Claire Danes

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Interviewed by David Michael

Claire Danes is famous for starring opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" and not starring in "Titanic" (she turned it down). Since returning from a three-year acting hiatus (she was studying at Yale), she's appeared in an interesting set of movies - Danish maverick Thomas Vinterberg's "It's All About Love"; the Oscar-winning "The Hours"; and indie curio "Igby Goes Down". But nothing is more curious than her presence in the new "Terminator" film.

What's Claire Danes doing in a Terminator movie?

I still don't believe I'm in a Terminator movie! It's really incongruous to the rest of my career; I'm well aware of that. I'm getting so many double takes, I'm thinking - what? Are you serious! But I'm always interested in experimenting with different styles of acting and different medians, and if I was ever to do a big flashy action movie, I think "Terminator" is a good place to start.

What does your character do in the film?

She can do all sorts of things. I describe her as a Swiss army knife, as she has all these different qualities that you wouldn't expect. Once she's abducted by the Terminator and company, all of her plans are derailed, and she finds herself in the centre of utter chaos and destruction, and she has to be very pro-active and resourceful. It was great to affect the action as much as my character does.

Did you pick up any skills that you didn't have before?

I learnt how to shoot a machine gun in this movie, which is something I never imagined I'd ever have to do! Of course my mother was visiting on set that day, the only day she came - [adopts mother voice] "Oh Claire, are you alright? What's happened to you?"

How do you relate to someone who's a proactive, action orientated, pick-up-a-gun type?

I don't really. I pretend. I wish I was as magnificently capable as my character is in this movie. She finds herself in a dire circumstance and she's running on pure adrenalin.

Are you likely to turn up in any other action movies?

It's not on my immediate agenda. It wasn't like I was hankering to make an action movie - it appeared. It was an anomalous occurrence. I'm thankful for it, because I had a wonderful time, but I don't imagine I'm going to be in the habit of doing huge blockbusters.