In his profile of Claire Danes, John Lahr talks to casting director Linda Lowy who describes the whole process in more detail including which actress Danes was ultimately chosen over and what it was like to be in the room during her audition:
“From the minute she walked in the room, Claire was chilling, astounding, and silent,” Lowy said. “There was so much power coming out of her without her doing much.” One of the scenes that Danes read—which involved a nervy bathroom breakup with Angela’s best friend, Sharon—required her to cry. “Tell me what I did, Angela. I mean, I would really like to know,” Sharon says. “We get to that line and Claire’s face turns entirely red,” Herskovitz said. “Her body starts to vibrate and tears come into her eyes. You realize that she’s having a physical experience that is beyond acting.” Even then, Danes’s defining quality as an actress—a combination of thoughtfulness and impulsiveness—was on display. “She seemed to have been born fully grown, you know, out of a seashell,” Herskovitz said. Zwick claimed that Danes was his first sighting of a “wise child,” a rare species that show business occasionally tosses up. As he put it later, “What she knows cannot be taught.” Danes also satisfied another quality that Holzman’s script called for: her face could transform in an instant from beautiful to ordinary."The cancellation's glossed over a bit but then rest? My goodness.