(CBS) Claire Danes, 23, began acting professionally
when she was just 12. In 1998, she took a career break to become
a college student. But when she was asked to join Meryl Streep,
Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore in "The Hours," Danes
tells Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, it was an opportunity she
couldn't pass up.
“It was kind of a no-brainer, thinking
about doing it. I mean, it was just so exciting to participate in
a project that is smart and artful and, you know, terrific as it
was,” Danes says.
In this movie, she plays Meryl Streep's
daughter. The experience, Danes says, was “surreal -- a dream come
true. I had been in college for a few years and actually hadn't
been doing much acting at all. And then I found myself on a set,
like, with Meryl Streep. So I was intimidated initially. But she's
just such a lovely...warm, accessible person that you know she made
it as comfortable for me as possible. I needed the help.”
As Danes watched her, she says, she impressed by Streep's experimental
approach to her work. “She was very brave. I was surprised to discover
how hesitant she was to judge her own work, you know? She would
do a lot of different takes, and they'd be varied. And some were
better than others. I mean, they're all amazing because, you know,
it's Meryl Streep. I'm much more cautious. I'm much more concerned
with being excellent all the time. And she had a kind of looseness
about her attitude towards her work that I was really impressed
So how does Danes go to college and have a career
at the same time?
“It's challenging. I was very optimistic
when I first started school. I thought, you know, ‘No problem. I'll
go study during the school year and then I'll have a movie every
summer and you know, like clockwork.’ And that was so not the reality. I'm vacillating between
the two,” she says.
“Go to school and concentrate solely on that
and then make the transition, you know, books and work for awhile.
But it's not easy. It'll take me awhile to finally accomplish everything
I want to accomplish,” she continues with a big laugh.
But her recent career momentum has been keeping
Danes away from the Ivy halls. Last fall, she costarred as a pseudo-intellectual
teen-ager who comes between two brothers in the critically acclaimed
"Igby Goes Down."
“She's really pretentious
and self-involved, and believes she's much more mature and experienced
than she really is and it was great. I could just indulge in all
of her neuroses and stuff,” Danes explains.
And up next
will be the big budget action sequel "Terminator 3: Rise of
the Machines," once again starring Arnold Schwarzengger.
She may never go back to school.
“But I may. I may,”
she says. “We'll see. I get antsy. So, like, I get bored with both.
I've been acting professionally since I was 12, and I had sacrificed
a lot. My development was a little bit rocky. So I didn't get out
of conventional high school. So it was just important for me to
go to Yale for the social experience as it was the academic. And
yeah, I benefited measurably from that.”
says from all the clichés about college like beers on Friday
“And you know, I made all my best friends there.
I'm really happy I went. It was very fulfilling,” she adds.
"The Hours," which has received 7 Golden Globe nominations,
is currently playing in New York and Los Angeles and opens nationwide
on Jan. 17.
(c) 2003 CBS The Early Show