Claire Danes Stardust Interview

Claire Danes Stardust Interview
She's been away from the spotlight recently but with two new films and a Broadway debut coming up, Claire Danes is very much back in the spotlight. Gaynor Flynn caught up with the young actress recently in London to chat to her about her new film Stardust.

Gaynor Flynn: This is a lovely old fashioned, romantic story and it does make you think about true love, everlasting love. Are you a believer?

Claire Danes: Umm. I don't know. I'm unresolved as I think most of us are. Lately I've been in the mood to believe that we are the masters of our destiny and basically employ our smarts and our imagination to create a life that is rich and satisfying but then there are times when I think oh no maybe that wasn't just a coincidence, that was just too weird to be coincidental, so I vacillate but it is nice to imagine that there is some star crossed lover out there for us all.

Gaynor Flynn: You've made some really interesting choices in your career. How much of that is strategic and how much of that is you just following your instincts?

Claire Danes: The boring but true answer is that its probably a combination of both but I think I was much less discriminating when I was younger and I've said this before but I really wasn't sure of what movies I wanted to go see never mind what movies I wanted to make. I didn't have a sensibility or a value system which I've kind of developed over the years as we do as we mature and I took some time out to go to college, I went to Yale for two years and didn't act for a total of three years and during that time I just kind of got a better understanding of who I was and what kind of acting I wanted to do and what kind of entertainment I wanted to help create. But you know actors interpret other people's ideas, we're very passive actually, so much of it is just not up to us, especially in film even our roles are filtered through so many different people, the director the editor. What ends up on the screen is not necessarily what we intended to do.

Gaynor Flynn: You've been out of the spotlight recently, which is what you prefer, however this film will put you right back into it. Was that something that worried you?

Claire Danes: I was definitely aware of the scope of the project and I was so excited about having the opportunity to finally realise my six year old fantasy of playing a unicorn riding princess basically but there's no way to prepare yourself for changes of this kind and its so different in America right now. The media culture has gotten really extreme, well tabloid culture really and there's just such a voracious appetite for gossip so you don't have to be all that successful or that famous to be trailed by paparazzi. It's become the norm and it's a drag and it's not what I'm good at and it's not what I'm doing this for but it's true that attention just vacillates. Right now I'm noticing that people are noticing me more in America because the Evening movie I did earlier has just come out and now Stardust so awareness has risen but it'll die down again too.

Gaynor Flynn: Do you try and take time off in between films to have a break from all the attention?

Claire Danes: It's not really because of that. I just get tired and I need to go and live a bit so that I have something to reflect on and use in my work but yeah I'm going to do a play, very soon I'm doing Pygmalion on Broadway which is my debut.

Gaynor Flynn: That must be slightly terrifying?

Claire Danes: Oh my god are you kidding? Yeah it's ridiculously frightening.

Gaynor Flynn: What do you like to do in between films?

Claire Danes: I go home basically, to New York, I grew up there and live there still and try and see as much of my friends as possible and share in their lives. It's very lonely to be on film sets, often in some remote location and I miss being an active participant in a lot of my friend's lives. Like they'll go off and get married and have babies and things without me being there.

Gaynor Flynn: What did you most enjoy about playing Yvaine?

Claire Danes: I enjoyed her wit and her bravery and I like how she melts when she falls in love. Initially she's frightened and defensive and hard and becomes more vulnerable. I enjoyed charting that transition and I love that speech that she delivers to the mouse. I thought that was a wonderful piece of writing. It's not very often that you get to deliver a monologue like that in the movies.

Gaynor Flynn: What was it like playing against Charlie Cox the newcomer?

Claire Danes: He didn't seem very new to me. He seemed incredibly experienced. He's really, really talented and just has a lovely quality he's very tender, and present and open and just great fun as an actor. And he's just so charming and such a decent guy and that's not always true that the person matches up with the talent but in this case it does. I was so lucky to share so many of my scenes with him and he's a great friend and I relied heavily on him throughout.

Gaynor Flynn: Did you enjoy the romantic scenes?

Claire Danes: Well we kind of shot those later on after we'd already become really good friends so it was just sort of a laugh. I mean it was really odd to find myself kissing Charlie suddenly but it was fine. He's a very good kisser.

Gaynor Flynn: In the past you've mentioned that Jodie Foster has been an inspiration to you and she has taken a step away from acting and moved into other areas. Is that something you are considering doing as well?

Claire Danes: I have allowed myself to entertain that possibility especially when I went to college. l knew that I was young and hadn't really explored all of my interests as fully as possible so I wasn't entirely sure if I was acting out of habit or real desire and sure enough the latter proved to be true but I just feel safer now, being certain of that. And I had fun in college because I didn't really go to high school, I was basically tutored on set and I managed to get a fairly decent education but I kind of sacrificed a lot of, you know I was lonely I wanted to make some friends off of a movie set.

Gaynor Flynn: How did you make friends at Yale give that you were already famous?

Claire Danes: That's okay because that gets really boring really fast. Also Yale attracts very special people and they were all on the fringes of their communities, they were sort of extraordinary and a little odd so I was just another variety of odd, so I fit in pretty easily. And most of them were kind of the stars of their high schools back home, they were not so fazed.

Gaynor Flynn: Do you see yourself generating your own material like Jodie Foster?

Claire Danes: I don't know. It's frustrating having so little control as an actor so I think people who have spent their lives on movie on sets have a desire to exert their vision more completely but no that doesn't really appeal to me. I probably would paint before I would direct. My parents ware visual artists so I grew up drawing and things and I've been dancing again the last four years and that's been really great and I can return to that in time, at my own discretion and I have much more control over that.

Gaynor Flynn: So much is made of actress's looks and weight these days, is that something that worries you?

Claire Danes: Well I try not to but like most people I do of course. But you know again its something that you have to keep in perspective otherwise it can drive you mad. I eat in moderation and try not to worry about it. I mean I'm young, healthy and I think every now and then it's good to indulge the soul.

Gaynor Flynn: Do you actually exercise?

Claire Danes: I do, but more for mental relaxation than anything else. As I said I've started dancing again so I find that if I'm quite active naturally I don't need to do too much outside of that. I know people who go to the gym religiously for hours and hours a day and have personal trainers and motivational coaches, and dieticians and it just goes on and on. I'm too lazy for all that. I mean I love doing things that are physical but that are part of my normal day. The idea of going to a gym and running on a treadmill is boring to me. I've done it, when I've had to like for a role. Terminator 3 was extremely physical so that was okay. And having said that film is a visual medium so appearance is relevant, but I try not to get obsessive about it.

Gaynor Flynn: You're break through was on My So Called Life and today they have really great TV shows, would you go back to a TV show?

Claire Danes: Maybe, great television is just incredible. I'm really obsessed with a show called The Wire right now which is really, really smart and just beautifully performed so I mean I'm definitely not snobbish about television and I think every medium has its virtues and its strengths and I also like how deeply you can dig into one character over a period of time. I really knew who that Angela character was over time and I really felt like I had a sense of authority over her. In television you often have the same writers but different directors so you do sort of have more control in television than you do in film which can be appealing and it can also provide some stability which is also appealing.

Gaynor Flynn: Would you take a year out to be in a show like The Wire?

Claire Danes: Oh god I would just love to do something. I would love to have a little bit in The Wire, I met my friend Tom who directed The Station Agent and he's also an actor and discovered that he had a part in the last season of The Wire and I suddenly got goofy around him. I was star struck, but right now I'm liking having a chance to go from one job to another and I'm able to have a series of adventures because I'm young and basically single.

Gaynor Flynn: Basically?

Claire Danes: Yeah well I have a boyfriend but I don't have a family.

Gaynor Flynn: Have you thought about what it's going to be like growing old in Hollywood as a woman?

Claire Danes: Well I can't concern too much with that because again I don't have too much control. Of course, it sounds like a silly and obvious statement and as I said before it is a visual medium and physical appearance is relevant but I've been very lucky in that I've been able to play beautiful characters and plain characters and I've been able to maintain that fluidity so that's very fortunate, we'll see what happens when I age but right now, I'm liking that I can be malleable.

Gaynor Flynn: Have you got anything else lined up after you finish Pygmalion?

Claire Danes: No. Christmas shopping.


Starring: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller, Peter O'Toole, Ricky Gervais, Billy Whitelaw, Jason Flemyng
Director: Matthew Vaughn

Stardust takes audiences on an adventure that begins in England and ends up in a magical world. A young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) tries to win the heart of village beauty (Sienna Miller) by promising to bring her a falling star. His journey takes him beyond the walls of his village to a mysterious and forbidden land.

Tristan soon discovers that the fallen star is not at all what he expectedbut a spirited young woman (Claire Danes) injured by her cosmic tumble. Now,she is in terrible danger - sought after by colossal powers including theKing's (Peter O'Toole) scheming sons for whom only she can secure thethrone, and a chillingly powerful witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) desperate to usethe star to achieve eternal youth and beauty.

As Tristan sets out to protect the star, his journey will bring incredibleencounters with a pirate captain (Robert De Niro) and a shady trader (RickyGervais), among other surprises. But if he can survive by his wits and thestrength of his newfound love, Tristan will also uncover the secret key tohis own identity and a fate beyond his wildest dreams.

Stardust is released in cinemas September 20


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