7/27/2019 Newsday "Fast Chat" - Holly Hunter
klahomo,insong, iswhere thewind comessweepin'down the plain. But itscapital OklahomaCity, is where the 1995bombing of a federalbuilding by a decorat-ed GuIf War veterankilled 168 people, in-cluding 19 children -and, in the back storyof the TNT drqmo"Saving Grace,l'thesister of police detec-tive Grace Hanadarko,o wild seed whosedrunken change ofplans resulted in hersisfert being at thatfoteful place. Now-lapsed Catholic Grace(Holly Hunter, alsoone of the show's exec-utive producers) hosbegun interacting withan actual, so far as wecan tell, ongel. Hisname is Earl (LeonRippy). Secson two of"Soving Grace" pre-mieres Mondoy at10 p.m.Hunter,50, becameknown in,New York inthe Beth Henley plays"Crimes of the Heart"(succeeding Mary BethHurt on Broodway)and Off-Broadway's"The Miss FirecrackerContest," ploying inthe latter a sexuallyloose hellraiser notunlike a youngerGrace. After her 1987breakthrough fiIms,'?aising Arizona" and"Broadcast News,"Hunter won a bestcctress Academy ,Award for "The Piano"(le93).She spoke with fre-quent New sday contribu-tor Frank Lovece,
Youire at that stage, so tospeak, where a lot of olderfilm actresses segue to TV.ls that part of the reasonthat, like Glenn Close with"Damages," you're starringin and executive producingyour own series?I never could have done epi-sodic TV were it not for thischaracter. When I read thischaracter, I really didn't carewhat form it was being ex-plored in. I wanted to be thischaracter, so the fact it wasepisodic was neither here northere for me.Why would you want to bethis character? She drinkstoo much, sleeps around,keeps finding herself compro-mised.. . . Hmm. lthink I'vejust answered my own ques-tion!Yeah! She's a character whohas large appetites. She' relishes her appetite - she
has an extraordinary tastefor her own life. That's rareto come across, someonewho almost feels like d crx-ture, who is both male andfemale, who has enormousdesires, not just for dark-nss, but for joy. That's oneof the things I love the mostabout her - the joy shebrings to the daily obliga-tions of her life.lf she's got so much joy, whydoes she drink so much?Have you ever had a drink?Sure. But we're talkingGrace.C,race definitely imbibesheavily, at times. It's an inter-esting thing because mostpeople do drink, and a lot ofpeople understand that -that's why people smoke, too,y'know? - it's like a mini-vacation, this tiny little uni- .verse that's like a step away
from [pauseJ the thing. Thateven if the thing brings yougreat joy, it's great to haveanother thing.Grace also smokes up astorm on the show.I get to smoke, which isreally cool. [She chuckles.]I'm not a smoker. I didlsmoke inl "The Firm" in'92. Tbat was wild - it wasso cool to get to smoke. Itwas like, "Whoa! This is sogreat!" And then we stoppedshooting and I had to quit.Sixteen years now. [Shechuckles again.J I reallyhated quitting! [On "SavingGrace"l they're tobacco-freecigarettes, so I can smokefive cigarettes in a scene.You've said in past inter-views you're not religious.Has starring in and helpingproduce a show with overtreligious themes affected
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Holly unholy:See a clip fromthe seasonpremiere of"SavingGrace."
your thinking onthat?I don't think the showhas changed my feel-ings. Organized reli-gion is not anythingthat I'm attracted toat all. Grace wasraised as a Catholicbut is no longer aCatholic, so organizedreligion is touched onin the show, but morethan anything else,spirituality is what'sdiscussed, and thatEarl brings in. Thatfascinates me a lot.You lived in the Bronxwhen vou first cameto Nei York. *For a couple ofyears. Itwas at the.end of the Dtrain, just off 205thStreet, on [the intersect-ingJ BainbridgeAvenueand Hull Avenue. It wasveryIrish, andthenyoucould go just a fewblocks away and hit majorItalian.
ls it true you first met BethHenley, who launched yourearly career, in a stalledelevator?lShe laughs.J Yep, yep, thatwas for reaMt was like thebeginning of 1982. It was on49th Street'between Broad-way and Eighth [Avenue]. Iremember it pretty well - itwas on the south side of thestreet,How long were you trapped?Like l0 minutes; not long. Weactually had a nice conversa-tion.Anybody else in the eleva-tor?It was just the two of us.Any movies upcoming?No. This is what I wanna do.This is all I wannado.