What is Helen Hunt Doing These Days?

Celebrity Q&A
November 28, 2012

'Mad About You' actress stars as sexual surrogate

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I was a big fan of “Mad About You.” Is Helen Hunt going to do another TV series?
—Gabriel Britain, Bridgeport, Conn.

Hunt is very much up for a return to TV. “Every part of me would be ready to go if it was the right thing,” she says. But until that happens, she can be seen playing a sexual surrogate in the movie “The Sessions,” which is getting Oscar buzz for its star John Hawkes.

“The Sessions” is based on the real-life experience of Mark O’Brien (Hawkes), a 38-year-old man with polio, who spends the majority of his day in an iron lung. Something happens to make him decide that the time has come to lose his virginity. With the guidance of his priest (William H. Macy) and his therapist, he hires a sexual surrogate for the job.

Hunt takes on the real-life role of surrogate Cheryl Cohen Greene, which required a lot of time without clothing. But the 49-year-old actress says she was up for the job.

“Probably 10 actresses turned it down before me,” she says. “I put [the nudity] out of my mind at first because I felt the story was so beautiful. There are so few good scripts that I just said ‘yes’ because I loved the story.”

Acting isn’t Hunt’s only creative outlet. The mother of an 8-year-old daughter also is a director and is getting her TV fix behind the camera. Last season, she directed an episode of “Californication.” This year she is slated to helm “House of Lies” and “Revenge.”

“I love it,” says Hunt, whose father, Gordon E. Hunt was a director. “It’s actually probably closer to my personality than acting. You’re solving problems. You’re not naked with a bunch of strangers. That out-of-control part of acting is part of what I like, but it’s nice to go to work with your clothes on.”

The Culver City, Calif.-born actress is hoping to put her TV directing experience to good use on the independent film she is trying to get off the ground, “Ride.” Right now, she is working on getting the financing together for the film she describes as a “mother/son empty nest gone unhinged story.”

The Hamilton family, portrayed by Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt and Anna Sophia Robb, attends a beachside worship service in Soul Surfer.

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