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The Tonight Show
(NBC - October 2, 1997)


Jay Leno: My next guest is a golden globe winning actress. She was great in Romeo and Juliet last year. Her new movie is U-Turn. It opens tomorrow. Please welcome, Claire Danes...
(Claire comes on with short blonde hair, a pretty purple dress, and black platforms. She kisses Jay on the cheek, and Tom Sellek, the previous guest)
Jay: Have a seat. Hey, Congratulations. You've turned 18...
Claire: I have. 18.
Jay: ...since the last time you were here.
Claire: The big 1-8.
Jay: You've blossomed into womanhood.
Claire: I have! It's exciting.
Jay: Did you celebrate wildly? Did you go nuts?
Claire: Uh, yeah. I had a fabulous party which I was really nervous about because you know, I was really concerned that I was gonna be the only person to show up. But no, I had it at a friend's house and it was a huge success, and my friend brought out as a surprise, this boy I had a huge crush on from Sydney, Australia.
Jay: Wow!
Claire: So...travelled the world to see me on my birthday.
Jay: Ohh...well that's nice. So this is the new boyfriend?
Claire: Yeah this is...this is the infamous Ben.
Jay: Oh...this is Ben.
Claire: Yeah, this is Ben...
Jay: We are talking about...we are talking about Ben.
Claire: Yeah, he's huge...
Jay: Yeah, yeah.
Claire: Yeah, he's a good one.
Jay: So this is good...
Claire: Yeah!
Jay: So how long has this been going on for?
Claire: Since...April 12th. Since my birthday.
Jay: Wow.
Claire: It's been...it's been fantastic...
Jay: Oh now wait, were you dating before April 12th?
Claire: Well we were sort of flirting...
Jay: Right...
Claire: Via telephone obviously since we live on opposite ends of the world. Umm...yeah...and we...I did a movie right after we had sort of committed to being together, so we were separated, and it was very dramatic, and we were (flailing her arms) faxing each other! And calling each other!
Jay: Wow!
Claire: And then since that ended, we've just been on the road sort of travelling. Going...
Jay: Oh, so you don't see him very often?
Claire: Well no, but I...I've been living with him really. He left for Sydney this morning, and I'm gonna see him...
Jay: Awww...
Claire: No! In two days I'm gong to Australia!
Jay: You're going to Sydney?
Claire: Yeah!
Jay: Oh man! That's quite a commute (laughter)
Claire: Yeah! (more laughter)
Jay: Well now what does, what does he do? Tell us about that.
Claire: He's a musician.
Jay: He's a musician...
Claire: He's a singer, songwriter...
Jay: Moms love musicians
Claire: Yeah, no...I've...I'm attracted to the musicians.
Jay: Yeah...
Claire: I like the musicians! I've, I've gotta be honest. No, he's...a sweetheart.
Jay: Well now how old is he?
Claire: He's...just turned 19 a month ago.
Jay: Oh well...now that's okay.
Claire: Yeah...you know!
Jay: Yeah, see I was thinking oh "49!"
Claire: Yeah, he's in that...bracket.
Jay: Well that's good. You sounds happy.
Claire: I am. I'm ecstatic! It's really thrilling...
Jay: And you're driving now?
Claire: I am. I'm...I'm more of a pro on the road, I gotta tell ya. I took two big roadtrips. They were a lot of fun. I went...
Jay: With Ben?
Claire: With Ben! Yeah, of course. We went to Joshua Tree, which was really exciting...
Jay: Did you drive?
Claire: I did drive, yeah.
Jay: Tickets?
Claire: Uuumm...a warning!
Jay: You got a warning? (laughter)
Claire: A warning, yeah! Well we were...
Jay: What, was the warning to stay away from Ben? (laughter)
Claire: No, no, we were... (starts laughing). No, we were on you know, a windy road in the park, and it was beautiful and it was sort of sundown, and there was one lone car like ahead of us, and he was going 35 miles per hour. (rolls her eyes, very annoyed). I mean, SO slowly! (laughter) It was the limit, but I...overtook him, and I thought it wasn't gonna be an issue, but I did, and I got pulled over, and I was SUCH a wreck. And the guy asked for my license, and I give him my credit card, I'm... (motions)
Jay: Oh good (laughter)
Claire: But I wasn't buying him off! (laughter)
Jay: Wait, was the car you passed a cop?
Claire: No, no, no...
Jay: Oh...
Claire: It was you know...some dude.
Jay: Some dude? (laughter)
Claire: Some dude. (laughs) Like checking out the trees...
Jay: So the cop was hiding, just waiting for an unsuspecting...
Claire: Yeah, he...he was anxious. He was on my tail. But the next trip I took to Big Sur, I was really paranoid about the cops so umm, I was driving down the road and I saw one behind me and...I wasn't doing anything wrong...
Jay: Nothing wrong...
Claire: No! So I decided to lose him, I didn't wanna deal...
Jay: You decided to lose him?? (laughter)
Claire: (laughs) I was gonna lose him! I'm such an animal on the road, you know! I need my space to be free! (laughter)
Jay: I think that's smart, whenever you see a policeman behind you, try to lose him! (laughter)
Claire: Yeah, yeah right! I thought that was really smart! And Ben was like "Claire, that's not the greatest way to deal with this!" and I'm like "Ugh, what are you talking about? You're being paranoid!" and umm, but yeah, so we waited for a couple minutes and then we started driving, and he pulled over and he was waiting for me! And he followed me. For like miles! And I was such a wreck and so we kept looking back and you know..."Shhh! Don't do that! He's gonna think we're up to something!" But we weren't! I mean we were...
Jay: You know, you look suspicious just sitting here! (laughter)
Claire: I know! (laughs)
Jay: So what did he say?
Claire: Oh he didn't. He just eventually (motions with her hands, forward) you know...
Jay: Just kept going.
Claire: He just gave up on us.
Jay: Oh, okay.
Claire: Yeah....we threw the crack out the window (laughs)
Jay: Oh stop now! (laughter)
Claire: No, I'm kidding!
Jay: Well tell me about this new movie. Oliver--you know I haven't seen U-Turn yet. I didn't get a chance to see it.
Claire: Yeah, it's an odd, you know, film noire and...
Jay: Well he's a quirky, you know Oliver Stone movies I either love or I hate. It's one extreme or the other.
Claire: Yeah, I wouldn't really call Oliver's films quirky. Frightening! Yeah, it's good, it's interesting. It's sort of a smaller story than what he usually tackles.
Jay: Is this the one you shot in the desert?
Claire: Yeah, we shot it in Arizona and it was so hot. Unbelievably hot. Ben was in Arizona, and this screen on his laptop just popped. Totally burst.
Jay: Poor Ben! (laughter)
Claire: Yeah, poor Ben! (laughs) Yeah, that didn't happen to me, but I was very ill. I was really sick, and I had to be this really quirky, like peppy character, and I was you know, barfing in between takes, literally. And Oliver's like "Claire, come on, be perky!"
Jay: So what is it you play? Like some spacey teenager?
Claire: Umm...I play an idiot, which was really really fun (laughter)
Tom Selleck: (laughing) I've done that!
Claire: Yeah! It was a good time. And I couldn't figure out what accent I was meant to have, like I assumed Arizona was in the south and...(laughter) I don't know if that qualifies! (laughs) So like...
Jay: So you're saying this is a stretch? (laughter)
Claire: Yeah, it's a stretch!
Jay: Oh I'm teasing. Let's see, let's take a look at the clip. Here's a scene from U-Turn.
(TV pops up and the Patsy Cline scene from U-Turn starts. Claire is walking through a restaurant. She has high blonde pigtails, a baby tee, and a southern accent)
Jay: Well that's great. You're a great actress, I always enjoy your work.
Claire: Thanks...
Jay: Will you say hi to Ben for me?
Claire: Oh yes I will!
Jay: Oh please. He'll be able to see this tomorrow in Australia...
Claire: Yeah, cool!
Jay: Claire Danes! (applause) We'll be right back...

Originally transcribed by: Michelle

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