Claire Danes on ‘Homeland,’ acting and her mommy mashup

Claire Danes covers the August issue of Vogue magazine and she’s candidly sharing exactly what she thinks about being a Hollywood actress.

“I always have the fear that I won’t be able to do it, because I am convinced that it left me and I don’t know how I managed it before,” the “Homeland” star tells the fashion tome. “You just hold out for those rare moments when you feel a real fusion with this imagined person. It’s really like surfing. You get that wave and think, All right, I can be in freezing-cold water at 5:00 a.m. in the hopes that I will get one. And maybe you get three of those a year.”

Danes is showcased in the mag in a steamy photo spread with costar Damian Lewis, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. The stills are fashioned after key moments between the costars in the espionage series and arrive just in time for this week’s Emmy Awards nominations, for which she’s likely to be a shoe-in.


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She talks of her acting idols, including Meryl Streep, whom she’s fashioned her career after ever since she saw Streep in the 1982 drama “Sophie’s Choice” at age 9.

“I’ve had conversations with them. Meryl, Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster,” she said, offering the words of wisdom she’s culled from those legendary leading ladies. “You have to pick your battles on set. You have to come to work from a place of love. You have to stay hydrated when you have crying scenes. You have to go to college. And you have to ask for money because there’s always more money and they won’t give it to you because you’re a girl!”

The 34-year-old tasted success at a young age with MTV’s angsty cult hit “My So-Called Life” and doing Shakespeare in Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet.”

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“I’m so impressed by Jennifer Lawrence and Carey Mulligan,” Danes said. “They have this exquisite taste. They are very gifted in their ability to make great choices. I didn’t have that rudder.”

Danes said she changed junior high schools three times because she was bullied by “mean girls.” She ultimately settled in at New York City’s Lab School for Collaborative Studies, where she met her “Homeland” costar Morena Baccarin. The two apparently gossip about a “scary” actress who went to their school and is “still in the business.”

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The award-winning actress plays bipolar CIA Agent Carrie Mathison on Showtime’s hit series “Homeland,” which is gearing up for its third season. Danes said she prepared for the consuming role by watching YouTube videos. She equates prepping for the role to “playing Barbie!”

After playing an autistic icon in “Temple Grandin,” which earned her an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for best actress, she didn’t work for two years because she “just couldn’t play dinky — you know, the girl.”

“I was stuck,” she said. “It was confusing. I got a lot of plaudits, and it didn’t translate into more work. I was really, really struggling during that time.... It was grim. I was very hurt. Two years of not working was brutal. And a point came where I thought, I really like interior design. Someone suggested, ‘Maybe your real success is in your personal life.’”

And she has excelled there.

The newly minted mom, who welcomed baby boy Cyrus in December 2012 with her husband, English actor Hugh Dancy, exemplified what it means to juggle when she accepted the Golden Globe award this year for her role in “Homeland.”

“I went on the red carpet, went upstairs [at the Beverly Hilton], fed Cyrus. Went into the ceremony, got the award, went back to feed Cyrus, went out again.... Then it was ‘Now you meet the president [Bill Clinton].’”

Gee, was it all a shock.

“I had these new boobs; I’m wearing a big Jessica Rabbit dress, and I’d been living in sweat pants for so long.... It was strange. It was dreamy, surrounded by my parents and my husband. It was one of the best nights of my life because of this perfect mash-up.”

It’s no wonder she can keep up with Carrie’s ebbs and flows!


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