Claire Danes Explains YouTube Research For Playing Bipolar Character

claire danes

Actress Claire Danes may still best be remembered for her breakout role as Angela in the cult 90s hit My So-Called Life, but Danes has been steadily working in the ensuing (gulp) twenty or so years.

And now Claire Danes is back in a new role on the Showtime series Homeland wherein she plays a CIA agent (which is so weird, like Angela Chase is a CIA agent and not just crushing on Jordan Catalano), one whose character description involves the oft-misunderstood bipolar disorder.

Danes, who plays an agent with a secret suspicion that a war hero released from captivity has come back with a concealed sympathy for Al Qaeda, says finding a gauge for her character’s mental state was easier than it might have been in the past — thanks to online video sharing.

Danes says she took to the internet to view real people suffering through a period of mania, using the clips to direct her acting:

“I had to do a lot of research for this role. And actually, I found great material on YouTube. There was a lot of footage of people who recorded themselves when they were in manic states. I think they were probably up in the middle of the night and lonely and, you know, needed to talk.”

Danes continued:

“So they talked to the camera. So I gorged on sort of manic confessionals on YouTube … They talk at a very fast clip. But, you know, it’s not a strictly unpleasant phenomenon. A lot of people are reluctant to treat themselves because they’re so protective of those manic highs.”

Claire Danes can be seen in the second season of Homeland premiering September 30.