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Claire Danes Actress

Claire Danes

The blonde beauty is a versatile actress with an impressive resume, that includes diverse movies ranging from romantic "Romeo & Juliet" to action packed "Terminator 3". Since 1994, audiences have watched as Claire Danes has matured from awkward teen to one of the most popular actresses of her generation. Whether portraying the angst-ridden Angela Chase on My So-Called Life or trailer park trash in Oliver Stone's U-Turn, Danes has consistently displayed an uncommon maturity and insight in her performances that belies her relative inexperience. Her ability has won over countless critics and fans and has allowed her the opportunity to work with luminaries ranging from Jeanne Moreau to Jodie Foster and Francis Ford Coppola. Claire Catherine Danes was born April 12, 1979 in New York City and began acting shortly thereafter. With the support of her artistically-inclined parents (a painter mother and photographer father), Danes enrolled in an acting class at the Lee Strasberg Studio when she was nine years old. After attending the Professional Performing Arts School for the sixth and seventh grade, she went to Los Angeles in the hopes of being cast in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (Danes had previously appeared in an episode of Law and Order and in Dreams of Love, an obscure film produced by Milos Forman). While she was waiting for Spielberg's decision, serendipity struck in the form of the makers of a new TV show called My So-Called Life, who wanted Danes to star in their production. Danes agreed to do the show after turning down the role that Spielberg had decided to give her. Always someone interested in learning, Danes rejected Spielberg's offer because she wouldn't be able to receive schooling in Poland, where the movie was to be filmed.

Premiering in 1994, My So-Called Life lasted only a couple of seasons, but garnered critical praise and a cult following during its brief lifetime. Moreover, it made Danes, if not a star, then a star in the making. Hollywood opened its bleary eyes and took notice, and soon Danes was being touted as the Next Big Thing. During the run of My So-Called Life, Danes starred as the saintly, sickly Beth in Gillian Armstrong's adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women (1994). The film was a success, and allowed Danes to perform in the company of such well-respected actors as Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, and Gabriel Byrne (who would later play her father in Polish Wedding).

Danes followed up Little Women with How to Make an American Quilt (1995), which, despite a stellar cast including Anne Bancroft, Alfre Woodard, and the great Jean Simmons, failed to make much of a critical or popular impression. Danes' next project, Jodie Foster's Home for the Holidays, met with a similar fate, but afforded Danes the chance to work with Foster, who became a sort of mentor to the young actress.

After making two more films, which continued Danes' pattern of starring in movies that behaved badly at the box office despite having bankable actors (Jeanne Moreau in the straight-to-video I Love You, I Love You Not (1996) and Michelle Pfeiffer in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996)), Danes hit it big with Baz Luhrmann's wildly popular William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996). Her portrayal of Juliet broke the hearts and opened the tear ducts of many, while her pairing with Hot Young Thing Leonardo DiCaprio undoubtedly caused mass swooning incidents in theatres the world over.

The critical and commercial success of the film meant that Danes was soon in great demand, as evidenced by the people she was able to work with over the next couple of years. After Romeo + Juliet, Danes worked with Oliver Stone on the lunatics-in-a-small-desert-town picture U-Turn (1997), a film that caused consternation among critics and at the box office. Danes' turn as Joaquin Phoenix's trashy girlfriend represented a departure from her previous, more innocent roles, something that she embellished upon in both Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker, where she played Andrew Shue's abused wife, and A Polish Wedding (1998), in which she portrayed the rebellious Hala. Neither movie was particularly successful, an unfortunate bit of luck that continued with Danes' next two efforts, Les Miserables (1998) and The Mod Squad (1998), the latter of which, despite the high anticipation surrounding its release, was panned by critics who complained it looked more like a Diesel ad than a movie, and largely ignored by the public.

Through it all, Danes has remained in the media spotlight, appearing on countless magazine covers and as the object of speculation for many. Aside from the bad publicity surrounding remarks she made about the Phillipines during the making of Brokedown Palace (1999), and her subsequent banning from that country, she has continued to attract positive attention for everything from her enrollment at Yale University in 1998 to her boyfriends, who include the Australian rocker Ben Lee.

Despite a series of misses during the late 90's, Danes came back with several small but critically acclaimed roles. In Igby Goes Down (2002), she played the confused love interest of the title character, starred alongside Sean Penn in director Thomas Vinterburg's It's All About Love (2002), and took part in the Academy-Award winning The Hours (2002). While her performance in The Rage at Placid Lake (a 2003 Australian production featuring her boyfriend Ben Lee) went largely unnoticed, mainstream audiences got their chance to see Danes butting heads on screen with Arnold Schwarzenegger and newcomer Nick Stahl in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In 2004, Danes will join Steve Martin in the adaptations of Martin's bestselling fiction novella, Shopgirl.

Claire Catherine Danes was born on April 12, 1979 in New York, New York, USA.

More fun stuff about Claire Danes

Height 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Attending Yale University beginning fall 1998. [1998]

Dated actor Matt Damon. [1996]

Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. [1997]

She came to L.A. to be cast on a role in Schindler's List (1993), when she was discovered for the role in "My So-Called Life" (1994). Steven Spielberg finally gave her the role but she turned it down, because they weren't willing to give her schooling in Poland.

Was banned from the Phillipines in Sept 1998, for making derogatory remarks about the country. The President of the Phillipines condemned her publicly.

Auditioned for the role of Lisa in Girl, Interrupted (1999).

Was considered for the title role in Lolita (1997).

Auditioned and was the first choice for the role of Rose in Titanic (1997).

Once said in a Vanity Fair article that at university, she is interested in psychology, philosophy, and art history.

The most frequently used title for articles about her has been "Great Danes".

Has at least 3 songs written about her. The Ataris' "My So Called Life" (album: "Look Forward to Failure" EP), Size 14's "Claire Danes Poster" (self-titled album) and The Five Mile Line's "Claire Danes" ("Busride Home" demo).

Parents are Chris & Carla Danes.

Attended the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.

Is the younger of 2 children.

Has an older brother, Asa.

Attended the Professional Performing Arts High School in New York City. Other alumni include singer/dancer/actor Britney Spears, actor Lee Thompson Young' and actor/singer/dancer Chris Trousdale.

Her letter of recommendation to Yale University was written by Oliver Stone, her director on U Turn (1997).

She graduated from Yale in 2002.

Grew up in SoHo.

Her mother is an artist while her father is a photographer.

Her mother ran a daycare center out of their Soho loft called Danes Tribe.

Her personal quotes:

(On co-star Kate Beckinsale on hoping to become friends) "That was wrong. We didn't. She's complicated. She's prickly".

"I live in an adult World, but I'm a kid. I love the work. But I no longer have a group of friends to hang out with regularly."

(on education vs. career) "I was told that my going to college wouldn't be good for my career. I think that's nonsense. It's good to empower yourself by cutting yourself off from this business every once in a while."

"I have a huge, active imagination, [and] I think I'm really scared of being alone; because if I'm left to my own devices, I'll just turn into a madwoman."

"My line about Arnold is that he doesn't get in his own way. He is not apologetic about achieving his goals. And when you have that attitude, it's amazing what one can accomplish. He wanted to give me relationship advice. I was having trouble with a female friend, and he said, be really forthright and do not accommodate her needs excessively. I took his advice and we're not friends anymore. So there you go."

"I was intimidated. There was the accent, the period of the film, and I had to act badly. I kept laughing during those scenes because I was god-awful. I've worked so hard to be good, and now I had to work even harder to be bad." [on 'Stage Beauty']

"It's very difficult to judge yourself. Extreme self-doubt is only attractive when it's fictionalized. Which is why people love the movies. They are so reassuring."

"I had an unwavering focus. My parents never condescended to me. As a child, I always sat at the head of our dinner table. I was always given a lot of responsibility. It was all rather amazing when I think about it now."

"I was a very confident child. I knew I wanted to be an actress from the age of 5. Madonna was my original muse -- around 5, I saw her perform on TV, and I realized that performing could be one's vocation. Then, at 7 or 8, I realized that most actors don't make a lot of money, and I amended my plan. But at 9, I seized my destiny. I made a formal announcement to my parents that I had to be true to my art. Money or no money, acting is my calling."

Her Salary
The Mod Squad (1999) $2,000,000

Claire Danes: Stage Beauty

“ Working here with a largely English cast, I was a little daunted by the prospect of having to play the first English actress ”

Successfully steering the path from child to adult roles, Claire Danes has packed a lot into her 25 years. A small screen star in her teens thanks to My So-Called Life, her film roles include Little Women, Romeo + Juliet, The Hours, Igby Goes Down, and - bizarrely - Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. In Stage Beauty she plays a theatrical dresser who dreams of becoming a star in her own right.

What preparation did you do for your role as Maria?

I listened rather obsessively to some voice tapes and tried to immerse myself in the sound as much as possible. I worked with a dialect coach in New York, and Joan Washington here in London - who was a godsend. But the toughest part was getting rid of my self consciousness.

When Maria starts out as an actress she's pretty bad. Is bad acting difficult when you clearly know better?

It's pretty challenging because it ran counter to all of my instincts and all of my training. But I was trying to divorce the gesture from the emotion, to reveal the effort behind the work.

Is the chance to do a costume drama for an American screen actor a rare thrill?

I did Little Women, when I was a very little woman myself. But America's history is not as impressive as your own.

How was it wearing the costumes. Did they help you find the character you were playing?

Absolutely. Wearing a dress was not alien to me, but wearing this kind of dress was a bit unusual. They are pretty constricting so they influence your movement and behaviour. And I was really glad for them because I had no choice but to sit upright. I didn't have to remind myself to act 'period' because the corset was enabling me to do that pretty naturally.

Having played a theatre actor on screen do you have any plans to be one for real and come to work on the London stage?

I haven't done any formal theatre work but I would love to. I'm really curious about that experience now after having told this story and worked with these people who have been so shaped by that community and culture. Working here in London with a largely English cast, I suppose I was a little daunted by the prospect of having to play the first English actress. I felt a little unqualified and unworthy being 'a Yank'. But I trusted that Richard had hired me for a reason and that I was capable of answering the demands of the part. And everybody was very encouraging. I was relieved to discover their warmth.

Claire Danes: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Claire Danes is famous for starring opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" and not starring in "Titanic" (she turned it down). Since returning from a three-year acting hiatus (she was studying at Yale), she's appeared in an interesting set of movies - Danish maverick Thomas Vinterberg's "It's All About Love"; the Oscar-winning "The Hours"; and indie curio "Igby Goes Down". But nothing is more curious than her presence in the new "Terminator" film.

What's Claire Danes doing in a Terminator movie?

I still don't believe I'm in a Terminator movie! It's really incongruous to the rest of my career; I'm well aware of that. I'm getting so many double takes, I'm thinking - what? Are you serious! But I'm always interested in experimenting with different styles of acting and different medians, and if I was ever to do a big flashy action movie, I think "Terminator" is a good place to start.

What does your character do in the film?

She can do all sorts of things. I describe her as a Swiss army knife, as she has all these different qualities that you wouldn't expect. Once she's abducted by the Terminator and company, all of her plans are derailed, and she finds herself in the centre of utter chaos and destruction, and she has to be very pro-active and resourceful. It was great to affect the action as much as my character does.

Did you pick up any skills that you didn't have before?

I learnt how to shoot a machine gun in this movie, which is something I never imagined I'd ever have to do! Of course my mother was visiting on set that day, the only day she came - [adopts mother voice] "Oh Claire, are you alright? What's happened to you?"

How do you relate to someone who's a proactive, action orientated, pick-up-a-gun type?

I don't really. I pretend. I wish I was as magnificently capable as my character is in this movie. She finds herself in a dire circumstance and she's running on pure adrenalin.

Are you likely to turn up in any other action movies?

It's not on my immediate agenda. It wasn't like I was hankering to make an action movie - it appeared. It was an anomalous occurrence. I'm thankful for it, because I had a wonderful time, but I don't imagine I'm going to be in the habit of doing huge blockbusters.

Crudup Never Expected To Date Danes

Actor Billy Crudup admits his real-life romance with Stage Beauty co-star Claire Danes was initially "painful", because they were both in Long term relationships. Crudup, 36, and 25-year-old Danes were settled in seven-year relationships - with actress Mary-Louise Parker and Australian rocker Ben Lee respectively - when shooting started, but an intense chemistry between the pair was soon sparked. And after working on the movie in London, both left their partners and set up home together in New York. Crudup says, "It was the last thing that I expected to happen. It took us completely by surprise and its been a difficult and painful process." Mary-Louise gave birth to their first child in January this year and named him William, after his father.

Crudup Leaves Wife for Claire Danes?

Almost Famous actor Billy Crudup has left his pregnant partner Mary-Louise Parker to begin a romance with long-term pal Claire Danes, according to reports in his native America. Crudup - who has known the Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines actress for years - has been with Parker for seven years and she is currently in the late stages of pregnancy with their first child. However, according to website Page Six.Com, Crudup, 35, and 24-year-old Danes have become much closer as they work on upcoming movie Compleat Female Stage Beauty, prompting both to leave their long-term loves. Danes has been dating Australian rocker Ben Lee for many years and their relationship was thought to be one of the strongest celebrity pairings. But a source tells the website, "They (Crudup and Danes) have been friends for years. They share the same agent and know each other from the New York scene, but they never got romantically involved until they starred in this last movie together." Another adds, "Claire left Ben Lee, and she and Billy say they are now in love. Everyone is appalled with Billy and what he has done to Mary Louise."

Danes Lands Terminator Role

Claire Danes has joined the cast of Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines after newcomer Sophia Bush was deemed too young to play hero John Conner's love interest in the action movie. Director Jonathan Mostow was forced to dismiss Bush after dailies showed she was too young to play the girlfriend of In The Bedroom star Nick Stahl's character. Mostow says, "Sophia is a talented and charismatic performer but her appearance and manner play younger than what we wanted for the role." Danes started shooting on the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie yesterday.

Claire Danes: On bedding down with Leonardo, thongs versus bikinis and her real so-called life

Which Claire Danes do you want to know about?

There's the gifted television actress who found fame as the star of My So-Called Life.
There's the budding movie star--the MSCL alum--currently establishing a big-screen presence in two new movies: Baz Luhrmann's over-the-top adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, in which she shares the screen with Leonardo DiCaprio; and the three-hanky Michelle Pfeiffer vehicle To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. So great is her emerging celebrity that Danes is now the subject of numerous breathlessly maintained home pages.

And then there's the 17-year-old (she turns legal in April) college-bound high school student, grappling with such universal teen challenges as sweating out the arrival of her SAT scores, getting a driver's license and falling in and out and in and out of love.

To talk to Danes is to encounter an unusually well adjusted and articulate young woman. Indeed, she is disarmingly open and willing to answer just about any question put to her about TV Claire, Movie Claire and even Wide-Eyed Teen Claire.

Q&A Claire Danes

You've been called the poster girl for teen angst.
I know, it's true. I've played these tortured teenagers. I can't wait to shed that image. You know, let a few years go by until I hit my midlife crisis. Then that can be documented on film.
So are you as anguished as the characters you play?
Actually, right now, I'm relatively happy. I feel like I'm turning into more of a woman--I'm getting ready to leave home, go to college, be independent. It's an exhilarating time. And a terrifying one.

Have you loved and lost, as Juliet did?
Yeah, I have, actually. I fell in love a year and a half ago for the first time with this guy, and it was fairly intense. And we were actually breaking up at the time I started filming Romeo + Juliet. It was torture.
How was it making the movie?
We filmed it in Mexico, and everyone got sick. I remember walking into my hotel room one day and looking into the mirror. I was stark white; it really scared me. I asked my mom, "Am I dying?" But it only lasted two or three days. And then there were concerns about safety. We weren't allowed to take taxicabs because we were told the cabdrivers kidnap their passengers; they literally hold a gun to your head and rob you.

We were surrounded by real desperation and poverty. And there we were--in-your-face, obnoxious Americans. Not that we were rude, but we have so much, and we just take it for granted. I was nervous a lot of the time, but it was kind of amazing, too. The circumstances were very similar to the kind of world we were creating onscreen.
Sounds nerve-wracking. How was playing history's greatest lover opposite Leonardo DiCaprio? Was there some spark between you?
There was definitely a spark, but I don't think either of us knew how to handle it. So, we sometimes sort of ignored each other. It was too big for us to really accept.

How did you decide how far to go in the big love scene?
It was never an issue. I always knew that everything would be covered up with sheets. But we shot the "morning after" scene the very first day, and that definitely made us both nervous. We were both in G-strings under the sheets at whatever early hour of the morning. Leo was all squeamish, squirming around all over the place. He jumps around like a maniac. And there I was, being very stoic, lying in bed, just trying to breathe and get through it.
And in To Gillian, you have a scene in which you shock your father by wearing an itsy-bitsy bikini.
Can I just tell you how mortifying that was? I tried negotiating with the director--"Can't I just wear a really sexy one-piece?" He said, "No, Claire."

So, finally we found a bikini I thought was okay. But then we had to reshoot the scene. My best friend in the movie wears a thong, and they decided I had to wear one, too. Well, I threw on that robe the instant they said "Cut." I'll never wear a thong again. I'm a Speedo gal.

Is being a successful teenage actor harder for a girl than for a guy?
I get a little jealous of these actor boys. They walk into a club, and in two seconds flat there are swarms of girls who are wanting so badly to touch them or just say hello. That's not the case with me, or any other girl I know.

You've worked almost nonstop the past few years. What about your education?
I work with a tutor, and whenever I'm between takes we run into my trailer and get in at least 20 minutes of pre-calculus or economics or some other subject. It's difficult. It's like having two full-time jobs. Usually, my social life and my sanity and my health are the things that are sacrificed.

Of course, a lot of successful teenage actors don't bother to finish high school.
It's tricky to keep some sort of perspective. Here you are, making an astounding amount of money at a young age. Everybody loves you, and everything you say is brilliant. You think, Why do I need to go to school when I'm already a genius? But I really value my education. I know I'm far away from knowing it all.

Didn't you get some advice on this subject from Jodie Foster?
Yeah. I did Home for the Holidays with her, and she talked about her experience at Yale. She said college is just too much fun to miss. She emphasized that I could always come back to acting.

Have you decided to which schools you're applying?
The list includes Yale, Sarah Lawrence, Brown, Harvard, Vassar, Barnard and Columbia. I really liked Yale, although it was extremely intimidating. When I visited the campus, I was hiding behind trees, I felt so unworthy.
What do you want to study?
Maybe philosophy--I love talking about ideas. Or maybe art history. I was thinking about psychology, then I got really afraid because everybody says it's terribly boring.

That's all still a year away. What are you up to now?
I just finished a movie called Polish Wedding, with Gabriel Byrne and Lena Olin, and I'm about to do a film for Francis Ford Coppola. I also have a small role in Oliver Stone's Stray Dogs. Joaquin Phoenix plays my boyfriend. It's going to be interesting to be on a Stone set and a Coppola set at the same time. I don't think there could be two more different directors.

Do you ever think of how your life might be different?
If I were in high school, I'd really be into the subjects I was studying, and I might be on a sports team or the debate team. But I'm sure my life would be just as hectic and ridiculously overscheduled as it is now.

So, do you have a boyfriend now?
Yeah, I have a boyfriend. But I'm not ready for anything too serious, so it's working out pretty well.

Is he in the business?
Oh, I shouldn't have said anything--should I have? [Bolts to the door.] See ya!

The Virgin, The Whore And Claire Danes

As a teenage star, Claire Danes excelled at playing the nice girl, a label she has grown accustomed to. Now at 24, Danes is all grown up and ready to embrace Hollywood as an adult. And in her first major adult role starring opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the much-hyped Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Danes is back --- as a good girl but doing so with a sense of humour and down-to-earth perspective, as PAUL FISCHER discovered.

In the new Hollywood blockbuster Terminator 3, there are two women battling it out for earth's survival. In the one corner, there's the voluptuous and naked Terminatrix [Kristana Loken], and in the other, vet and innocent Kate Brewster, played by a, well, sweet and innocent Claire Danes. Now 24, the actress has a self-mocking attitude about her screen persona and how it has come full circle with T3. "Yeah, the virgin and the whore once again, because you know, my character is pretty admirable," Danes says, laughingly. We're sitting in a large office space in a downtown Los Angeles studio, where parts of T3 were shot. The actress is in a good mood, given that she had just flown in from London mid-way from shooting another film. Asked if she would prefer being 'the whore', Danes smiles. "Not really. I mean it's silly that we isolate these two personas, because I think women are much more integrated than we are acknowledged for being. I don't like or enjoy being exploited."

Though also seen briefly as Meryl Streep's daughter in The Hours and recently in the acclaimed Igby Goes Down, it seems that the far more mainstream T3 is being perceived as her comeback film. But Danes says that comeback or not, that played no part in her decision to do this mother of all blockbusters. "I had made three quite sensitive, progressive, experimental movies that were on a smaller scale so I suppose I felt prepared to blow some stuff up, literally and figuratively," she says, laughingly. "My decision wasn't THAT impulsive. I have a lot of reverence for the first two Terminator movies which I think are really sophisticated, innovative and fun, and I was an admirer of Jonathon Mostow' s work, so I trusted that he would not embarrass us with this." Of course, she hastens to add, "There's something really thrilling about knowing lots of people are going to see me scream for hours." But Danes didn't have much time to give the whole thing a lot of thought.

Though Danes had met with director Mostow months before, he ended up casting another actress, who was fired after a week of work, because Mostow felt she was too young for the role. While the production was scrambling for a replacement, Danes was returning to Los Angeles from Australia, where she had been travelling with her boyfriend, musician Ben Lee. "I just happened to arrive in LA the same afternoon that my agent called me in a panic saying that there is a crisis on the Terminator set, they need to recast the role of Kate Brewster and they would like you to step in immediately. I was so jet lagged and disoriented that I just said yes." Danes said she had no time to think of what it's like going from small, more literary projects such as The Hours, to a gargantuan, adrenalin-charged actioner such as T3. "My character was kidnapped by the Terminator and I was kidnapped by the Terminator production," she says laughingly. "I was just hurled into this alternate reality just had to rally, cope, make some sense of it and use it, as we actresses say."

That she did, screaming on cue but then shooting machines with the best of 'em in this third instalment of the Terminator franchise. Danes describes Kate Brewster as "assertive, authoritative and responsible," the perfect role model for the millions of teenage fans that have followed Claire's career, since TV's My So-Called Life catapulted her into adolescent fame in 1994. As she looks back at her youthful career, she admits that "I'm only realizing now that I was a child actress because I always took myself so seriously." She admits that still does, to a degree. "It's just part of my charm," she says smilingly. "I think because I am as earnest as I am, people were accepting of my evolving into a certified, legitimate, and grown up and I did take three years off. When I was 18 I went to college for two years and didn't work for a year which was essential for me, because my identity had been so influenced by my being an actor and I think I just needed to discover what it was to be myself, divorced from all that responsibility. So I wanted to make sure that I wasn't acting out of habit, but because of a genuine interest and passion and I have lots of competing interests in, I wanted to respect that about myself and give myself a chance to genuinely explore other possibilities. I finally realized that yeah I did want to be an actor and it wasn't out of habit, but I needed to grow up for myself and then kind of re-enter the industry with a sound understanding of what my sensibilities and my values are as a relatively formed human being."

As a teenage movie star, Danes had to deal with the pressures of celebrity and an instant fame that can often affect young actresses. As she began to date musician Ben Lee, her private life was all over the press, but the couple remains intact 6 years later, so perhaps the media attention was not as destructive. "There's certainly something very uncomfortable about the voyeurism involved in being in the press, being an actor, where people have a seemingly insatiable curiosity about, you. However, I'm at a very comfortable place in my career and celebrity, in that I don't have to audition as extensively as I used to for roles but yet I'm not immediately recognizable. So I walk around, ride the subway and occasionally there's a paparazzi lurking in the shadows but it's not very injurious. I haven't been threatened in the way that has crippled me, emotionally or physically." Yet back when she was at the peak of her adolescent fame, at the time of Romeo + Juliet, Danes was a teenage icon, and even today, the Internet remains flooded with dozens of fan sites devoted to the actress. Being a teenage icon is not what it's cracked up to be, says Danes. "It was interesting because I was very representative of teenagers, especially with My So-Called Life and Romeo and Juliet, so I was like a teenager in an abstract and literal sense, which was a bit peculiar, but I couldn't dwell on that as it would drive me pretty insane. I guess it was all kind of weird, but it was MY reality." And she avoids checking out those web sites for obvious reasons "I did one time and it put me into a tailspin. I was a wreck, because everybody has an opinion, casting all sorts of projections on to my persona which is just very confronting. I don't need to be exposed to people's opinion of me; it just makes me too nervous." Now, Claire is assuredly all grown up, and sees her role in T3 as her first, full, adult role. "Yeah, here I am a vet, I'm engaged, and I fly and do everything."

Is this the new side of Claire Danes? Though she admits she is signed for a T4, the actress still loves the more Jane Austen-type of role, such as the one she is currently shooting. "I'm actually shooting a movie in London right now called Complete Female Stage Beauty. It's Richard Eyre directing it who did Iris some years ago and headed the National Theatre for 20 years and it also stars Billy Crudup, Tom Wilkinson and Rupert Everett. It takes place in seventeenth century England and marks a change from when male actors stopped playing female characters, so I play the first female actress on the stage." And the character she plays as the actress happens to be Othello's Desdemona. "Yeah, the ultimate virgin, but I'm really bad at playing her, so that's ok." It seems that Claire may have come full circle. The actress is still happily dating Ben Lee, and the couple divide their time between Los Angeles and Sydney, where they share an apartment in Bondi. Ms Danes' so-called life is looking pretty good.

Claire Danes: Romeo and Juliet

It seemed only fitting in 1996 when Claire Danes appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the smash hit, Romeo and Juliet. Just as DiCaprio has emerged as the most prominent actor of his generation, so has Danes as one of the most prominent actresses.

Originally from New York, Danes was born April 12th, 1979 to an artist mother and a computer consultant father. She was raised in a highly arts-oriented household where her own blossoming interests in the field were nourished and encouraged. At the young age of six, she began to study modern dance, which continues to be a passion for her to this day. During her pre-teen years, she began to spread her interests to encompass other forms of dance, and acting.

Claire Danes got her professional start like most young actors do, with one notable exception. While many begin in commercials and then move on to television shows, Danes got her start in off-Broadway productions. Her television credits were hardly remarkable in the beginning. For the most part they consisted of guest appearances, most notably on Law and Order. Danes made her big screen debut in several art films and then in the bigger budgeted Little Women with Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder.

After a very tepid response by theater-goers, Danes decided to make a move back to television. She was offered a role on a new dramatic series that would target teenagers. It was called My So Called Life and it would be the best thing to ever happen to the young actress. The show was a critical smash but it was soon canceled because of poor ratings. Luckily, the show lasted long enough for people to take notice of Danes. Ironically, now that Claire has achieved great box office success, reruns of the show are rating grabbers.

Claire Danes quickly garnered the role of spokeswoman for a whole generation. Ironically, this contradicted the roles she was taking. She appeared in formulaic films like How To make an American Quilt and Home for the Holidays. Then came Romeo + Juliet and she was catapulted right into the limelight - and into Hollywood history.

Since then, she has managed to maintain her notoriety and demonstrate some impressive range with roles as diverse as an abused young wife in The Rainmaker to Cosette in the 1998 film rendition of the Victor Hugo classic, Les Miserables.

Most recently Claire was seen in The Mod Squad, a box office disappointment. Danes won't stay down for long though. She'll next be seen in Brokedown Palace with Kate Beckinsale and Paul Walker.



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