Instead of going down with the
Titanic, Claire Danes went to Yale. Now, like a
seasoned Shopgirl, she sells us on the virtues of New
Claire Danes walks into the lobby of the Soho Grand Hotel like
she's stepping out of a shower. Hair wet, dress clinging, she's a
downtown New York girl meeting an out-of-town guy for a six p.m.
drink. "I've been dancing," she tells me. Which makes sense, for
Danes is someone you can imagine dancing away the afternoon, sort
of a blond everygirl whom you feel you know before you've met her.
"Usually it's kind of quiet here," she says of the lobby bar.
"That's why I picked it, but
" She doesn't need to finish. The
music blasts loud enough for more dancing.
But Danes is capable of being heard above the roar. She always has
been. She became a household name as Angela Chase in the 1994 TV
series My So-Called Life, then starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in
1996's Romeo + Juliet. Danes could have teamed with DiCaprio again,
but she reportedly turned down the role that went to Kate Winslet
in Titanic. She had a good reason. She was landlocked in the city
she's come to discuss: New Haven, Connecticut, home of her alma
mater, Yale University. (She graduated in 2002.)
This month, she stars in Shopgirl. It's the film version of Steve
Martin's novella, in which Martin plays Ray Porter, a rich Angeleno
who falls in lust with a beautiful shopgirl (played by Danes) who
works behind the glove counter at an upscale Beverly Hills
department store. I can imagine Claire Danes selling gloves.
Actually, I can imagine Claire Danes selling anything - especially
New Haven, which holds a special place in her family. I'll let her
- and a surprise guest - explain.
So what do you like best about Connecticut?