Saving Grace has already earned Holly Hunter a Golden Globe nomination, and few would be shocked to hear her name on Thursday when the Emmy nominations are announced. Hunter plays an Oklahoma City detective who lives large for better or for worse — throwing herself into her work but also drinking, smoking, and sleeping with the wrong people. She's also being visited by Earl, an unusual angel who encourages Grace to set her life straight.
The show's second season premieres tonight at 10 p.m. EDT and PDT on TNT, and last week, Hunter spoke with some reporters about her character, the show's second season, and her feelings about making the jump from movies to TV. Here are some highlights:
On whether Grace changes at all this season:
"I think she changes all the time, actually. I think there's give and take inside her. There's always movement. She's very kinetic. And I think she's also kinetic in a psychological way. . . . The most thrilling thing about her is how live she is. So many people are truly asleep for long periods in their days and their lives. I think Grace spends an extraordinary amount of her time really awake, awake to a real, true curiosity about why people do what they do. She also is a real tester of what people are capable of and what she herself is capable of."
On what opened the door for Saving Grace to exist:
"What preceded that was the success of The Shield and Rescue Me and The Sopranos — really started the wild, wild west in cable. FX and HBO kind of started this new idea, which was real character drama, and a character who does anti-heroic things, not just a character who's quirky but a character who straddles two worlds — one world being highly charged with questionable thoughts and behavior, such as Denis Leary and Tony Soprano and Vic Mackey. Those characters live in a more similar vein to how Grace lives, except that Grace is a woman. That's where cable is really kind of taking off. It's given women opportunities to play highly controversial characters, women who are doing things that maybe they wouldn't have been able to do on television 10 years ago, like Weeds on Showtime or Glenn Close in Damages or Minnie Driver in The Riches, women who were living lives of real, deep grayness."
To find out what Hunter thought was the toughest part of transitioning to TV, read more.
On what it feels like to work in TV after so many years in movies:
"It's really a high. You feel the wind blowing in your hair when you do a series, in the best of times. Other times it's just trying to catch up. But I'll tell you, this work is very fulfilling, and it's great for me as an actress to get to adapt and be flexible. You're demanded to be very flexible and very adaptable and be very much a problem solver on a set like this. I kind of used the skills that I've developed over these years doing feature films and just kind of accelerated them to make this series."
On what she did to prepare for the leap to TV:
"I called Dylan McDermott, cause he'd done The Practice. I called Dylan because he's a buddy and I so respect him, and he'd done a David E. Kelley series, which is so particular. I was asking him something I'd never asked an actor before, which was: How do you memorize all those lines? That was a very pertinent question for the first time in my career. With David E. Kelley, the actors — they never stop talking! And I just asked him, 'What gives? How do you do this every week?' That has never been a concern of mine, I memorize the entire script before I start shooting a feature — it's never been a big deal. Dylan said, 'It's going to be a scary ride when you first get on, and your memory is going to become a very well-used muscle.' . . . Memorizing a script for two days, having only two days to memorize it and then just shooting it — it's dicey."