The actress has starred on Homeland since 2011 and is also known for TV movie Temple Grandin, but reveals she turned down roles for two years because they were not the type of parts she was looking for.

"It was a nightmare," she tells Marie Claire magazine. "I was in such agony. I had been so stimulated and energised, and I felt really robust and capable and eager. But I couldn't go back to the ingenue role or the limited secretary-type roles. I wanted to play someone who would move the story forward."

Claire has received a slew of accolades for her role as Carrie Mathison on the hit TV show including two Golden Globe Awards, two Emmy Awards, and a Critics Choice Television Award, but admits she was initially nervous about taking on the role because she was not sure if she would be able to handle it.

"Carrie's so audacious and effectual and unaccommodating, and all these things that I'm not," she says. "I was nervous. I felt like, 'This is going to be a workout, and will I be able to sustain that?'"

However, despite the fear she initially felt, she is now beyond grateful she accepted the role.

"My goal is always to do something that feels just beyond my reach, and Homeland continues to do that," she explains. "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."