09/02/2013 06:07 pm ET

How Claire Danes Became Angela Chase On 'My So-Called Life'


Before she was was the mentally unstable, hardcore CIA agent Carrie Mathison, Claire Danes was Angela Chase, an insecure teenager on "My So-Called LIfe."

So how did Danes nab the role that won her a Golden Globe when was only 15 years old? By giving an audition so wonderfully intense that she was chosen over "Clueless" actress Alicia Silverstone, the more convenient of the two.

"No one could really speak,” casting director Linda Lowy recalled of Danes' audition to The New Yorker. But the decision got tough when the crew realized they would be choosing a 13-year-old over Silverstone, who was 16 and "emancipated," meaning she could work longer hours.

“We turned to [creator] Winnie [Holzman],” executive producer Marshall Herskovitz remembered. “Winnie said, ‘Let’s change the nature of the show ... in that moment, we decided to include the lives of the parents more.”

Almost two decades later, Danes is still wowing viewers with her performance as Carrie. Although it's clear her talent is natural, Danes insists she's learned quite a bit from the great actresses who came before her like Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster and Susan Sarandon.

"You have to pick your battles on set. You have to come to work from a place of love. You have to stay hydrated when you have crying scenes. You have to go to college," she said in an interview with Vogue. "And you have to ask for money because there’s always more money and they won’t give it to you because you’re a girl!

"Homeland" Season 3 premieres Sunday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.

For more on Danes, head over to The New Yorker.