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Claire Danes
(TV Hits - May, 1997)

Claire Danes not only stole Leonardo DiCaprio's heart in Romeo and Juliet, she managed to become one of Hollywood's hottest young stars. She's about to hit our screens again in To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday, so we grabbed some Q&A from the teen babe.

Interviewer: You've just returned from taking your college entrance exams. How did you feel?
Claire: Very nervous. I hope it went well. You can never judge how you did on those things. Like, you think you got the right answer but because it was one of the answers on the multiple-choice list - and they're constantly just tricking you - I'm constantly second-guessing what I'm doing.

Interviewer: You're not exactly your average college student, are you?
Claire: No, it's hard because my life is split. I have two full-time jobs. I value them both. I really care about being an educated person and I'm extremely passionate about acting. It's tempting to just continue with my career because I love what I do so much. It's like so many doors are open to me. Hopefully, I can make both things happen.

Interviewer: What was it like working with Michelle Pfeiffer in your latest film, To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday?
Claire: I only worked with Michelle for about three days, so I really didn't get to know her too well. She seemed great. I think she's the kind of person who - if you got to know her - would be trusting, loyal and open but, until that time, she's more reserved.

Interviewer: You two had that great scene where you're riding your bikes...
Claire: Yeah, we both had to ride no-handed and I'd never done that before. We were supposed to be racing and competing with each other. We both really got into it. We both wanted to get to that end mark the fastest.

Interviewer: Did you think about your own Mom while maing this film?
Claire: To be perfectly honest, I thought more about my Dad because my Dad's Mom died when he was 10. I never experienced a death in my life of someone who was close to me, so I learned about death through him. This movie was almost a tribute to him. Of course, I thought about my Mom. I'm so connected to my Mother and I love her so much that I can't even fathom not having her by my side.

Interviewer: How would you describe your character in "To Gillian"?
Claire: Well, she's actually the most sane person in this movie. She's the glue in the family. She's taken on this parental role with her grieving father, yet when you're a teenager you have this need to rebel. So, she's doing that at the same time, which is understandable. Hormones will do that to you.

Interviewer: Was that really you in the bikini in the beach scene?
Claire: Can I just tell you how mortifying that was? I was trying to negotiate with the director, saying, "Are you sure I can't wear a one-piece" "No, Claire". So, finally, we did a bikini with a realy bikini bottom but then we had to re-shoot it with a thong because my best friend is on one and it wouldn't make sense unless I was too. But I threw that robe on real quick right after the director called "Cut".

Interviewer: So will you now wear a thong in real-life?
Claire: No. I will never be in a thong again, I can assure you. I'm a Speedo kind of gal, a one-piece person.

Interviewer: Which is harder: drama or comedy?
Claire: Comedy is really hard. I've only scratched the surface in comedy so I'd like to have a chance to figure out what that is a bit more. I love doing dramatic work. Sometimes it's a lot easier to cry than it is to laugh. I'll have my friends or my Mom, off-camera, making faces for me. Usually they're so bad that I laugh at their attempts. Or I'll do the fakest laugh that I can come up with and I'm so embarrassed that I start really giggling.

Interviewer: People seem to be either comparing you to somebody or saying that you're Hollywood's next big thing. Do you feel any pressure?
Claire: Well, I don't think anybody's like anybody. We have our own individual spirits and minds and opinions. Meryl Streep is my favourite actress and if I could ever be as wonderful in my movies as she's been in hers...that's my ultimate goal. I've gotten my inspiration from a lot of people, even Molly Ringwald! I'm praying that one day I'll get to meet her.

Interviewer: How did you feel about Leonardo DiCaprio's Romeo?
Claire: He's brilliant. He's so smart and perceptive and he's also wild and out of control. I love that about him.

Interviewer: Tell us about filming that famous balcony scene.
Claire: It was so intimidating. I had to say those famous lines that have been made fun of over the years. I had to throw all these other interpretations behind me and start from scratch.

Interviewer: Was that what terified you the most?
Claire: Actually, no. I had my major panic attack before I got to the set. I'd just seen Olivia Hussey in a previous version and she was so gorgeous. I think I had a minor breakdown at 3am!

Interviewer: How do people your own age relate to fame?
Claire: Fame does funny things to people - both those who are famous and those who are not. I mean, sometimes I find that separates me from other people who don't do what I do. But, on the other hand, I'm very honoured that people have responded to my work and that they have related to the characters that I have portrayed.

Originally transcribed by: Elisa

© TV Hits 1997