Claire Danes says goodbye to Homeland
Claire Danes says goodbye to Homeland
How has Carrie Mathison informed you as a person? You’ve played her now for eight seasons on Homeland.
Well, I had to learn about the CIA and I had to learn about her bipolar disorder. And what I really loved and admired about her was her audacity and her bravery and her brilliance. She was just so exceedingly capable and had such self-possession and this amazing authority. She could walk into a room and feel incredibly confident and that’s just so exciting to be able to take up that much space as a woman. That’s not something we’re usually afforded, right? So, I would really like to believe that those impulses somehow are reinforced in me. I really loved having that swagger, and having that sense of command.
Would you agree that Carrie paved the way for other strong female roles on TV?
It’s true. It’s been an amazingly thrilling shift within the medium and I can’t believe how lucky I have been to play a woman who is as formidable as she is. We’ve explored a lot of taboos about women in our culture. I think one of the biggest ones being her relationship to motherhood which was not so typical, right? I was really glad that we were able to think about what it was to suffer from postpartum depression which is not discussed enough and to have this central female character who realises that she’s not meant to be a mum and that she has a different calling. And then, in her case, ironically the most maternal loving thing she could do was have her daughter live with her sister and give her up. And also, she is unapologetic and has sex with whoever she wants whenever she wants.
Homeland has been eight or nine years of your life, during which you got married and became a mother of two sons, so I imagine saying goodbye to the show must be emotional, but on the other hand, it must be exciting that you’re entering into a new phase.
Yeah, gosh, it’s like the biggest question in my life right now. Actually, I cut all my hair off this morning (laughs). It’s been so defining. I became a woman on a whole other level during this odyssey and I can’t really see beyond it yet. I think it’s just going to take a minute. It’s going to take a long minute (laughs), minutes plural, and I think I just have to kind of breathe through it. I’m looking forward to being home for a stretch. I haven’t been home for longer than a month in I don’t know how long and just kind of settle into a more domestic routine. I have to give myself the space to just allow it to kind of evolve naturally. I don’t think I can force it.
What are you looking forward to doing in your new domestic life? Organising birthday parties? Cleaning out the wardrobe? Cooking?
Well, I’ve done a fair amount of that already. Cyrus just had a mad scientist dance party for his seventh birthday so, yeah, all of that and just getting more involved with his school and being able to be a chaperone on field trips, bringing him to dance class and bringing him to chess class and just spending that in-between time on the subway. Yeah, it doesn’t sound very thrilling but it is pretty exotic for me right now.
What’s hubby doing at the moment?
Hugh [Dancy] is doing The Good Fight right now. He’s doing a play later in the year so I think that means we get to be home for quite a while and we have a country house and we like to go there. We have a one-and-a-half-year-old and a seven-year-old so really in the weeds still. It’s just a lot of diaper changing still. I think when they turn 3 there’s a shift and there’s a little more grace but right now Rowan is determined to kill himself at any given moment. It’s just like they know and make an immediate beeline for the most dangerous object in the room so it requires hypervigilance.
Do you feel you missed any firsts with Rowan? I can imagine you would have felt conflicted about that, like any working woman does.
Well, I think every woman wrestles with this, right? At any given moment once you become a mum you’re failing in some way. You are not giving enough to your work, you are not giving enough to your child, but one of the very nice things about my job is that my kids can come with me and they come to set. Cyrus grew up on set and our producing director would literally hold him when he was a baby and rock him behind the monitor. Now he sits on her lap and calls action and cut! (laughs)
Did you take anything home from the Homeland set?
You know it’s funny I didn’t really. It wasn’t a fashion show, right? (laughs) I let it all go and then chopped all my hair off!