Claire Danes switches gears for "Homeland" TV drama

Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:33am EDT
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By Jill Jacobs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Since her role as a brooding teen-ager on the critically acclaimed 1990s TV drama, "My So-Called Life," actress Claire Danes has played everything from Shakespeare's Juliet to autistic animal scientist Temple Grandin.

The Emmy and Golden Globe winner returns to television on Sunday, October 2, as a flawed and fragile CIA agent in Showtime's post-9/11 conspiracy drama, "Homeland."

Reuters spoke to Danes, 32, about her new role, her career, and why she almost decided against being an actress.

Q: How did you prepare to portray a bipolar CIA agent?

A: "I met with CIA officers who were generous with offering their time and information and I took a tour of Langley Institute and found this incredibly illuminating.

"I also spent time with author, Julie Fast, who has bipolar and has written extensively about this illness. I also talked to psychologists about their experience working with bipolar patients ... I watched sessions one-on-one with people who have the condition talking about their experience, and I found there was a lot of material as people are up in the middle of the night wanting to talk. I also read a number of books, including Kay Jamison's "The Unquiet Mind," which I found very helpful."

Q: Do you think this show could change the way people view those suffering from mental health issues?

A: "There are a lot of people who suffer with this, and I don't want to misrepresent them, disappoint them or fail them in any way. I think this show might bring a greater awareness to the condition, which will hopefully be a good thing."   Continued...

<p>Actress Claire Danes poses on the red carpet before the European premiere of "The King's Speech" in Leicester Square, London October 21, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>