Helen Hunt on Why She Made the Creative Move to Directing

Helen Hunt in Then She Found Me

“When I wasn’t getting acting jobs all the time that I liked, I was writing and writing and writing.” – Helen Hunt


Most people can tell you that Helen Hunt won an Oscar for As Good As It Gets. Most people would also think that after winning an Oscar, your working life is pretty much set, and roles will come your way thick and fast.

However, that’s not always the case. It certainly wasn’t for Hunt, who tells The Daily Beast that parts just didn’t come up for her after her Academy win.

Undeterred, at a little over 40, Hunt decided to create her own work and explore other creative outlets such as writing and directing. She wrote, produced, directed and starred in Then She Found Me as well as directing episodes of Revenge and Californication, but this doesn’t mean she has given up on acting.

“I love acting,” she explains. “People say, “Oh, you’re making a shift into directing,” and I say, “No, I’m not! Give me a job! I’ll take anything!” When I wasn’t getting acting jobs all the time that I liked, I was writing and writing and writing. Ten years of that. That’s how Then She Found Me happened. I was in a mode of writing every day. Ass in chair. I’d won this thing [the Oscar] and had power for 10 minutes, and I had a deal at Sony. Someone gave me the novel Then She Found Me, which I loved and went down this road to try and get it made. As that was happening, I’d just been in the last big wave of movies about people talking to each other and trying to love each other, so as that was shrinking, I was trying to make one of those movies. So I kept rewriting it subtly.”

Hunt mentions the last big wave of movies about people talking to each other, and it’s a valid point. Right now, Hollywood seems geared toward the fantasy genre more than ever, with superheroes, zombies, and anything CGI drawing the audiences and creating a blockbuster.

It also favors men and young women, with few decent roles out there for women over a certain age. Trying to make it in the film industry is tough for a woman, especially if she wants to hold on to her credibility but Hunt says she luckily never fell victim to any nasty casting couch scenario.

“I probably have and I was too out of it to know,” she jokes. “Not really. I’ve been pretty lucky. I mostly was well-protected, but it’s not a great place to be as a kid. I think I was groped. “Was I just groped?” But it was a fleeting moment, and I didn’t have a good round of it, thankfully.”

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