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Holly Hunter on Saving Grace

Published July 19, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of TNT.
Saving Grace: Holly Hunter Saving Grace: Holly Hunter
Many film actors are finding new homes on television series, but most of them are not Oscar winners. Holly Hunter is “gracing” the small screen with her role in TNT’s Saving Grace. She plays an alcoholic cop who gets one last chance from an angel.

Holly Hunter Talks Saving Grace

“She reads a whole person,” said Hunter. “All of the opposites are unified in her. The fact that she’s a drinker, it was a great opportunity to explore the romantic elements of drinking. We do think that drinking is very romantic. As a culture, it’s always portrayed that way for decades in film and it’s also an opportunity to show the vulgarity of someone and how ugly someone can be. And that’s flesh and blood. It’s a part of our lives. It’s a part of our social lives and our private lives, having exposure to alcohol. So there are many topics that drew me, many, many aspects of her, just the fact that they were all expressed is the reason why I’m here.”

Even with a spiritual guidance, Grace is a sexual woman still. “Thinking about your question about the sexuality of the character, I think the thing that drew me to the character is she’s a whole person. In thinking about what someone’s sexuality, anyone’s sexuality that I know, it’s an integral part of who they are every day, every month, every year of their lives and it changes as their lives go on and this is an inherent part of the exploration that we’re making of Grace. Because it’s got so many taboos hooked up to it, sexuality and how you’re going to portray sexuality and what you can ask and can’t show, we thought it would be so interesting to try to knock off as much of that as possible and just think about her in a pure sense, and you can’t divorce sexuality from that picture if you’re going to look at the whole picture. That was very interesting to me because I could see that that was Nancy’s instinct about the character from the pilot before I had ever even heard of this project, it came to me. And her sexuality was absolutely wrapped up in who she is and every aspect of her is that way for me.”

Having never done an ongoing series before, Hunter is still discovering new things about the genre at this established stage in her career. “I think the amazing thing about this that I’ve discovered doing it and the fact with this cast that we’ve done 10 hours of Grace and we’re going to do 13 at the end of this season. It’s eight hours more than anything else than I’ve done in my life. It invites an intimacy and a knowledge of one another and that’s been an honor for me because I’ve always wanted to work with the same cast. I’ve always wanted to work with the same actors and directors and everyone that casts the same actors because they want to author a chemistry. So this has been the privilege. It’s kind of like a repertory theater company but you’re doing a different play every week. Film doesn’t have this kind of character development opportunity and it doesn’t give me the opportunity to live this life with these people week after week, month after month.”

Before deciding to do the series, Hunter’s first instincts were to make it a film. “It’s interesting, as soon as I read the script, I went, “Wow, I’ve got to do this.’ I said it to somebody immediately, ‘How come this can’t be a feature?’ Because that was my reference point. I was like, ‘Wow how come this can’t be a movie?’ Because that’s what I’ve done so I couldn’t imagine it, the leap of not knowing what would happen next. But signing on anyway, it was a leap of faith but at the same time I didn’t have any real hesitations taking a leap because I liked the script so intensely that I didn’t want anyone else to do it.”

Saving Grace premieres on TNT.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of TNT.

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