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The Late Show
(CBS - April 21, 1998)


David Letterman: Our first guest is one of the most delightful and charming women we know, her first film entitled Les Misérables opens May first. Please welcome Claire Danes. Claire?
Dave: Nice to see you again.
Claire Danes: Lovely to see you again, lovely lovely.
Dave: Happy Birthday.
Claire: Thank you, and to you as well.
Dave: Thank you very much. Claire Danes and I, we share a birthday.
Claire: April 12th.
Dave: April 12th. How was your birthday, was it nice?
Claire: It was great. I was on the other side of the world.
Dave: You were...
Claire: I was in Sydney.
Dave: Oh, in Australia. Now as I recall, you have a boyfriend in Australia.
Claire: I do, a boyfriend. We rented out a house for a month.
Dave: Now first of all, now what's the deal on this guy, did we cover all of this before?
Claire: Well, he's a musician...
Dave: Oh oh...
Claire: I know you like those musicians.
Dave: Well, you know, I'm just worried. Is he, is he a nice guy, or is he a...is he a head case?
Claire: He's a lovely fellow.
Dave: Really?
Claire: He's my favorite fellow in the world, Ben.
Dave: Is he pierced?
Claire: No, he's pierce free...
Dave: Oh, thank God.
Claire: ...he's actually wearing a fake tattoo on his, right next to his nipple.
Dave: Ew ew ew ew....
Claire: He wore it for a day! He wore it for a day and he had to take it off this morning because it was freaking him out too much. He felt too...rebellious.
Dave: What was the tattoo?
Claire: It was a little heart.
Dave: A little heart. Kind of a magic marker kind of a deal?
Claire: Right. He had a tattoo on his neck, it was like a double-heart tattoo, it looked like an open wound, so he kinda had to...
Dave: How old is this guy?
Claire: He's nineteen.
Dave: Is he making any money?
Claire: Um, enough, yes.
Dave: Did he complete any kind of formal school training what-so-ever?
Claire: Yeah, he's a high school grad...
Dave: High school graduate.
Claire: And um...
Dave: Did he get good grades?
Claire: He...he scored amazingly well on important tests, 99.7, he's a genius. And um, yeah, he was actually trying out universities while we were in Sydney, so I'd go in and, like, crash the lectures and...
Dave: Well, he should go to college, you should encourage him to go to college, because the music career will always be there. Am I right, Paul?
Paul: You need something to fall back on. (At this point, the Sax player in the background falls back...) Fall back on that.
Claire: You need that piece of paper...
Dave: Now how long have you known...uh...is it Jerry?
Claire: Uh, Ben.
Dave: Oh, Ben, I'm sorry, I don't know what happened, sorta turned them around in my head.
Claire: I know, it's confusing, very close.
Dave: The whole thing there. How long have you known Ben?
Claire: For a year. Actually, our...my birthday is the day of our anniversary...
Dave: Oh, that's nice.
Claire: ...because last year one of my friends flew him out on a surprise from Sydney.
Dave: Wow. How did...how did you guys celebrate the double...uh...anniversary -- birthday?
Claire: Well, it was lovely, we had a big dinner with twenty of our friends, and we went raging, and we went to, kind of a cheesy club called The Cave. Any club named "The Cave" is don't...
Dave: It ain't 21.
Claire: No.
Dave: Now, now, you said "raging". What does...what does that mean?
Claire: I mean, you know, I danced, for, quiet a while.
Dave: Yeah.
Claire: Hard core.
Dave: Well that's how I celebrated my birthday, but I didn't call it raging. I was just at the house...dancing.
Claire: It's television, I'm trying to make it exciting! Yeah, so we stayed up all night, which is really the first time I'd properly done that. And we decided to go watch the sunrise on our roof.
Dave: Wow, now that's pretty romantic.
Claire: Isn't it romantic, we're a very romantic duo. And so we were gazing dreamingly at this...what we thought was the sun, and soon we realized it was a lamp post.
[audience laughs, Dave looks at camera with blank expression]
Claire: It was a...it was a streetlight. It was a streetlight. We thought: oh, isn't the Sun suppose to get bigger as time passes?
Dave: It was one of those deals where, "Oh look, the sun is now yellow, and now it's green, and now it's red, and now it's yellow, a half hour later you went into the house.
Claire: Yeah...
Dave: Oh, it's silly.
Claire: It was this beautiful lightbulb. and then, um, when we finally figured it out, we, you know, it was all good.
Dave: Was there alcohol involved with this celebration?
Claire: No, well, actually, I'm allowed to say that in Sydney we did drink at a pub, because the age limit there is lower there.
Dave: Is it lower there?
Claire: Eighteen.
Dave: Aussies. Do you mind if I call them Aussies?
Claire: Oh no. I take no offense.
Dave: Now, who are the Kiwis?
Claire: The what?
Dave: The Kiwis. Who are the Kiwis?
Claire: Who are the Kiwis?
Dave: Yeah, who are the Kiwis? The Kiwis are New Zealanders, right? Aren't they the Kiwis?
Claire: Oh...I just thought it was a fruit.
Dave: Now what about the Mighty Ducks, where do they fit in?
Claire: I have no idea what you're talking about!
Dave: Can I just hold your head for a minute, do you mind if I hold your head? Oh, man, this is very nice.
Claire: This is subversive.
Dave: No, this is nice. You have a lovely skull. It's nice. [to Paul] Huh?
Paul: I would have loved to have done that.
Dave: Well, you can't! You can't do it, you have to stand over there, you're Canadian!
Paul: I know, I know I know...
Claire: In Thailand...in Thailand...
Dave: In Thailand...
Claire: In Thailand, it's kind of, um, sacreligious to touch people's heads. So it's lucky we're not in Thailand.
Dave: I was going to say: "This ain't Thailand".
Claire: So, anybody's allowed to come up and give a little tap.
Dave: Yeah, this ain't Bannock, you know what I'm saying? Uh, we'll be right back with Claire Danes, am I right?
Dave: Now, uh...this Les Misérables, people are familiar with it...
Claire: It's difficult to pronounce.
Dave: Thank you. Because of the, uh, successful Broadway musical. The film is not a musical, is it?
Claire: No. It's great, it's epic, it's a drama, I won't torture audience members with my voice. Um, yeah...
Dave: What do you mean you won't torture people with your voice?
Claire: It's a...vile voice.
Dave: Oh...
Claire: No...I mean, if I were singing...
Dave: Oh, oh, I see. Forgive me. I was sleeping. But this...this...this is the work of Victor Hugo...
Claire: It is... it is, it's based on the novel.
Dave: And what is your part?
Claire: Uh, who is my part?
Dave: Yeah, who...
Claire: Cosette , I play Uma Thurman's daughter. Um, which sorta makes sense. And um, yeah, I uh, it's so rich, it's a complex story....
Dave: Where'd you film this thing?
Claire: In Prague.
Dave: Really?
Claire: In the Chek republic.
Dave: And it looks, when I saw it this afternoon, they sent over the clips, I wanted them to send over the whole movie so I could enjoy it in the comforts of my own office, but they didn't.
Claire: It's great.
Dave: It looked beautiful.
Claire: It was really fun to make and everybody in the movie is just a genius.
Dave: Now what is...really, everyone's a genius?
Claire: Bverybody's a genius, can you believe it?
Dave: Wow. You can't say that hear, can we Paul? Maybe in the band, but not over here. No sir. but, uh, um... Now help me place this chronologically. What does this have to do, what connection with this story and the French Revolution?
Claire: Um, uh...well, it's not actually the Revolution. It's like a little mini-rebellion.
Dave: Did it pre-date the Revolution?
Claire: Um...we're on television and I look like an idiot...
Dave: No... relax hey, this ain't Jepordy. Relax. Everything's fine.
Claire: Yeah, I think it's before the Revolution.
Dave: Before the Revolution...
Claire: I think so, yeah. It's about socialism and, you know, injustice, and all that stuff, and it's really moving.
Dave: Smells like pre-Revolution.
Claire: You'll laugh, you'll cry.
Dave: No, no. Alright, now let's take a look at, uh, you know what we're going to see here, Claire?
Claire: This is a scene where I am in trouble with my father, because I'm running off in the middle of the night to meet with the man I love. Revolutionary.
Dave: And your father is Liam Neeson?
Claire: He's my dad, yeah.
Dave: Man, this guy can act all day, can't he?
Claire: He's amazing.
Dave: Yeah.
Claire: It was a pleasure to be in his presence in the making...
Dave: Did you ever see him in that Rob Roy film?
Claire: I...didn't.
Dave: Oh, man. What a piece of work.
Claire: Well, then I'll check it out.
Dave: Yeah, you should.
Claire: Okay.
Dave: You and Jerry could rent it one weekend. I know it's Ben, I know, I know. Ben, relax! Um, alright, here we go, this is...and soon to be released, coming out in a week or so, am I right?
Claire: I...uh...yeah.
Dave: Les Misérables, Claire Danes...
[video clip]
Dave: Wow. Well, there you go. Liam Neeson and Claire Danes. Pretty good, huh?
Claire: [huh? i missed it...]
Dave: It's a neat thing for you to do. It's a nice film for you to have under your belt at this young age in your young career.
Claire: I'm trying to collect as many classics as I can.
Dave: And a nice job on that one.
Claire: Thanks.
Dave: What are you going to do now, what are you going now?
Claire: Um, I'm going to make The Mod Squad.
Dave: Oh, oh, the movie of the old TV show The Mod Squad.
Claire: Yes.
Dave: You weren't even born when that was on, were you?
Claire: No.
Dave: Now why are they making that again? Was it that big of a deal at the time?
Claire: Because Peggy Lipton was just so cool.
Dave: And you're Peggy Lipton.
Claire: I am!
Dave: No, no...you playing....
Claire: Clarence called me up said, "Claire, look..."
Dave: Have you started that yet?
Claire: Um...no, I will in three weeks.
Dave: Now what does that have to do with the French Revolution?
Claire: Um...
Dave: Ah, nevermind. Nice to see you again, thank you very much.
Claire: Nice to see you too.
Dave: The lovely Claire Danes, ladies and gentlemen....

Originally transcribed by: Andi Wolf Dolphin

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