26 November 2011

Claire Danes the intelligent and self-aware actress

I find this happens to me over and over again. I crush on some Hollywood star and rush around the web reading all about them. Tina Fey [1], Jennifer Garner [2], and now Claire Danes [3]. All incredibly poised, thoughtful, intelligent actresses. In any industry, there are some exceptional people. Part of me is the ridiculous fan who wants to know the gossip about their lives, but the other part is the person who wants to know what they've learned about life and what they think of their art.

How many actresses use words like "avuncular" and "apoplectic"? Claire Danes! Okay, maybe the intellectual elitist in me is overly excited but that is pretty unique. It's not just the big words; her overall intelligence is striking in interviews. Critics, interviewers, and film industry colleagues have frequently marveled at her "maturity." I'm not sure that's the best word for it. She seems to be deep, thoughtful, intense, serious, and intellectual ("I want to read the great books and talk about ideas"). This kind of personality is uncommon among adults; Danes was already like this as a child. When she was nine, she thought about becoming a psychologist or therapist (in case she didn't make it as an actor). I think she's one of those rare people with a very high emotional IQ, sensitive and empathetic yet grounded by her intellect. She picks things up way faster than the average person. Check out this interview at the age of 18. She herself remarks that she's "always felt ancient."

Claire Danes seems pretty damn cool. And now I need to go out and find some friends who are just as awesome -- real people I can hang out with.

[1] Tina Fey is a media darling and willing to be brutally honest and insightful in interviews, so there is lots of good material. I like the part about having "a great house."
[2] I always thought it was amazing how Jennifer Garner would ask J.J. Abrams about his directing choices in the DVD commentary. A real student of the theater. I wrote a gushing review of her work on Alias.
[3] I didn't really know much about Claire Danes. My only exposure to her was when my high school English teacher showed Romeo and Juliet in class. Only recently did I take notice of her, in the Showtime cable TV series Homeland (which rocks).

1 comment:

  1. I am struck by the exact same thing about Claire Danes. She's not only quite intelligent but she has artistic integrity. Sure, she's played a few embarrassingly stupid roles (Mod Squad), but as a whole, she picks remarkably challenging roles that force her to really dig deep. I think her acting skills have been largely unrecognized for years. I love to watch her work. It's captivating.