Claire Danes Goes Autistic For HBO

By  · Published on January 15th, 2010

Where has Claire Danes been, you might be asking? If you’re not asking that, I’m asking it for you. Unless you were one of the lucky few to see her in Me and Orson Welles, then you probably haven’t caught a glimpse of her unless you saw Stardust back in 2007. You’ll finally be able to see her again the first week of February in HBO Pictures’ Temple Grandin. She plays Temple, the title character’s 1995 autobiographical book, Thinking in Pictures: My Life With Austism.

You might not have heard her name before, unless you work in the slaughterhouse industry. She achieved fame by designing humane, sweeping corrals that were designed to keep cattle calm while being led to slaughter. It might sound morbid, but she actually has respect for these animals and felt that we owed them at least that much respect. She’s since designed more than a third of the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. She’s also been mentioned in Oliver Sacks’ book An Anthropologist on Mars, and appeared on numerous news and television shows, but this has been my first introduction to her.

Danes emulates Grandin’s quirky mannerisms and speech patterns down to a T in what will probably garner her a few nominations, based on the trailer. We listened to the actual Temple Grandin speak about this project, and it’s uncanny how close Danes was able to mimic Grandin. Even though the film is set in the 1960s, Danes’ portrayal is spot-on to the real-life Grandin. According to Danes the biggest challenge was being able to “see the world as an autistic does, even if it was in a sort of limited fashion.”

Temple Grandin premieres on HBO on February 6.

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