Tag Archives: Winnie Holzman

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

24 Sep

The Emmys are over for another year – for a plethora of awards dress and ladysuits coverage head here – and this “Out of the Box” is all about everything else that has been going on this week with chat show appearances, movie premieres and London Fashion Week. September continues to be the busiest of fashion months and we still can’t get enough.

Lupita Nyong'o ColbertLupita Nyong’o looks super cool in a pinstripe Alessandra Rich jumpsuit on her way into The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last Friday. The Paul Andrews gold pumps, sunglasses and Zac Posen bag enhance the chic factor even further and Lupita proves once again that she can work both magazine editorials and IRL fashion moments.

Kerry WashingtonGoing for something effortless after a striking Emmy gown is Kerry Washington at Jimmy Kimmel Live! (she wore something different on the show) wearing Mother Denim jeans, Everlane shoes and a Joie top. Choosing Olivia Pope’s favorite bag brand with Prada, but completely separating herself from this character with Miu Miu tortoiseshell sunglasses and neon pink lip color (my personal favorite is Hourglass).

Emily BluntFall is here but that doesn’t mean all things colorful should be packed away, especially when attending the San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain where it isn’t quite sweater weather. Emily Blunt is a TV Ate My Wardrobe favorite for so many reasons and one of those is her penchant for bold sartorial choices. At this Sicario photocall she wears bright pink Jimmy Choo sandals with an even more colorful Jonathan Saunders matching striped top and skirt.

Michelle WilliamsThe Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition launched as part of London Fashion Week with many stars attending the event. Michelle Williams is one of the faces of this brand – her print ads are always a highlight – and unlike some other celeb/designer pairings this one is a perfect fit; building on Williams’ twee sensibilities and giving her an edge. Just look at those boots.

Alicia VikanderAlicia Vikander is a more recent addition to the Louis Vuitton brand and she is already killing it; from custom gowns to more casual affairs. This is another glam, but relaxed take and I have a feeling we are going to see Vikander in Louis Vuitton a lot come awards season.

Clemence PoesyA sequin block color sweater for Clémence Poésy and this Louis Vuitton event is giving me such a hankering for a new pair of boots.
Claire DanesFor all we make of Claire Danes and her amazing cry face, she also has a really great laugh face. Basically she is adept at showing emotion and the one she typically has to do with the characters she portrays is anguish. Yesterday Danes got to show the other side when she was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Oscar de la Renta frock she wore is ideal for a daytime dress-up event; super pretty and relaxed.

Claire Danes starP.S. Yes I yelped when I saw Bess Armstrong standing proud next to her one-time onscreen daughter. I knew Patty and Angela would be fine in the end. See also My So-Called Life creator Winnie Holzman standing on the other side of Danes. Oh hey Homeland’s Alex Gansa, you are fine too (but part of me really wishes it was another MSCL star like Devon Odessa, A.J. Langer or Wilson Cruz).

From My So-Called Life to Homeland: The Dichotomy of Claire Danes

4 Sep

In this week’s New Yorker there is an extensive Claire Danes profile which explores her desire to act from an early age, the inherent contrasting elements of the characters she plays and how she got the lead roles on Homeland and as Angela Chase. It’s not surprising for anyone that reads this blog or who has read any of the My So-Called Life discussions over at This Was TV as to how much this show and character mean to me. It came along when I was the same age as Angela and connected in a way that no show had done in the past and this will surpass the time limit on this current spate of ’90s nostalgia.

MSCL ep 2 Angela

The casting process for My So-Called Life and how it was kismet that Danes walked into the audition room and blew them all away at the age of 13 is not something I have previously seen discussed. It was down to Danes and Alicia Silverstone and Silverstone was emancipated and so could work long hours, something that Danes couldn’t do. Despite the advantages of Silverstone’s availability they went the other way and instead turned Angela’s parents Patty and Graham into more central figures; a move that increased the storytelling spectrum of the show. Even though I hated Patty when I originally watched the show, now that I am not a teenager there is something very special about the portrayal of this mother/daughter relationship.

One defining aspect of this profile is the repetition of the dichotomy that Danes possesses in her acting as she consistently plays characters with dueling attributes and she can manipulate her acting style for a multi-layered performance. When they talk about why she was chosen over Alicia Silverstone they mention that Silverstone was too pretty and that “You can’t put that face in what’s been written for this girl.” Alternatively with Danes “her face could transform in an instant from beautiful to ordinary.” The relationship between creator Winnie Holzman and Claire Danes developed from this place Richard Kramer (who worked on MSCL) remarks “Winnie wouldn’t be Winnie without Claire. And Claire wouldn’t be Claire without Winnie. There was something mythological about their meeting.”

MSCL angela bed

There’s another aspect of duality when it comes to Claire Danes and Angela Chase as Danes was experiencing the very same teen issues as her character. Quite often someone who is much older plays a teen role (generally this is due to the legal working hours) and so it is rare to find a teen character played by a teen actor – there are exceptions of course such as Aimee Teegarden of Friday Night Lights and Taylor Momsen on Gossip Girl. This allowed Danes to channel her bad experiences through Angela “I remember being so relieved that I had an opportunity to voice my complaints about my time at school so perfectly and so eloquently, with the right amount of rage and humor.”

Carrie Mathison Season 3 Homeland

Homeland returns for season 3 in a few weeks and the “tsunami of emotions” that Danes brings to Carrie Mathison will be back in full force. The article reveals that Homeland creators Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa had seen Danes in Temple Grandin and were impressed that she “walked the razor’s edge between competence and unbalance.” This was something that their heroine required and the timing was perfect as Danes was suffering a slump in the projects she was being offered (this reiterates the point she made in her recent Vogue interview).

homeland photo

Dealing with personal and professional problems is at the heart of who Carrie is and her interactions with Brody are an extreme version of this. Carrie is constantly being second guessed and while at times she is completely unreliable, she is also incredible at her job. It’s about the marriage of both of these things and there is a reason why Danes has won so many awards as she gives such a believable and heartbreaking portrayal of a character teetering on the edge of oblivion. While Homeland had a dip in form last season, Danes has always been consistently brilliant. There is no holding back when it comes emotional intensity and this can be seen throughout Danes’ career; it’s why she can deliver a variety of striking performances that have the ability to make your soul hurt.

One final contrasting element that you might not expect from someone who picks such intense characters is that Claire Danes loves arts and crafts. This never fails to makes me smile especially when you factor in who her husband is and picture Carrie Mathison and Will Graham creating exotic Easter eggs together.

To read the rest of this extensive profile head here.

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