Claire Danes Explains YouTube Research For Playing Bipolar Character

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.