Holly Hunter examines her character, why she took the role, and why this show is different than other police dramas
In the new TNT series Saving Grace, Holly Hunter plays a tough Oklahoma City cop who lives hard and drinks even harder. She is given a chance at salvation when an angel by the name of Earl comes into her life. Earl tries to get Grace to follow a different path, but her faults are hard to overcome. She is a conflicted woman, but perhaps Earl will help her change her life and turn it around. He is giving her a last chance to get things right.
Below is a conversation Holly Hunter about her new show and character provided by TNT.
What is Saving Grace about?
Holly Hunter: I think Saving Grace is about a woman's struggle. The conflict starts outside herself and then comes in. I think you could almost call the show The Struggle of Grace, because it really comes down to that kind of a clean conflict.
What makes this series different than other police dramas?
Holly Hunter: Grace is different from other detectives on television because of intimacy. It's a cop show, but I think that you really get to know who Grace is. I actually think that she is a quite an intimate woman. Often, all the viewers get to investigate in a cop show is a crime, and I think that with her you get a really in-depth investigation into who she is, more than what she does. I think she's a cop, but she's also tremendously personal. I think that her flaws are quite fascinating, because they're recognizable to people, but what she does with her flaws it almost seems like a celebration of them. I think that that's very different.
Where is the drama in Saving Grace?
Holly Hunter: The drama of Saving Grace comes from struggle between faith and being human. Drama is always conflict. Conflict either comes from within or without. The thing that makes this show different is the conflict manifests itself both internally and externally.
Who is Grace Hanadrako and why will audiences rally behind her?
Holly Hunter: Audiences will appreciate Grace's humanity, a kind of humanity not often expressed on screen. There's a darkness to it, which is important to encounter on screen, because we all have darkness within us. In some people it's more dormant than others, but in Grace it's very much alive. She feels very elemental to me and very raw. She's very much a force of nature, and I find it galvanizing. I don't really judge it; I just find it compelling.
Why did you take the role of Grace?
Holly Hunter: I think one of the things that makes Grace so enjoyable to play, she feels whole. It's not a censored examination of someone, but rather you get the whole package. Another thing that makes her tremendously enjoyable is that I rarely read women of this age who are living lives of this complexity on the page. When I first started reading this, by page 2, I was really wowed. By page 15, I was calling my agent saying, "Geez is this for real?" She seems a bit of a fantasy to me, and I think she's a little fantastical for the general public. She does things that we dream of doing but don't do, and she also does things that are nightmarish.
Why is Grace such a great detective?
Holly Hunter: I think Grace's personal demons are useful to her in her work. As a cop she's got tremendous street credibility. She's used to operating instinctually and impulsively. And I think that a lot of people who commit crimes do that, too. She's very well suited to her job because she knows how to think like a criminal. I also think that she has a real struggle with trust, because she's fashioned this life where she doesn't really require trust from other people. She's always expecting the worse. She may hope for the best, but she expects the worst, and I think that's what a great cop has to do.
What is Grace's relationship with her last-chance angel, Earl?
Holly Hunter: Grace's relationship with Earl is fascinating and multi-faceted. Earl is absolutely essential to the story because he provides the external conflict for Grace. He confronts her with the idea of faith, when she fully lives the kind of life that is without faith. But I think that the engagement with him is enjoyable, because he's a force to contend with himself. There's a lot of mystery in him that Grace always finds fascinating, but in this case, he's a threat. I think that the characters of Grace and Earl provide each other with balance.
Saving Grace premiers on TNT July 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
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