Claire Danes Isn’t Mad About Anne Hathaway’s Homeland Spoof

1Photo: BEImages/Matt Baron
My So-Called Life only lasted a single season, but it was enough to win Claire Danes a Golden Globe and launch her career to three more wins: one for HBO movie Temple Grandin, and two for her red-hot series, Homeland. Since then, this Yale-trained thespian was Juliet to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo (remember that little movie?) and has become a paean to laid-back cool.
Now, however, she is moving forward and focusing on her blockbuster show, while adjusting to life as a new mom. These days, she’s busy taking care of her new baby and hubby, Hugh Dancy, when she’s not on the set of Homeland. But, she still manages to find time for a provocative Vogue shoot now and again, and catch up on the rare SNL episode (especially when they include spoofs of her played by Miss Anne Hathaway). Speaking of which, what did she think of Hathaway's turn as Carrie?

She is such a crazy character, but we can’t help rooting for her.

“Carrie is always sitting on, you know, her own personal ticking bomb. It's just an impossible dilemma because she is not great on the meds and she's even worse off of them. But, there's a really great sweet spot in the middle of those two states that she's always trying to land on where she's exceptionally high performing, and we get to enjoy her process of finding that balance. It's pretty bleak in the beginning. She's gone off her meds for all sorts of reasons, which I think she believes strongly in. But, it's always a little precarious. Hugh and I, on the screen, we are tapped out, and we are incredibly dull by the time we get back home."

Do you feel there's a point at which this is just going to become so exhausting that you're going to need a year off?

“I keep thinking no way can they go further. No way. Their imaginations must be tapped out at this point. I mean, I really am in awe of what they can do, and every season is just that much more bold and brave and involved and surprising, and so it's so much fun. It feels so, so lucky, so lucky.”

Did you see the Saturday Night Live spoof of Homeland? And what did you think of Anne Hathaway's Carrie?

“I'm friendly with Anne. And I was in Toronto at the time with Hugh, who's doing Hannibal. And I got a series of texts from her saying, you know, 'Hi, so I'm hosting SNL and I really hope we can still be friends.' And then sent me a big bouquet of flowers. And this is all before it aired, and I was like oh, shhh*t. I don't know if I want to watch this. She's way too nice about it. But then I did get a little bit curious and I tried to look it up on my computer and I literally couldn't figure it out, because somehow being in Canada created some difficulty. I enjoyed her flowers and I don't think I need to look at that. But, no, I mean, it's all in good fun. And actually, to be honest, I was very flattered, really, genuinely. To be parodied on SNL means, oh, boy, we are relevant. We're in the zeitgeist. We're cool, cool enough to make fun of.”

Both Temple Grandin and this show got a tremendous amount of praise. But you said that you couldn't get a job in the year between Temple Grandin and this show.

“There was a kind of disconnect and that was confusing when people really did seem to appreciate Temple Grandin and even my performance within it. And I think a couple things were going on. One, I was so inspired by that role and so challenged by it and I felt like I really had to push myself. And I think I felt energized and emboldened by that and ready to take on a similar kind of challenge. I didn't have patience for regular old stuff and there was kind of a dearth of material in general in that moment for whatever reason. But it all worked out in the end. And also, I guess I had been at it long enough to know that just to do a job for the sake of it is really a bad idea. It's never really satisfying and it's better to just kind of cope with that frustration and wait for something that is generally enticing.”

Was there really a moment where you thought about not acting and being a decorator?

“I was kind of joking. We're freelance people, artists. Dare I say artists. And that's the risk of what we do. And people say, ‘Oh, gosh. You know, do you feel imprisoned by your contract to Homeland?’ And I'm like, well, no, it's like great insurance. I know that at least once a year I'm going to get to do really stimulating, worthwhile work. And it starts to feel like my studio a little bit. We're just so dependent on other factors in a way that musicians aren't, painters aren't.”

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