Claire Forlani's parents moved to San Francisco in 1993, in order to allow for wider casting opportunities in Hollywood films. Subsequently, Forlani was cast in the television mini-series J.F.K.: Reckless Youth and the film Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. In 1995, she played the supporting role of Brandi Svenning in Kevin Smith's Mallrats. In 1996, Claire Forlani appeared in a supporting role as Sean Connery's daughter in the blockbuster action movie The Rock. She continued to appear in both widely released and smaller-budget films. Claire Forlani was cast in the 1998 film Deep Rising, but, due to creative conflicts, left the set during the first few days of filming. That same year, she starred with Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black, her most financially successful film. She then appeared in Antitrust, a thriller released in January 2001 to mixed reviews. Claire Forlani was the new face of L'Oréal in 2001. She has been ranked #51 (2000) and #89 (2001) in Stuff magazine's 100 Sexiest Women, #85 (2001) in FHM magazine's 100 Sexiest Women and was slotted in Loaded's Hot 100 Babes. In 2003, she co-starred with Jackie Chan in The Medallion.
In Autumn 2006, Claire Forlani joined the cast of CSI: NY in a recurring role as a medical examiner, Dr. Peyton Driscoll. In February 2007, Claire Forlani portrayed Tori Bodeen in the movie version of Nora Roberts's best-selling book Carolina Moon. In 2008, she starred opposite Daniel Craig in Flashbacks of a Fool. In 2011, Claire Forlani plays Queen Igraine in Camelot.