Claire Danes as the Autistic Temple Grandin

By Monika Bartyzel | Cinematical

When Claire Danes made an iconic name for herself, it was as the awkward and lovable Angela Chase in My So-Called Life — the girl who struggled to be cool, but gained friendship and even the heart of Jordan Catalano for the parts of herself she couldn’t mask in “coolness.” Since then, however, it hasn’t been the easiest road. She had a brief cinematic explosion with Romeo + Juliet, and taken on every kind of role from retro television remakes to action thrillers and indies, but never with the same success. And, for the most part, roles that just seemed simple and acted, rather than dynamic and lived.

Now she’s stretching the barriers. She’s got a made-for-TV movie on the way called Temple Grandin, starring alongside Julia Ormond, David Strathairn, and Catherine O’Hara, which will air on HBO on February 6. (We mentioned here back in ‘08.) But the big shock — she plays a famous autistic woman. Temple Grandin grew up in the Northeast, got a Ph.D. in animal science, is now an advocate for autism, a bestselling author, a strong voice in the world of animal welfare (she designed curved corrals for animals led to slaughter), and the inventor of the hug machine, which you may have heard about.

Watching Danes as Grandin in the new trailer, which you can see after the jump … I don’t know. She’s certainly trying to embody Grandin’s unique presence, but it looks too mimicked and forced. (But maybe that’s just because of the scenes they chose?) After the trailer you can see a long talk with Grandin for comparison. (It’s an hour, but head to about the 9-10 minute mark to hear her talk about her talk about her favorite movies.)

Claire Danes stars in the new HBO Original Movie, “Temple Grandin.” The movie premieres Saturday, February 6 only on HBO.


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