scene: a dinner party. claire danes and husband hugh dancy are sitting next to an older woman who clearly doesn’t know who either of them are.
older woman, to claire danes: what do you do?
claire danes: i’m an actress. i star in a television show called homeland.
older woman: oh, how interesting! what is that like?
claire danes: well, i play an intelligence officer who has a mental illness, and — for some reason — the mental illness seems to make her better at her job than anyone else, but at the same time, it isn’t good for her mental health, as she tends to obsess over her work and she isn’t able to maintain the kind of necessary distance from the work to protect herself. she has come very close to dying many times because she seems to have so little regard for her life and repeatedly puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations. and what’s even crazier is that her supervisors, who are aware of her mental illness, continue to let her put herself in these situations, even encouraging her to do so!
older woman: what a challenge that must be, to play someone so unlike yourself.
claire danes: i have done a lot of research on the mental illness. it’s important to me that it’s never a gimmick.
older woman, to hugh dancy: and what do you do?
hugh dancy: i’m also currently on a television show. it’s called hannibal.
older woman: no! really? what kind of character do you play?
hugh dancy: well, i play an intelligence officer who has a mental illness, and — for some reason — the mental illness seems to make him better at his job than anyone else…