Claire Danes has a reputation for playing quirky characters–she got her big break on the teen drama “My So-Called Life”, playing a high-schooler looking for a place to fit in–and isn’t afraid to tackle roles that might be a bit outside the box for some actors. For instance, she played autistic doctor Temple Grandin in a film about her life. But now, the actress has spoken about playing a bipolar CIA agent on the Showtime hit “Homeland”, and her remarks are rubbing some people the wrong way.
“I had to do a lot of research for this role. And actually, I found great material on YouTube,” she said during an interview with NPR. “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. 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.”
After the interview aired, several listeners took to NPR’s website to comment on Danes’ remarks, referencing the fact that those who are bipolar and use proper medications and treatment can live quite normal lives. One commenter said, “I am… disappointed that the actress portraying a person with bipolar disorder says she prepared by “gorging on manic confessionals on You Tube”. That’s like studying diabetes by visiting the morgue, instead of talking with those who control it with medication and diet.”
Another listener agreed, writing, “I was concerned that the actress chose “youtube” as a source of information. I have watched many of those videos and it is important to understand that for those of us living with loved ones who struggle with Type I bi-polar, the “youtube” examples actually appear mild.”
Though the actress was trying to illustrate that she did her research on how to properly portray her character, her words have garnered some anger and hurt from bipolar disorder victims and their loved ones who say she should have chosen another avenue in order to get a handle on the role.