes center stage with Carrie getting pulled back into her old life. A breach, paranoia, explosions and a conflicted Carrie Mathison are vital Homeland ingredients and last season went a long way in restoring my faith in the show. It was still messy in places, but Brody’s death breathed new life into the show and its lead character. 

There’s a lot to take in with plenty of new characters who might prompt “Hey! It’s that guy/lady!” including Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings), Sebastian Koch (The Lives of Others) and Alexander Fehling (Inglorious Basterds). 

It also looks like Carrie is back to making excellent art collages or rather figuring out evidence. This isn’t quite the color wall delight, but it’s almost that good.   Plus there is a blink and you’ll miss it maybe hooking up moment between a very divisive pairing. I am firmly in the shipping camp and have been pretty much since his introduction; it isn’t as out of the blue as some suggested last year.

Watch the trailer below and Homeland returns Sunday, October 4. 

Best of TV Costuming 2014: Best of the Rest – From Statement Necklaces to Wedding Gowns

30 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2014″ costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items that we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking, we want to look at this year’s TV through the prism of costume.

So far the end of year “Best of” discussions have covered a lot of individual shows such as The AmericansHannibal and The Good Wife, along with certain trends such as leather jackets and now comes the quick-fire roundup of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s best of everything else such as accessories, special occasion gowns and even modes of transport. It is a chance to address some our favorite shows and looks of 2014.

Best Statement Necklace Wearer

The Good Wife 6.02 DianeThere can only be one winner of this and The Good Wife’s Diane Lockhart wears chain necklaces like no other. She also has a very fine collection of antique broaches/pins and a stare that can stop you dead in your tracks.

Best Fancy Hat 

Hannibal - Season 2Freddie Lounds take on court attire was even better than Hannibal checking out his own butt as he got ready for Will’s trial. This hat reads more day at the races or wedding and isn’t really court appropriate unless she is starring in a remake of His Girl Friday.

Best Casual Hat 

IMG_0770I never thought I would pick a trucker hat to appear on a ‘best of’ but Orphan Black managed to turn one into a symbol of love as Helena shared her first dance and smooch with the adorable Jesse. This love token has been dropped and all she is left with is a beanie to stuff her hair into.

Best Sunglasses

You're the WorstI can’t believe this is the first time I am talking about You’re the Worst on TV Ate My Wardrobe and Gretchen’s face in the shot above sums up how ridiculous that is. Plus her Ray-Ban Opal Yellow Wayfarers are super awesome and perfect for all kinds of hungover sunny days.

Best Sweaters

Gina B99 Wolfie sweaterAnother slam dunk as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Gina has excellent sweater game week in, week out including an excellent double wolfie turtleneck from the most recent episode. There might have been more competition if Robyn hadn’t mysteriously become a character who exists in the off screen wilderness on The Good Wife.

Best Tights

SelfieNobody does patterned tights quite like Selfie’s Eliza and now is also a good time to sadly bid adieu to yet another comedy show that was the perfect mix of funny, sweet and sharp. So long Eliza and Henry; you deserve more than this.

Best Bathrobes

IMG_1161Going from the sanitized hospital location with the stiff blue robes to something more decadent with quality hotel bathrobes and in Masters of Sex’s best episode this season “Fight” Bill and Virginia spent a rather sizable portion laying their souls bare while wearing this garment.

Best Late Night Drinking

HomelandOkay so this one isn’t about what a character is wearing, instead it is the manner in which this scene in the Homeland finale showcased the best of what has been a mostly very enjoyable season leaving behind the mess of almost all things Brody. There’s an initial awkwardness from Lockhart that turns into a moment of warmth thanks to a shared horrific experience and drinking whiskey from paper cups.

Best Mode of Transport Part 1

IMG_1160Lucy’s beautiful blue bike wouldn’t look out of place now as retro bicycles are on trend and it also symbolizes freedom for both Lucy – she doesn’t have to rely on a man for transport – and Thack as he experiences a non-drug induced pleasure when he takes it for a spin on The Knick.

Best Mode of Transport Part 2

The Comeback 2.08The Comeback has been a pleasure to experience even when watching through fingers or with constant Home Alone face and the season finale is just as exceptional. Valerie Cherish is my everything especially when she has to avoid a shit covered front yard and gets carried in her Emmy gown by a shirtless Brad Goreski and her publicist Billy.

Best Hoodie to Hide in

Broad City 1.08 drawstring hoodieThere is a lot to love about the costuming on Broad City and one of Abbi’s most practical pieces is this drawstring hoodie (as with April Ludgate’s mustard hoodie I am still on the hunt for it) which doubles as a Bevers blocker.

Best Dress for Time Travel

Otlander Claire blanketConfession – I still need to watch beyond episode 3 of Outlander and it is one of those shows that I just fell behind on. Claire’s 1940s simple white keyhole dress didn’t seem totally out of place for the 18th century time period she found herself in during the pilot and this allowed her to blend in as best she could without betraying the original post-World War II setting. I really need to catch up on this, don’t I?

Best Wedding Gown

Margaery GOTAnother wedding didn’t go so well (or it actually worked out better for the bride) on Game of Thrones, but that can’t take away from the exquisite beauty and detail of Margaery’s gown. The rose embellished train is stunning.

Best Business Wear 

BBC2 drama The Honourable WomanOn The Honourable Woman Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Nessa Stein has a wardrobe that contains endless billowy silk blouses and everything is super chic and well tailored. Pieces that stand out include the Roland Mouret leopard jacquard dress from the first episode and pretty much every item acts as some kind of armor between Nessa and the messiness of the world she is part of. Yep even those silk blouses represent both supreme business wear and a way to protect herself.

Best Pattern Clashing 

IMG_1014Mindy wins this one hands down.

 

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.

 

 

 

Homeland Season 4 Teaser: Tyranny of Secrets

19 Aug

Season 4 of Homeland is all about Carrie Mathison’s struggles with motherhood. Okay, maybe that’s not quite the central focus of this new promo, but the shot of the adorable framed mother and baby photo seems to indicate that this will come into play particularly when you factor in the baby as Carrie’s last tie to the now departed Brody (which, groan I guess). Juggling work/motherhood is not always the most interesting angle and yet with Carrie I am fascinated with how they will address this conflict. As the first Brodyless season Carrie’s obsession will have to take on a new focus and while it looks like she is rejecting motherhood – she “doesn’t have a choice” – this could be the constant niggle for her this year. That and the amount of casualties from the 14 year war (or 14 one year wars as Saul suggests) are taking their toll on all involved including the new addition of Corey Stoll who already looks flustered and a very sad looking Quinn surrounded by takeout and booze.

Homeland season 4Homeland has struggled to hit the highs of season 1 and like many I have grown frustrated with the show (nothing has been as good as the Carrie color coordinated wall of investigation) sticking with it out a sense of hope that it will get better. The Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin factor (plus my maybe irrational shipping of Carrie and Quinn) is another reason I’ve continued watching and I’ve yet to tire of the Cry Face of Glory as some have. Carrie is rather restrained in this teaser for anyone who is fed up of extreme Carrie. The lack of any Brody family members in this teaser is also satisfying (sorry guys, but your time has come) and I want to see what Homeland can do when the focus is elsewhere.

Homeland returns Sunday, October 5 and the song playing in the teaser is “Hole in the Middle” by Emily Jane White.

 

The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Drama Roundtable

2 Jun

Roundtable season is here and I was waiting for the full video to be available on YouTube before I discussed the drama actress Hollywood Reporter session. The full transcript can be read here, but some of the points don’t come across in the same amusing tone and you’ll also miss out on Sarah Paulson’s John Travolta impression.

One aspect I find fascinating is seeing who out of the group is the most vocal and who only really speaks when specifically addressed. This isn’t to say that some of these women are trying to steal the spotlight from others, it’s just some of them are much more experienced when taking part in these types of discussions or they are naturally more talkative. Having a balance between those who take charge and the more shy participants is a good roundtable attribute as it means there is always going to be someone sharing, but it doesn’t descend into talking over each other chaos.

THR drama actress

The lack of diversity on the cover is troubling and as this excellent piece points out, Jessica Paré (who I adore, definitely not a Megan hater here) is far from being a lead actress on Mad Men. Of course these roundtables are subject to who is available and this automatically rules out Kerry Washington (new baby). Washington shouldn’t be the only flag bearer of diversity and other figures such as Nicole Beharie, Lucy Liu, Danai Gurira and Archie Panjabi are a few that spring to mind. This isn’t just a Hollywood Reporter issue as the forthcoming Variety drama actress panel has a similar problem.

THRLet’s get the other negative talking point out of the way and there is an insistence when it comes to the styling of drama actress covers to go for a pastel color palette (Vanity Fair is another offender), neutrals or monochrome; bold color is seemingly reserved for comedic actresses and this coding is rather tired Also why are they all looking so timid? They all portray women who would not stand for this nervous approach so it’s disappointing to see The Hollywood Reporter go for a shot like this.

Oh and Keri Russell somehow makes the Burberry Prorsum lace and granny panties look work; this is an incredible skill as I recoiled when I first saw this on the runway last September.

*End of rant*

The actual conversation manages to skirt around the “having it all” trap – a man will never get asked about juggling family and work – with children only coming up while they discuss paparazzi intrusion and scenes that have been difficult to shoot. Julianna Margulies’ tip to get rid of paps is to wear the same outfit to the gym as it looks like the photos are from the same day and Claire Danes talks about how aggressive they are when she is with her son, which is super shitty. The difficult scene Danes shot on Homeland occurred when she was seven and a half months pregnant and she was portraying a kidnapped Carrie Mathison. Also shooting love scenes while pregnant are as awkward as you can imagine, especially when the baby is kicking super hard. Baby Danes is not a Carrie/Brody shipper.

One fascinating part of the conversation deals with career lows and while this could end up being rather trite, there is a good cross section of success/failure stories. Both Keri Russell and Claire Danes experienced success in their first shows at a young age (and both won Golden Globes for these performances) and have followed a similar career trajectory. Although Russell doesn’t seem to have experienced the same low points as Danes and seems rather content with how it’s all turned out so far. Danes talks about her acting transition period and how doing Temple Grandin changed her acting outlook “I really didn’t have any tolerance for a limited kind of secondary role. I had to wait for Carrie on Homeland. She was the first character who could match Temple’s dynamism. It was the first time I was scared into action, and that felt great.”

Julianna Margulies has also been on not one, but two hit shows and also had a large period of time between both. Whereas Sarah Paulson was on a show that was expected to do well (Studio 60) and it was canceled after one season “It was not only my expectations I was dealing with; I was dealing with everybody else’s expectations about something that was disappointing for them, too.” Jessica Paré is currently experiencing what it feels like to be on a cultural phenomenon that is coming to an end and it sounds like she’s pretty terrified at the prospect as “I’m going back to that place of not having work and not knowing what’s next.”

Awards success doesn’t always translate into an influx of fascinating offers as Vera Farmiga can attest and after her Oscar nomination for Up in the Air she didn’t get a whole lot of work. With Bates Motel she initially resisted, but after reading the script she realized there was something to the part and reimagining of this story. Later on Farmiga refers to the “sophistication in the writing of female characters on TV” and this group reinforces the notion that there are far stronger and varied roles for women on TV as opposed to film. This also translates to the creative forces behind the camera with Julianna Margulies listing all the women who work on The Good Wife “My unit production manager is a woman, two of my executive producers are women and three of the writers.” Female directors have worked on all of these shows with the exception of American Horror Story.

As I’m currently watching Felicity for the first time and I’ve written about the love triangle in a pre-social media era, a question about this show and how its defining moment in pop culture would have been received on social media is going to peak my interest. Of course it is haircut related and Keri Russell is pretty shoulder shrug about the whole thing as a shocking TV moment “You think a haircut’s going to beat out blow jobs? That’s so tame compared to what’s going on now.”

For more including a bakery venture I want to happen and unfiltered thoughts on John Travolta’s Oscar mispronunciation watch the whole discussion below.

 

Theory’s NYFW Fall 2014 Collection and Homeland’s Carrie Mathison

11 Feb

Claire Danes covered the January issue of Glamour magazine and mentioned that “Carrie wears a lot of Theory. That is her brand. She’s a Theory girl. It’s a lot of navy. A lot of navy.” Upon seeing Theory’s NYFW fall 2014 RTW collection we noticed several outfits that are very much the Carrie Mathison CIA uniform and here they are for your perusal.

Ok maybe Carrie wouldn’t wear some of the skirts (especially ones that are as sheer as this), but hey maybe she’ll want to try something new. The color palette favors the muted tones that Carrie prefers including the aforementioned navy.

Theory

Claire Danes Covers Glamour: Talks Cry Face, Feminism and Carrie’s Wardrobe

4 Dec

There’s enough time for one more magazine for Claire Danes to cover before the end of the year and Glamour’s first 2014 issue goes to the Homeland star. For any regular visitors you will know that Danes is a TV Ate My Wardrobe favorite and we’re always pleased with how forthcoming she is in interviews. In Glamour she discusses both personal and work related aspects of her life including her much memed cry face.

Glamour Claire DanesOne question that can produce a lot of umming and ahing from female celebrities is “Are you a feminist?” Is it because they worry about alienating some fans? Or do they simply think that feminism equates to being a man hater? Whatever the reason it is frustrating, so it’s always refreshing to see someone answer this question with clarity and passion:

“I am a feminist. And I’m so glad that Lena Dunham exists, because she is one too, and she’s quite vocal about it. Yes, women have more freedom and more influence than ever, but it’s hardly equal. It’s just not. It’s really f–king crazy. I’m sorry I’m cursing. But it’s wild that women are underrepresented [in Hollywood]. I have real anxiety about directing, and that’s something to question and challenge and correct.”

I mean not everyone will necessarily be happy with the Dunham reference as she is incredibly polarizing, but Danes has been a vehement supporter of the Girls creator – she wrote about Dunham earlier this year for Time magazine and they had this super cute Seacrest interrupting moment together on the Emmy red carpet:

Claire Danes’ cry face has been mesmerizing since Angela Chase (over at This Was TV we talked about it a lot) and when her chin begins to quiver it pretty much guarantees that I will get the misty eyes. In past interviews Danes has come across as a tad annoyed at the attention this gets, this isn’t so much the case this time as she talks about it in terms of the character she is portraying “I think people are made uncomfortable by uncensored expressions of emotion. But, you know, that’s my job. I don’t have those fears. I really have never been concerned about being beautiful on-screen. That’s just not my jam. I’m concerned about it if I’m playing a beautiful character. But it’s not relevant for Carrie.”

03-claire-danes-glamour-cover-jeans-puppy-w724

Oh hey it’s a super cute dog.

Moving on to Carrie’s wardrobe and the brand they favor for this character “Carrie wears a lot of Theory. That is her brand. She’s a Theory girl. It’s a lot of navy. A lot of navy. I actually forget how to wear my own clothing when I’m filming because I wear basically the same pair of jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt and then change out of it and immediately into my pantsuit.” It makes sense for who Carrie is as a character that her clothes are very functional as her life is chaotic enough; can you imagine if they put her in the pattern clashing costumes of Mindy Lahiri? Or all the polka dots of Jess Day? Now I want to create paper dolls to switch outfits between sitcom and drama characters. Sounds like a job for Kyle Hilton.

For more Claire Danes in Glamour you can pick up an issue of the magazine on newsstands December 10.

Claire Danes Talks Researching Carrie Mathison and Watching My So-Called Life

5 Nov

Claire Danes covers the new issue of Interview magazine and as the format of these Q&A’s has another star performing the role of interviewer the direction of the conversation can differ from the usual cover story fare. Dustin Hoffman is at the helm of this interview and it’s not surprising that it reveals more about the acting process than you would find in either of Danes’ Vogue pieces from this year. The photo shoot has drawn a lot of attention (Danes is topless, but covered in one shot) and these photographs are stunning, but it’s TV focused discussion that has me enthralled as she talks about HomelandTemple Grandin and My So-Called Life.

Claire Danes Interview MagazineWhile I have found Homeland frustrating at times and this season has been incredibly problematic with the reliance on manic Carrie and the big old twist, it seems that Danes also has concerns with how Carrie’s condition is portrayed “Yeah. At first, I was concerned that it would just be a gimmick. I still am. I’m always anxious about it because it’s fun to see crazy Carrie. She’s exciting, you know? And this is entertainment—there’s no way we could see what goes into just the everyday slog for her of remaining afloat.”

When Carrie spirals in season 1 “it was kind of a euphoric mania, and that was interesting because I found that I got a bit of a contact high from it—It was exhausting, but it was also exhilarating.” This year has been more of a challenge and even though Danes has been playing this character for three years it’s a completely different type of mania and Danes’ personal situation is different too “I had just come out of my mommy cocoon and my cushy, mushy love planet. So entering that mania at that point was not as enjoyable.”

Danes is big into her research with this role and when she played Temple Grandin and Dustin Hoffman reveals that he met with Grandin when he was preparing for Rain Man. One of Danes’ best friends is a therapist and so she discussed Carrie’s condition with her, but what Danes really wanted was to witness someone in a manic state. Danes turned to YouTube as a place to research bipolar disorder and she studied videos of people in a manic state she believes that “a lot of these people are also very eager to share what they’re going through because I’m sure it is quite isolating and scary at times.” It’s important to portray something like this with as much accuracy as possible and no one version of this disorder is going to be identical to another. With Temple Grandin it was a less abstract experience as she met Grandin and she could also read her books.

img-claire-danes_163232192423

The one character that really required no research was Angela Chase and Danes talks with fondness for this show and this experience:

“It’s kind of fun to watch My So-Called Life when it comes on, though. There are only 19 episodes, which actually seems like a lot now that I do 12 episodes a season on Homeland. But it was a strange, cult thing where we didn’t even do a full season, but the episodes that we did do got picked up and were rerun by a bunch of different cable networks, so the show was on for years and years and years—and was discovered by different generations, which was extraordinary. I guess I knew it was special back then, too, but it was my first big gig, so I had no sense of context. But I became close with a lot of people involved—and I am still. It was a seminal experience for me, both professionally and personally. The writer of the show, Winnie Holzman, is still a very dear friend of mine. She’s kind of my mentor—my fairy godmother, I call her. But that was wild because I was the same age as the character, and there was an incredible symmetry between us—unlike Carrie Mathison, who in no way resembles me. I would be the worst case officer on the planet. I am so ill suited to Carrie’s vocation. But Angela Chase was just another high school student.”

Hoffman brings up a photo shoot that Danes did with Spike Jonze for Interview magazine when she was 15 and while this isn’t the photo they talk about, there is something so appealing about the series of facial expressions in the shot below.

Claire Danes at 15It’s essentially a series of selfies and the one thing that always strikes me about Danes is that she has no vanity when it comes to how she uses her face. Yes she is beautiful, but she doesn’t just go for the shots that make her look this way and it’s why her cry face is much discussed and so damn good. These shots are the kind of dumb shit that most 15 -year-olds with a camera would do and thankfully it’s not a series of attempts at a sexy pout. She does recall this shoot and how Jonze asked her to “Be sexy” and she ended up doing this goofy finger point because she didn’t know how to pose in this way. Those plastic butterfly clips are everything.

Since starting Homeland Danes hasn’t played anyone else and it’s something that she is itching to do “I would really like to play another character to deviate from Carrie for a second just because I’m starting to think that acting is this, and while this is one of the most fulfilling expressions of acting that I’ve found, it’s not why I do it. It’s not it. I think I’d appreciate her even more if I could take a little vacation from her and inhabit somebody else for a while.”

Working in TV can be all consuming because of the long work hours and the high output. This also means learning lines at a rapid rate and Danes shares this process with husband Hugh Dancy who is currently on Hannibal “We’re always running lines with each other. We’ll run lines with each other on the phone. I run lines with him in taxicabs.” I am now picturing a conversation that only involves lines from Will Graham and Carrie Mathison and it’s wonderful.

One general note on the editorial stylings as that is a ’90s looking rose brown lip color that is Danes is rocking.

To read the whole interview head here.

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