Claire Danes found it ''agony'' being out of work for two years.

The 37-year-old actress has revealed she went through a period during her career where she felt ''really robust'' and was adamant she was only going to accept acting jobs she really wanted to play, but she found it a ''nightmare'' waiting for the ideal role to come along.

Speaking to Marie Claire magazine about her career, the blonde beauty - who plays the role of Carrie Mathison in the American series 'Homeland' - said: ''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.''

And Claire has admitted her goal has ''always'' been to do something beyond her reach, which she has claimed the political thriller has enabled her to do.

She explained: ''My parents really empathized with our desire to express ourselves and I was so forceful and sure and annoying about it. I really insisted.

''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.

''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 counter-terrorism and drug trafficking - and it's just fascinating. It's my favourite thing about the job.

''Carrie's so audacious and effectual and unaccommodating, and all these things that I'm not. I was nervous. We're block-shooting two episodes at once right now, which is intense.''