throwback thursday IN THE REALM: 2007 interview with Claire Danes

Youth, beauty, it all seems so meaningless now.
–Lamia [Michelle Pfeiffer]

“Hi Guys! Are you freezing? It’s so cold in here,” Claire Danes exclaims as she wraps her vintage jacket about her lithe frame. The jacket is tan which complements her long, honey blonde hair and it has cool orange swirls on it that gives it flair. Not that Ms. Danes needs any. She wears jeans, a gray shift and great clunky stone rings on her fingers. Actually, I take note of three on one finger.

She wraps her legs under her and sits down, bending forward, with a smile, to speak
about her latest film, Stardust, at a local Boston hotel a few weeks ago. Known for her roles in Romeo and Juliet, the summer’s very moving Evening, Shopgirl, The Family Stone, Les Miserables and forever as Angela Chase from television’s My So-Called Life, Danes will makes her Broadway debut in Pygmalion this fall.

Stardust
is a wonderful, if sometimes goof-ball, fantasy film. It’s often Shakespearean in tone: think Midsummer Night’s Dream meets Princess Bride. This delightful escape relishes in clever and witty dialogue, off-beat, quirky, layered characters, unexpected moments and thrilling, dream-like sequences. Danes finds herself in good company: Michelle Pfeiffer, as an unattractive, deliciously wicked witch with piercing eyes who seeks everlasting beauty and youth brings an exuberance and fervor to her character. Robert DeNiro, in really not that much of stretch considering the Meet the Parent films, plays a cross-dressing pirate. Adding to the fun: British actors Jason Flemyng, Sienna Miller [nearly unrecognizable] and Charlie Cox. Danes plays a star, Yvaine, who fell to the ground and wants to go home. Who wouldn’t love this film and this role? A star personified! And Evie is happy but also a bit pensive being a star. You’d think she would be conceited and powerful but she’s at times insecure and very sweet. An endearing, bright-eyed gentleman named Tristam [Cox] travels across the barrier to this “forbidden” but special and magical land and finds Evie. Together they go on an amazing journey which, naturally, becomes one of self-discovery. Stardust really charms, remaining unique while it addresses: age/youth, beauty, love, and destiny with all the magic, intrigue, adventure and humor of any smart film.

What did you like about this project?

Claire Danes: “I loved the story. It’s charming and engaging. The dialogue is witty and wry and Evie has a trajectory. She changes which is appealing. She is knowing and wise because she’s ancient but unbelievably naïve.”

What do you like best about acting?

Claire Danes: Laughing: “The costumes are fun. I really like the challenge of imagining what it is to be another person and exercising empathy and stretching the imagination.”

What do you do for fun?

Claire Danes: “walk my dog, draw [takes life drawing classes in down time], dance.”

Do you think you will always live in New York?

Claire Danes: “NY is home to me. I travel constantly for work.”

What is the best part of working on this film?

Claire Danes: “The rewarding part of this movie is working with Charlie [Cox]. He’s a special guy—appealing, honest, expressive and great person.”

What attracts you to a role?

Claire Danes: “exploring new territory and new genres. Characters with dimension and complexity and who undergo change. And grow and transform. Usually women exist to facilitate change and growth in male characters.”

What are some of your favorite films?

Claire Danes: “Waiting for Guffman, Sophie’s Choice, and I know everyone says it but, Citizen Kane.”

What are some favorite films of your own?

Claire Danes: “Romeo and Juliet, Stealing Beauty, Shopgirl and Brokedown Palace.”

Originally published in The Harbus, the Harvard Business School student newspaper.

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