The M Interview: Claire Danes ready to do comedy
Homeland star Claire Danes says she's ready to do a comedy after “tough, intense” Homeland
Claire Danes is sending out an SOS to Hollywood.
If you have something light and fun to offer, she's your girl.
"It's good that I enjoy tough stuff and intensity. I tend to gravitate to that naturally but by the time we wrap, I am quite flattened," said the 36-year-old US actress.
"I am pretty spent. I am ready to do a comedy at this point."
Danes talked to M about her hit political thriller, Homeland, in which she plays the lead Carrie Mathison, a CIA agent with bipolar disorder.
The fifth season of the TV series airs on FX (Singtel TV Ch 310/StarHub TV Ch 507) on Mondays at 10pm.
In person, Danes is naturally serious - probably the only trait she shares with her anti-hero character.
But she is quick to laugh - something that her alter ego never does.
Mathison is mentally ill, a borderline genius, has a complete lack of empathy for others, has been institutionalised and shot at, and has spied and lied - a complex woman unlike any we have seen portrayed on the small screen.
It's no wonder Danes wants a rest from all this intensity.
Homeland's new season is set in Berlin two-and-a-half years after the last, where Mathison has retired from the CIA and taken a job as head of security for a philanthropic billionaire.
She has a boyfriend and a three-year-old daughter and is "incredibly happy for about five minutes".
Themes such as cyber penetration and privacy laws are explored, as well as the idea of atonement.
"Carrie has tried very earnestly to emancipate herself from her past and reincarnate herself as a more decent person," says Danes, who has won everything from an Emmy to a Golden Globe to a Screen Actors Guild for the role and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month.
"She realises that that is kind of illusory, so her ghosts start surfacing and she's going to have to find a way to reconcile her desire for happiness and her need to answer her calling.
"She has a gift that she can't really ignore and she has invested so much of herself and so much time in this particular kind of work that she can't just abandon it."
What pulls Mathison back into the CIA is an attack on her when she travels to Lebanon with her boss, and that's how the season unfolds.
Danes thinks her award-winning show continues to have such resonance around the world because of its international ideas and themes.
"Terrorism is relevant to everyone, unfortunately," she explained.
"Also, I think that America is not depicted strictly as heroic. We see our system fail and succeed. We admit our vulnerability and I think that is interesting to other countries because America often asserts itself as infallible and domineering, and we don't do that."
At the start of the first season back in 2011, Danes was even given a CIA consultant to answer any questions she had.
"I have sort of a spy big sister whom I met just before we started doing the pilot," said Danes.
"She took me to Langley (CIA headquarters in Virginia) and introduced me to her colleagues. She was very generous and open about sharing her experiences and anecdotes.
"We have remained close ever since. If I have a question, she is an amazing resource."
HONOURED: Danes was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month. PHOTO: AFP
Her English-actor husband Hugh Dancy and their little boy Cyrus give her life balance, but the couple are still juggling the obligations of parenthood and career.
Movies, especially, have taken a backseat for Danes, whose last big film was 2007's Stardust.
"We're still figuring it out as we go along," she said.
"Hugh took a job in Australia last year when I was in South Africa. It meant we spent too much time apart.
"We learnt our lesson there. We're not doing that again.
"This time, he really was with us for the majority of the (Homeland) shoot (in Berlin).
"It's very good to have Cyrus at the end of the day, kind of jar me out of that psychic turmoil and stress, so he is a wonderful anchor in that.
"We have weird lives. We travel constantly. Cyrus' passport has been so thoroughly stamped and he is only two-and-a-half.
"We try to keep his routine consistent. We have a nanny who travels with us, so even though we're in a different city every other week, his world is stable with a lot of structure within the chaos."
So will she be adding another kid to the fray?
"Oh, oh, I mean one day I hope.
"We're not there yet. But yeah, let's just further complicate it."