It's Bottoms Up For Danes
by Kristen O'Neill (Premiere - February 1996)
"I had a few kamikazes," says sixteen-year-old Claire Danes, "and...the clear stuff. Vodka. Vodka and grapefruit juice. They were really yummy." Hold the child-welfare notification: Danes was getting hammered to prepare for a scene in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, the first feature production from producer-screenwriter David E. Kelley. The family drama stars Danes as the daughter of Peter Gallagher's grieving widower. (Kelley drafted his missus, Michelle Pfeiffer, to play the dearly departed.) "You'll laugh, you'll cry. It's juicy," promised Danes, who at first asked her parents to join her on the happy-hour tour. "Then we all decided that wouldn't be fun," she says, "so I went out with my agents and my older friends, and they got me drunk purposely so I could feel what it was like." The result? I was so smashed that the throwing up wasn't painful of anything." Despite her role research, Danes still found the scene tough to play. "I realized you can't do too much exaggerating when you're [playing] drunk," Danes says. "The stereotypes [of drunk people] in the movies are not overdone acting necessarily. They're rather true." Next for Danes: Romeo and Juliet, with Leonardo DiCaprio, for director Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom).
© 1996, Premiere Publishing Company LCC