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“Is this Holly?” I ask somewhat disingenuously as Holly Hunter’s distinctive voice comes on the line. She answers in the affirmative, then laughs. “As if anybody else sounds like this.”
It’s true: Even over the phone, there’s no mistaking the veteran actress for anyone else. Had Hunter been a lesser talent, that unique (at least in Hollywood) Georgia twang may have limited her opportunities in Tinseltown. But her command of the screen was undeniable, and in 1987 she vaulted to mainstream stardom with her performances in the Coen brothers’ Raising Arizona and James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News, the latter of which netted her the first of four Oscar nominations (she won for The Piano in 1994).
This early burst of success afforded Hunter high-profile roles in such films as Always, The Firm and the serial-killer thriller Copycat. But by the late ‘90s, her career began fading in and out of view, even as she continued working and even occasionally garnered acclaim, as with her Oscar-nominated performance in the 2003 drama thirteen. In 2007, she regained pop-cultural prominence with her lead role on TNT’s three-season drama Saving Grace. But after taking two years off following the show’s cancellation, she returned to discover that the kind of high-quality roles she had enjoyed earlier in her career were not forthcoming.
“After Saving Grace, I didn’t want to work,” Hunter tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The schedule of that show — and being an executive producer — was so relentless that I was like, ‘Wow, I need to take some time off.’ I didn’t want to work for almost two years. And then when I did want to work, the stuff that was out there for me to do … were not some of the greatest projects of my career.”
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