Claire Danes gets up at 4:30 am every morning to go for a six-mile run: crazy?


I stopped watching Homeland when [redacted] died, so I have no idea if Claire Danes is still turning in award-worthy work. I assume she is – this was always a great part for her and I assume there’s a reason why Showtime keeps making the show. Claire covers the February issue of Marie Claire to promote the new season (the sixth), and while she doesn’t say anything particularly newsworthy, I still enjoyed this piece – you can read MC’s highlights here, and here’s some of it:

She gets to go to Langley every year to hang out with real spies: “It’s so wild, you have no idea. They curate a group of people who have good stories for us—experts in social media and counterterrorism and drug trafficking—and it’s just fascinating. It’s my favorite thing about the job.”

She gets up crazy early: “We’re block-shooting two episodes at once right now, which is intense,” says Danes, who rises at 4:30 a.m. to get her six-mile run in and is on set 12 to 15 hours a day, five days a week, during production.

On Homeland: “My goal is always to do something that feels just beyond my reach, and Homeland continues to do that. Every season, they find new ways to scare me. The show is like a diamond that fell from the sky. I’ll always feel slightly bludgeoned by it, but in the best way possible.”

On holding out for meaningful parts, which meant not working for two years: “It was a nightmare. I was in such agony. I had been so stimulated and energized, and I felt really robust and capable and eager. But I couldn’t go back to the ingénue role or the limited secretary-type roles. I wanted to play someone who would move the story forward.”

On meeting her husband Hugh Dancy and falling in love: “I was very recently single, and I had never been single before, so we were just friends for a while. [Hugh and I] met in Rhode Island when it was at its most audaciously beautiful, in the fall. And there was one day when we were bicycling by the water and it was sparkly and idyllic, and I just had this dumb epiphany, like, I’m really just happy.”

On realizing acting was her passion and pursuing it:
“My parents really empathized with our desire to express ourselves and I was so forceful and sure and annoying about it. I really insisted.”

[From Marie Claire]

I always like when she talks about Hugh Dancy, her husband, because I always get a weird vibe from them and it’s nice to know that they’re actually solid in real life. I think Hugh might just be uncomfortable on the red carpet or something, or maybe he’s just not a very demonstrative person, because whenever I see them together, I always think, “Yikes, they’re going to announce their divorce soon.”

As for the getting-up-at-4:30-to-run thing… that’s crazy. I’ve started getting up earlier and earlier too, but that’s so I can work… and then go to the gym in the afternoon. As I get older, I’ve had some epiphanies about all of this: one, I am a morning person not a night owl; and two, I admire the hell out of dedicated runners. I wish I had been more into running now, at my age. Getting up at 4:30 am to go on a six-mile run and then working a twelve-hour day sounds insane.


Photos courtesy of Txema Yeste/Marie Claire.

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33 Responses to “Claire Danes gets up at 4:30 am every morning to go for a six-mile run: crazy?”

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  1. Nancy says:

    My sister leaves her house every day, without exception, at 4:30 am to go to the gym. I, on the other hand, am turning over about that time and finishing a normal person’s sleep cycle. My brain hurts that early. But good for these ambitious little morning doves. Rumor has it Jordan Catalano left Angela Chase because she went to bed so early?!

  2. Dtab says:

    She will always be Angela from “My So-Called Life” to me…no matter how excellent she is in something else. I loved that show so much

  3. Aims says:

    I admire anyone who gets up and runs. My morning consists of waking up , get the kids out the door, celebitchy and going back to bed.

  4. Red says:

    To be fair, 12-15 hour days in actors is just about a half days work for normal people. They mostly sit around hair/makeup and then wait for them to get called to set. They’re also catered to throughout the day.

    I still dislike Claire after she cheated with Billy Crup.

    • A.Key says:

      THIS, THANK YOU!!!!

      I am so sick of hearing actors brag how they “work” 14 hours a day, when basically the majority of that time is them being off camera and waiting for a scene to be shot. I’m sorry, but sitting in a chair and waiting to work does not equal actual work, at least for me.

      Sure they have to be on set 14 hours a day but they’re not WORKING 14 hours a day while they’re there.

      A normal person who works 8 hours spends all of those 8 hours continuously working, not waiting to be called to work for 15min then waiting again (aka taking a break) and so on….

      • Jay says:

        when they are on set and according to you “not working” because the camera isn’t rolling, they are discussing the scene with the director or working on their lines. Not to mention often the hours can be all day one day and then all night long the next, in uncomfortable locations (freezing cold or super hot), they are asked to do all sorts of things like getting naked in a room full of people or running and sometimes they get hurt, they have to often be very emotional. Its draining. And for all the people who get to just work 8 hours – lucky them. Not how it works in Hollywood. Actors can have pick ups at 4am to get to a location two hours away, then work a 14 hours day and then two hours home. Yes, they are very very privileged, but it really bothers me when people act like making film or tv is not work. If you think that, then stop watching any entertainment. thanks!

      • ash says:

        this is TOTALLY NOT the case for white collar jobs…. now blue collar jobs…hell yeah. but obv im (and other commenters) not working a continuous 8 hours, because I’m sitting at this computer responding to this post so …yea.

        Actors work (even if it doesnt qualify or quantify your definition)…..but now to gauge this ….would be movie actor work, versus theatre actor work versus tv actor work…. and so forth….

    • Jay says:

      do you work in film or television and know how easy the job is? are you an actor? because sure, there are times where its easy but there are times where its not. That’s why there are union rules about turnaround. please don’t describe working in film as just sitting around being catered to as if that is the normal every day experience for actors.

    • Danielle says:

      I wonder tho, do they have time to go take a nap? I think they don’t leave. Just sitting around for hours doing nothing I think would be more draining than actually working.

      • Jenny says:

        I agree, Danielle, I’ve worked jobs where I was on stand-by and had to be at work but not working just waiting to be called on, and that was much more draining than actually working, especially not knowing when you would be needed because that made it very hard to relax. At least for me.

        I never envy actors in film and television because it must be so boring to wait around all the time and then just get to perform a short scene and then go back to waiting. And often that scene is out of sequence in the storyline. Must be so much more fun to be a stage actor.

    • supposedtobeworking says:

      To be fair, she says she is on set for those hours, she didn’t claim to be actively working all of them. That being said, she is in the vast majority of the scenes in Homeland and she is *feeling* all the time, which would be exhausting ; )!

      • zxc says:

        EXACTLY. She carries the entire f***ing show. She’s not working for 15 minutes here and there and then sitting in a chair all day, lol.

    • Anatha says:

      I have a job which often requires me to sit around for hours waiting. It is tiresome. I sit there with myself and nothing to do and I wish there would be something. I come home after 8 hours of doing nothing and I’m absolutely done. It’s not that it is stressful. Far from it, but I’m there and wait and I can’t leave, I can’t read a book or anything. I only wait and have to be alert about the moment that something might happen and I have to do be at my best. It is actually worse than when I have a normal office job. Being away from home and being at work always counts. No matter how lazy it seems to others.

    • Evie says:

      Same here, I can’t shake my dislike from the whole Billy thing. Same with him.

  5. Slowsnow says:

    To answer in a simple and direct way to your headline: yes.

    You’re welcome! :-)

  6. OhDear says:

    Good for her! It may just be easier for her to get her exercise out of the way before she puts in the 12 to 15 hour days. Also, the running may be part of her job – she likely has to work out/make sure she looks good because Hollywood.

    (I do the same thing, though on a smaller scale – get up at 5AM, 9 hour days)

    • runcmc says:

      Same here! I get up at 5 am every week day to run or swim. I work late and am *always* too tired after work/full of excuses, so about 2 months ago I switched to morning workouts and have been able to form a regular habit again.

      You gotta do what you gotta do for your health! If you can fit it in later in the day, I’m jealous :)

  7. steph says:

    I think you need to watch some interviews with Hugh Dancy. He´s pretty funny and sometimes he talks about Claire too.

  8. greenmonster says:

    I did that too last summer. Got up at 4:30, run 5km and was at work by 7:30. It was great. It’s just you out there and you meet no one (well at least not where I live) and then I run up the hill to our towns castle and watch the sun come up. I felt amazing for the rest of the day. But I can’t get myself doing this during winter. I don’t mind the cold, snow or even rain – but darkness creeps me out.

    • Lola says:

      Totally agree. I hate running at night or in the early morning while it’s dark out. It makes it hard to stick to a morning schedule in the winter. Though I don’t mind running at night in a big city. There is usually a few people out and I don’t feel so scared.

      • greenmonster says:

        I live in a small town and run through a forest area. In the early morning hours when it’s light outside – no problem. When it’s dark outside – don’t even think about it.
        Running in the morning also gives me such a high for the rest of the day. For me I can’t achieve the same feeling when I go for a run in the late afternoon or early evening. So that is something I’m looking forward too.

  9. Lucy says:

    Crazy, but also admiring. Also, speaking of Hugh, I know Confessions Of A Shopaholic isn’t a great movie by any means, but I must admit that, whenever I watch it, it’s mostly because of him. He’s super cute in it.

  10. Lucy says:

    I used to do that. I found on days where I didn’t run and lay in, I felt awful and exhausted all day! I have a job with much more flexible hours now so I still get up around 6am but if I had to I would go back to my 4.30am runs. It’s difficult in winter when it’s so dark though!
    I think if you love running, you just do it! Plus, I am NOT an afternoon person and know that after a full day of work I woudn’t drag myself to the gym so morning it is!

  11. A.Key says:

    Didn’t Hugh cheat on his partner with Claire? Or the other way around, she was cheating with Hugh?
    I know their getting together was really messy and embarrassing, don’t remember the details though.

    • Caity says:

      That was her boyfriend before Hugh, Billy Crudup. He left Mary Louise Parker, who was about 8 months pregnant at the time, to be with Claire. Very very messy

  12. JulP says:

    I do the exact same thing, except I run 7.5 miles :) I wake up at 4:30 because I have to leave for work by 7, otherwise the traffic is insane. And I prefer to work out in the morning, because otherwise I won’t work out at all. I’ve gotten the point where I’m addicted to working out — if I don’t, I feel gross/dirty, groggy all day, and I sweat more (for some reason). I even work out when I’m on vacation (I won’t stay at a hotel that doesn’t have a gym), and I ran the morning after my wedding. Maybe it’s a little crazy, but there are worse things to be addicted to …

  13. Bluesky says:

    I usually go to the gym after work, but on the weekends I get up at 5am and do my runs then go to the gym that morning. I know a lot of people who get up before work and do their runs.

  14. Rocio says:

    She’s beautiful and in the lwst picture is giving me Gwyneth Paltrow vibes which is not a bad thing.

  15. Mannori says:

    It’s not an odd thing for actresses to do so, specially while shooting because the way they look is integral part of a FEMALE actor’s work (yeah, I know, boys don’t necessarily suffer this scrutiny, if they don’t want it)
    I remember Robin Wright said basically the same thing: that she wakes up at 5 AM to workout and then go to set. She offered also the non surprising fact that her diet is basically just steamed vegetables.

  16. Katherine says:

    I love running in theory (because it sounds so romantic and adventurous) but in reality it’s too boring even though I really can’t run for long at all

  17. JustBitchy says:

    Her hair is the worst blonde dye job I have seen. Brassy! When I get my highlights, I always say no Claire Danes brass for me. I feel like mailing her this great violet shampoo I use. One word, Claire = Toner. You need it.

  18. tw says:

    I’m a runner and I understand why she does it. Running gives you energy. So if she’s on a tough work schedule, the run probably gives her more energy than that extra hour of sleep. I travel overseas for work constantly and friends always comment that they can’t believe I run each day while on the road. But really, it’s the best way to deal with jet lag. 4:30 is rough, though. I usually shoot for 5:30 or 6.