Frenemies: A Love Story?


Word has it that Gwyneth Paltrow, whose career was super-hot in the late ’90s and early 2000s, is after Claire Danes, whose career is super-hot now.

Gwynnie apparently would like to do a movie with the Homeland star. She’d also like to guest on the Showtime melodrama, which is all about the CIA post-9/11.

In the movie that Gwynnie’s envisioning for herself, the two thespians would be sisters. Sources say Paltrow is interested in this because she feels they are doppelgangers.

Really? Dopelgangers?

Well, they’re both skinny and they’re both blondes. To me that’s where the similarity ends.

Oh wait, they both married Brits.

They both have children—or at least Gwyneth has children and Claire has a child. Gwyneth gave her first child a weird name: Apple. (“It sounded so sweet and it conjured such a lovely picture for me—you know, apples are so sweet and they’re wholesome and it’s biblical … and … clean!”) Claire gave her child a normal name: Cyrus.

Gwyneth says she suffered from postpartum depression. Claire admits she’s been depressed in her life, and has gone to a therapist since she was a child.

Both were in movies about the theater and acting. Gwyneth was in the better movie, Shakespeare in Love, a witty and clever tale in the style of a Shakespeare comedy, but in my opinion she wasn’t all that good in it. Claire was in Stage Beauty, a vastly inferior film that was probably made possible by Shakespeare In Love‘s success. But in my opinion Claire’s performance was light-years better.

Claire tends to avoid social media and is very private. She shops for antiques and belongs to a bookclub. Gwyneth has her own commerce website, GOOP, where she tells you what kind of parties to throw and where to buy $1000 outfits for your pre-schoolers.

Both were the objects of video spoofs that are, really, quite hilarious. Claire’s was on Saturday Night Live. Gwyneth’s was done by an amateur—but is funnier.

Both have been quoted extensively:


Sources claim Danes is cool to the joint-movie idea. She doesn’t like to plan far ahead, they say. But it’s amusing that just five years ago her career was at a standstill. How quickly times change.

I remember a scathing review in the Boston Globe of Danes’ performance in Stardust. The critic found particular irony in the fact that Ms. Danes was portraying a fallen star. He said she looked pained to be in the film. She was a fair maiden caught taking out the garbage. And that was just the start of the vitriol. But don’t believe me—here’s the whole review. I’m betting this guy isn’t on Ms. Danes’ Christmas card list.

Not that Paltrow hasn’t gotten her share of nastiness from critics—everyone does—but the consensus a few years ago was Danes was an “it” girl gone stale. Now she’s The Comeback Kid.

Paltrow hasn’t been on the screen so much…Ironman franchise the one exception.

It’s amazing how fleeting fame is, and how everything you do right one day is something you do wrong the next—something Entertaining Welsey Shaw is about.

No matter what the reason for Danes’ reluctance to co-star with her “twin,” I’d have to point out that this idea Paltrow has—the pairing of two, let’s face it, divas—rarely works. Paul Newman and Steve McQueen were among the hottest stars of the early and mid ’70s. Someone got the notion to put them both in a blockbuster, The Towering Inferno. The trouble was, who was the bigger star? In Newman’s eyes it was Newman and in McQueen’s eyes it was McQueen. It got so bad that each began counting lines and scenes in the script, and protesting when one had more than the other. So if a new scene were added for, say, McQueen, Newman required a new one be added for him. Billing became a nightmare.

towering-inferno frame

Err, guys, the BUILDING was the biggest star.

Finally they decided to put one name first on the American posters and another on the overseas posters. But the opening credits still presented a problem. Here they ingeniously came up with “diagonal billing”: Who came first depended on whether you read the screen from left to right or top to bottom. (They did something similar with the opening credits to Jaws a short time later, though I think it’s fairly clear Roy Scheider is the star.)

It’s interesting to me that prior to Claire’s resurgence, Gwynnie didn’t seem interested in teaming up with her; to the best of my knowledge she never mentioned her. Since Danes has a terrific career going already, and Paltrow can surely get projects developed simply by picking up the phone, it might be best if these two just stayed Facebook friends for now. xoxo!



One response

  1. An inspired post, John. I loved the quotes. They really pointed out the difference between these two very famous women. I’d definitely rather have a beer with Claire or Welsey.


    December 20, 2013 at 7:43 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s