Belfast Telegraph

Claire Danes: Colleagues give me advice

Claire Danes has asked Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster and Susan Sarandon for tips on how to make the most of her career.

The star looks up to Meryl Streep and other such actresses, who have enjoyed lengthy and successful careers. She isn't above asking for advice and has received a variety of tips on how to make the most of her job.

"I’ve had conversations with them. Meryl, Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster,” she told the August edition of US Vogue magazine. “[I learnt] 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!”

It's not just old-school stars that Claire admires. There is a crop of newcomers who have blown her away, not least because they seem so calm and in control. The 34-year-old star can't help wishing she was as in command of her destiny when she started out.

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

“There’s the movie star that plays herself and the movie star like Meryl that has this wonderful, glamorous persona intact and is undone every time she takes on a new character. I think I’m astounded and titillated by that.”

Claire's career has been incredibly varied. She was lauded for her portrayal of an autistic woman in 2010's Temple Grandin, which won her a best actress Golden Globe among other awards. Despite that, job offers slowed down hugely after the TV movie hit screens.

"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," she explained. “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.’"

The actress is married to British star Hugh Dancy and they have son Cyrus together, who was born in December.

The work drought eventually ended, with Claire famously playing unstable CIA agent Carrie Mathison in TV show Homeland. The character is seemingly inspiring more young people to consider such careers, which was brought home to Claire when she visited the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters.

"When I spent the day at Langley, they were very forthright and said, ‘You know, we’re always recruiting, and it’s not all that often that we’re rendered in pop culture. We’d like to have some influence on that.’ They were just so direct. It was admirable, actually, kind of ironically transparent," she mused.

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