Magazine article Variety

Hunter's Strength Finds Purpose in 'Weather'

Magazine article Variety

Hunter's Strength Finds Purpose in 'Weather'

Article excerpt

Holly hunter was worried she can't be heard.

"The reception in the place I'm staying is really terrible, so we'll just have to figure this out together," she said.

But her voice - slightly flinty, a little smokey, distinctly Southern, and so uniquely her own - came through strong. This is a woman who will not be undone by spotty signals or dropped calls.

And her indomitability is deserved. After all, Hunter has just delivered one of her richest, most lived-in performances, playing a mother struggling to come to terms with her son's suicide in "Strange Weather," which premieres next week at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival. It was a part she jumped at and one that will hopefully remind casting agents and directors of her prodigious talents.

"It was a situation where I got offered a lead role, and I was like, 'shit, really,'" Hunter said. "Immediately that's exciting because there's not a lot of lead roles for 58-year-old actresses. It's like what brave soul put this one out there."

It's been a varied career, one that has taken Hunter from period dramas such as "The Piano," to television procedurals such as TNT's "Saving Grace," to blockbusters like last spring's "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice."

"Sometimes it's the script or an opportunity to work with an incredible director," she said. "Sometimes it's the lead, but there are not always leads out there, so then it's an interesting supporting character or there's a lot of dough, although that happens less and less. Let's have a good laugh about that one."

Though never a conventional leading lady, the diminutive Hunter has been a fixture on screen since 1987's hits "Raising Arizona" and "Broadcast News," in which she played the role of a hard-charging producer. She copped an Oscar nom for that film, which turns 30 next year. Its critique of the television news business as an industry obsesses with sizzle at the expense of substance still rings true today, she said.

"It's perfectly primed for right at this moment," said Hunter, referencing NBC's widely derided presidential candidates forum last week. "Just look at the news in the last 48 hours with the Matt Lauer debacle. It's proving itself true over and over again. Even 30 years later, it's still taking place almost on a daily basis. …

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