Finding her way home
After years in the movies, Claire Danes has found the role of a lifetime, writes Colin Vickery
HAS there ever been a more tormented TV character than Homeland’s Carrie Mathison? The former CIA agent, played by Claire Danes, battles bipolar disorder, all the while tracking marine-turnedterrorist-turned-politician Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis).
Carrie’s conviction that Brody is linked to al-Qaida and that he plotted a terrorist attack has seen her credibility destroyed, her sanity questioned and led to her being sacked from her job.
It is an emotional rollercoaster that has continued in Homeland’s second series.
In the season opener, Smile, set six months after the first series finale, Carrie appeared to have finally found peace.
‘‘ She has been very committed to the goal of stabilising herself and regaining her equilibrium and her sanity,’’ Danes says. ‘‘ She’s gone through that full course of treatment and been living with her sister. She’s really cocooned herself and tried to accept this new reality, this pared down reality.
‘‘ She’s teaching English to Arab students. She’s feeling confident-ish.’’
All of that changed when a CIA informant said that she would pass information about an imminent terrorist attack on America only to Carrie.
Carrie was drawn back into a life of espionage — which has set off another chain of emotional turmoil.
By the third episode, State of Independence, Carrie had downed a dozen pills in the hope of ending her life. Fortunately, she changed her mind and forced herself to vomit.
Shortly afterwards, Carrie was in a state of euphoria as she learnt Saul (Mandy Patinkin) had discovered Brody’s video confession. Her suspicions had been vindicated.
No wonder Danes has won Best Actress Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy awards
They don’t trust each other but they also know each other intimately
Claire Danes, above, as Carrie in for playing Carrie. It is the role of a lifetime.
‘‘ It was fatiguing in the first season to maintain that pitch (of emotional instability) and that sense of hyper vigilance that she always had,’’ Danes says.
‘‘( I was) wrestling with her constant questioning of her own abilities and her own perspective. She didn’t know if she could trust her judgement, and that’s unnerving.’’
Danes sees some similarities between herself and Carrie, even though they come from very different worlds.
Danes studied psychology at Yale University.
Her acting career took flight with the lead role — teen Angela Chase — in TV series My So-Called Life.
International fame came