Claire Danes in "Stage Beauty"

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Claire Danes to star in "Compleat Female Stage Beauty

Post by Sascha (sab) » May 23rd 2003, 10:11 am

Jeffrey Hatcher's stagework Compleat Female Stage Beauty will make the leap to the big screen with Billy Crudup and Claire Danes, according to Variety. The Artisan Pictures production will be directed by Richard Eyre.

During the Restoration, when men playing women's roles in theatre were a dying breed, Edward Kynaston was one of the most notable actresses. The English diarist Samuel Pepys, upon attending a performance of Ben Jonson's The Silent Woman, wrote he "was clearly the prettiest woman in the whole house." Later, upon seeing him performing as a man, he wrote "likewise did appear the handsomest man in the house."

Kynaston did eventually make a name for himself in London as a leading man, but the story of his days in women's clothing is told in Jeffrey Hatcher's Compleat Female Stage Beauty. Hatcher's tribute has played at the Philadelphia Theatre Company and The Old Globe in San Diego.

Hatcher's plays include Three Viewings, Tuesdays with Morrie and Scotland Road. His latest work includes the book for the upcoming Broadway musical Never Gonna Dance and an adaptation of Kaufman and Hart's The Fabulous Invalid.

Eyre is currently represented on Broadway by the production of Vincent in Brixton. He served as director of the Royal National Theatre until 1997, directing 27 productions including Guys and Dolls, Hamlet, The Invention of Love as well as Racing Demon, Skylight, and Amy's View — the latter half on Broadway as well. Last season he was nominated for a Tony Award for his direction of the Broadway revival of The Crucible. He has directed for television and films including "The Ploughman's Lunch" and his screenplay for "Iris."


(Source: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/79288.html )
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Claire Danes in "Stage Beauty"

Post by Sascha (sab) » May 10th 2004, 5:46 pm

Claire's newest movie "Stage Beauty" had its premiere last week at the Tribeca Film Festival and received a very good review in today's "Variety".

The film will be released in the U.K. in September, in the U.S. in October.

Short description from http://www.comingsoon.net:
Actor Edward "Ned" Kynaston (Crudup) may well be the most desired man in all of London. The Restoration is in full swing, and enthusiastic audiences of aristocrats and commoners pack the theatres that were shuttered during the Puritans' joyless rule. With only men permitted to tread the boards, the greatest ardor is reserved for the actor who is the complete "female stage beauty" - and indisputably, Ned Kynaston is that actor. Lusted after by women and men alike, Ned commands all the perks of a star; at the same time, he is a dedicated actor who runs lines with his stage dresser Maria (Danes), who quietly adores him. Every night, Ned's death scene as Desdemona in "Othello" stops the show. But the winds of change are blowing - and they sound like the rustling of women's skirts. Ironically, it is Maria who ushers in a new era with her pseudonymous portrayal of Desdemona in an after-hours pub production of "Othello." After years of men-as-women, Maria is a sensation, a novelty whose time has come. King Charles II (Everett), prodded by his saucy, stage-struck mistress Nell Gwynn (Zoe Tapper), not only overturns the ban on actresses but also prohibits men from playing female roles. Overnight, Ned's career is ruined as a host of fledgling actresses take on the parts that he once owned body and soul. Ned is headed for a has-been's twilight in tawdry attractions - that is, until Maria takes it upon herself to make an actor of him again. Finally, the masks fall away to reveal Ned and Maria's true feelings, but not before Ned undergoes a profound inner journey to discover his complete identity.
Here's a first picture:
Image

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Post by Sascha (sab) » Aug 27th 2004, 9:24 am

There's a lengthy interview with her in todays belfast telegraph

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/lifes ... ory=555579
Claire Danes: The sighing game
Claire Danes has always played angsty and cerebral. Will a bawdy costume drama finally set her free? Ryan Gilbey finds out.
27 August 2004

Let's try a little trick: don't think about bananas. Did it work? Did you manage to cleanse your mind of anything resembling a banana? Me neither.

I encounter a similar problem before interviewing Claire Danes. I am in the corner of the hospitality room contemplating a muffin when the actress's PR appears next to me and says: "I'm sure I don't need to ask you not to mention..." I shake my head and protest that, no, of course not, I wouldn't dream of it, I wouldn't even know how to frame a question like that. And it's the truth. It would take a more audacious person than me to say: "So, Claire Danes, you fell in love with your co-star Billy Crudup on the set of your new film, Stage Beauty, and you both left long-term partners to be with one another; in fact his girlfriend Mary-Louise Parker was seven months pregnant at the time. How's that set-up working out for you?"

The topic has more or less gone out of my mind until it is almost verbalised over by the muffin table. And then it becomes hard to think of anything else. Sometimes the very subject that is being scrupulously avoided can dominate a conversation. Sometimes the question that is not asked drowns out the ones that are.

So I have to kick my heels outside the hotel suite while Danes and Crudup exchange a few words inside, then pretend not to notice as Crudup exits the room before I am led in. And I must resist the urge to probe and pry when Danes tells me: "I'm more discerning about what I reveal than I used to be. I used to think that I had an obligation to disclose certain things about my personal life because people seemed interested. I guess in the past I would've failed to realise that this is more than just you and I talking in a room. I mean, it feels nice and intimate. But I can make the leap in my imagination now and realise that by talking to you, I'm talking to millions of people." Well, hundreds of thousands, anyway.

Luckily there is much more to Claire Danes than whomever she happens to be skipping through the daffodils with at any given time. The 25-year-old has chosen her movie parts with care since the end of My So-Called Life, the US television series that made her name a decade ago. She had developed a cult following as Angela, something of a high priestess of teen angst, and before that, she appeared briefly in a similar part in a comedy pilot. "Even on a sitcom I had a morbid role," she sighs. It turns out that she sighs a lot, usually at herself for failing to grasp the word she is looking for. Her sentences come slowly, in staccato rhythms, as she refuses the temptations of convenience or cliché in favour of sitting it out for the precise phrase or expression. If that doesn't come, she'll just bring herself to a close with a "hmmm" or a click of the tongue. Or something from her repertoire of sighs.

It is hard to find a profile of Danes that doesn't touch on her supposed vulnerability. But there is a flintiness to her that hadn't been signposted, and which makes her an enjoyable sparring partner. I tell her that she appears to be having fun in Stage Beauty, in which she plays a 16th-century dresser and budding actress, whereas she usually seems vexed or pensive in her films. "Yeeahhh," she drawls, teasing out the word to suggest that it is nothing of the sort. "But I like to believe that those roles actually demanded it." Look at that judicious choice of language: "I like to believe..." The sarcasm crackles in the air.

There's more where that came from. When I point out that she even looked down in the dumps in the noisy, nasty blockbuster Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, she shoots back: "Well, the world was ending. It's very hard to have a feeling of levity when you're being attacked by androids!" By this point she's both bellowing and giggling. "If you were responsible for the salvation of humankind, I don't think you'd be laughing it up, pal." Point taken.

But it's true that Danes seems liberated among the wigs and powder puffs and bawdy gags of Stage Beauty. The trailers for Richard Eyre's film promise a kind of Shakespeare In Drag, conveniently omitting the passionate kiss between Crudup and Ben Chaplin, or the bizarre bed scene during which Danes interrogates Crudup about his preferred positions during gay sex. It's actually a cleverer, edgier movie than Shakespeare In Love, and the chemistry between the two leads is undeniable - as well as unmentionable, in the interview context at least. Perhaps it is enough that Danes responds to the subject of having fun on the film by cooing coyly: "Richard encouraged us to play. And I loved the company I was keeping."

The scenes from Othello that she plays opposite Crudup in Stage Beauty are the most charged in the picture, adding to the impression that, after her excitable Juliet in the Romeo + Juliet (1997), she has the makings of an impressive Shakespearean actress. I advise that she would be a tenacious Isabella in Measure for Measure and she whoops: "Oh, Billy's done that play!" Danes likes the sound of the role. "So she's incredibly masochistic, huh? Well, that'd be a good one for me. I do suffer from a bit of that. It's been my life goal to thaw." She muses on that for a moment. "My goal is to be less goal-oriented," she announces with a grin.

Some gentle nudging reveals that she regards herself as something of a control freak. "I'm not an acute case," she says, "but I definitely err on the side of being controlling." She has in the past imposed on herself enforced departures from her professional life - departures that look now like a control freak's attempts to prove that spontaneity has its time and place. In 1999, she took a break to study at Yale; she now says of that period: "I realise it was more about allotting some time for myself, to gain some distance from the business, and divorce myself from responsibility for a while." When she was dating her last boyfriend, the Australian musician Ben Lee, she accompanied him on a low-key US tour, squeezing into the bus and bedding down in motels. "It's such a fun fantasy to indulge in," she said at the time, "especially if you don't have to play." There's something poignant about the image of her tagging along, playing neither in the musical sense nor the participatory one.

One of the appeals of acting could be that it allows her the temporary satisfaction of immersion. She never looks more elated than when she is describing those moments when she has lost herself in a role. "Very rarely you are able to access a profound truth," she explains. "It can be really transcendent and exhilarating. That's why we have to endure all those times when we fall short of that excellence - which is the majority of the time in my experience. Often it's a little off, a little undercooked. But that's OK. I'm patient. Because when it does 'pop', it's so gratifying."

If there is a hint of sadness about Danes, it might be related to her professionalism; she doesn't appear to have had much opportunity, or inclination, to cut loose. She was, by her own account, a tense and fearful child who went into therapy at the age of six because she was seeing apparitions that would force her to perform peculiar tasks. A gargoyle once made her contort her body into a bizarre position for half an hour. "I don't see ghosts any more," she assures me. "So that's nice."

She was dancing in Lower East Side productions in her native New York before she was 10, and attending acting classes at the Lee Strasberg Institute by the age of 11. After that, she enrolled at a performing-arts junior high school, and later moved with her family to Los Angeles to enable her to appear in My So-Called Life.

The story of her turning down Schindler's List because it would mean a protracted break from schooling is widely known, and telling. She was, it seems, born with her feet on the ground. "She's this wiser-than-her-years-seeming person," said Jodie Foster, who directed Danes in Home for the Holidays (1996), "and yet she's really, really, really a baby. And you forget, because she's this beautiful, demure lady."

The hothouse atmosphere of Romeo + Juliet, dense with booze and bad behaviour and testosterone, is where Danes has seemed most fragile. But when I quote to her the observation of one of her co-stars, John Leguizamo, who said that she was "devastated" and "usually wanted to cry in every scene", she is quick to retaliate.

"We were all encouraged to reach a state of utter hysteria on and off the set," she says. "The other actors were just as deeply into their characters, only they weren't playing Juliet. They were playing virile, macho, aggressive people, so they were acting accordingly. Juliet does cry a lot in the movie, you know." She seems agitated now; I wish I had Leguizamo waiting on the line so she could put her objections directly to him. "I couldn't play a crying scene without crying," she continues. "I'd be an amazing actress if I could do that."

You get the impression that she is correcting an image of herself while it is still wet in the popular imagination - while she still has the chance. And when she does play inadvertently into the received wisdom about herself, she is quick-witted enough to send herself up something rotten. "I want my work to be seen by as many people as possible," she tells me at one point. "I want to make a big splash, I want to have my cake and eat it too. I think any serious artist does."

She pulls herself up, and looks at me incredulously. "And I just called myself a serious artist. That really happened, didn't it?" She's collapsed in an ungainly heap on the sofa now, covering her face with her hands and unleashing a deep, raucous laugh. "I'm so sorry," she says, coming up for air. "That was unfortunate."

Stage Beauty can only help to reshape Danes' persona, and though the publicists might be slow to admit it, the off-screen romance will be another advantage; it introduces a dab of passion into a career that has been predominantly cerebral. Danes doesn't have much in the pipeline except a leading role in the upcoming Shopgirl (co-starring, and written by, Steve Martin), but she says she's choosing her roles even more carefully now. "I haven't worked for six months because there's nothing I've connected with." She's been catching up with friends, shopping too much, taking in movies. For some reason, I ask if she writes; she strikes me as someone who might have a stack of poems in her bottom drawer. "I used to write poems when I was younger. I write e-mails. And text messages. Does that count?"

Only if you're a serious artist, I say.

"Oh, I am," she smiles. "Did I mention that?"

'Stage Beauty' is released next Friday
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Post by Megs » Aug 27th 2004, 4:27 pm

"So, Claire Danes, you fell in love with your co-star Billy Crudup on the set of your new film, Stage Beauty, and you both left long-term partners to be with one another; in fact his girlfriend Mary-Louise Parker was seven months pregnant at the time. How's that set-up working out for you?"
I will not judge. I will not judge. I will not judge. There's three sides to every story, right? :?
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Post by TomSpeed » Aug 29th 2004, 12:20 pm

So true, Megs. It's hard not to though, you know? I won't say that I haven't been tempted to fool around with someone who is involved with someone else. But for a girl to get hooked up with a guy when his significant other is pregnant seems unseemly to the core. I get the impression that Claire and Billy got caught up in the powerful forces of acting together. Claire also seems to be letting her wild side off of its leash. Of course, all parties could be acting rationally and with full knowledge of each other. I can't help feeling someone is getting hurt though.
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Post by TomSpeed » Sep 3rd 2004, 1:18 pm

There are some good pictures of Claire at the Stage Beauty premiere at http://www.efanguide.com/~clairedanes/home.htm. I especially like this one. Image
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Angela: Dad!
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Post by emmie » Sep 3rd 2004, 2:28 pm

our Claire's all grown up.

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Post by TomSpeed » Sep 7th 2004, 10:51 pm

I like her long hair. "Men like women who have long hair and who wear red," Camille says. I think Claire's long, blonde hair is sexy.
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Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Sep 14th 2004, 11:59 pm

Megs wrote:
"So, Claire Danes, you fell in love with your co-star Billy Crudup on the set of your new film, Stage Beauty, and you both left long-term partners to be with one another; in fact his girlfriend Mary-Louise Parker was seven months pregnant at the time. How's that set-up working out for you?"
I will not judge. I will not judge. I will not judge. There's three sides to every story, right? :?
I just read this quote from Billy Crudup:
Crudup Never Expected To Date Danes

Actor Billy Crudup admits his real-life romance with Stage Beauty co-star Claire Danes was initially "painful", because they were both in Long term relationships. Crudup, 36, and 25-year-old Danes were settled in seven-year relationships - with actress Mary-Louise Parker and Australian rocker Ben Lee respectively - when shooting started, but an intense chemistry between the pair was soon sparked. And after working on the movie in London, both left their partners and set up home together in New York. Crudup says, "It was the last thing that I expected to happen. It took us completely by surprise and its been a difficult and painful process." Mary-Louise gave birth to their first child in January this year and named him William, after his father.
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Post by Nothingman » Sep 15th 2004, 12:02 am

Makes me wonder if the pregnancy was planned, and if it was Billy's idea at all.
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Post by Megs » Sep 15th 2004, 5:37 pm

I know we aren't allowed to gossip/speculate on the actors personal lives on here, but I will for a second. I'm glad Billy said something. I know things like that happen, and we don't all know the whole picture, and I am pleased that he acknowledged it and explained it a little. It is none of our business, so kudos to him.
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Post by Hollywood » Sep 15th 2004, 6:27 pm

Anyways, Stage Beauty is premiering at the Toronto Film fest right now! Just saw Claire Danes outside Roy Thompson Hall on the television. I live a 5min walk away to Roy Thompson Hall.

Why the heck didn't I pay more attention to the film fest. If I knew before hand I would have be down there.

:(

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Post by sarahr_81 » Sep 16th 2004, 3:31 pm

wow, tons of people are in toronto for the festival, i live so close, i should have gone, someone i know ran into joseph gordon levit from 3rd rock from the sun, i know its not the same thing, but its still a celeb, lol.

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Post by wicked » Sep 16th 2004, 4:27 pm

she has become such an incredibly beautiful woman.

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Post by EWU MSCL fan » Oct 4th 2004, 1:55 pm

Yes wicked, she really is a beautiful woman.

Claire was on Live with Regis and Kelly this morning talking about her past weekend with Billy Crudup in New York and the fact that they saw and talked to the Olsen twins at a club and that Mick Jagger walked by them.

She also talked about taking a couple of classes while she was in New York City and they talked about Stage Beauty and showed a clip from the movie.

I'm not big on English period movies but I think I will see this one because she is in it.

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