Updated: GMT, 6 January As she tells Elaine Lipworth , she overcame her inhibitions because she wanted to be part of such a beautiful story It could only happen in Los Angeles. Helen looks at her plate in mock disappointment. She is wearing jeans, a brown jumper and flip-flops. Her straight blonde hair is long and loose. Halfway through lunch, she peels off her jumper to reveal a grey tank top and well-toned arms.
Playlists Containing: Helen Hunt in The Sessions
On Friday, however, Hunt returns to the critical forefront with The Sessions , the sexually frank dramatic comedy and Sundance darling that has catapulted her into early Oscar discussions. Written and directed by Ben Lewin, the film stars Hunt as a sex surrogate who helps a paralyzed poet John Hawke lose his virginity. Last week, we met with Hunt in Beverly Hills and heard about her research with Cohen Greene, her goal for The Sessions , and the mental strategy that, she says, every good actor takes. Then I read the script, and you probably know—writing about movies—how few good stories there are. When I read this, I loved it. I just knew that I loved the story and wanted to tell the story and be in a movie about this. Ninety percent of my research was talking to Cheryl Cohen Greene, which is rare. In this case, [talking to Cohen Greene] was the thing that got me fired up.
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To improve your visit to our site, take a minute and upgrade your browser. The Oscars are odd. But what scheme of things is it that decides her Cheryl in that film is a supporting part? Mark John Hawkes had polio when he was a child and became paralyzed in all but his head. But his mind was not just sharp; it was like an open razor because all of his being had to go there. He was a virgin, and he would rather not be. Macy recommended a therapist, and so he found his way to a sex surrogate, Cheryl. There was a real Cheryl in Berkeley, California, in the s. She had a husband and a teenage son, and she was kind, friendly, and professional. Everyone was of the opinion that she did a good job with Mark.
Standing outside the theater doors, Cheryl Cohen Greene, who inspired Helen Hunt's Oscar-nominated role in "The Sessions," leaned in and told me in a hushed tone, "I've watched it 11 times and I cry every time. It was our first time meeting but, having watched the movie, I felt like I already knew her. Hunt nailed Cohen Greene's Boston accent, not to mention her radiant warmth and penetrating gaze. In real life, as on-screen via Hunt, she brings an immediate, disarming intimacy to even clothed conversation. In fact, standing there in the theater lobby with her, I felt a bit naked. Cohen Greene objects to being characterized as a saint because of the work she has done for over 40 years, but surrogacy is so clearly a righteous calling for her; and while she isn't a prostitute, she is the embodiment of what might be one of the most compelling arguments for greater legalization, or decriminalization, of certain forms of sex work, in the very least. Here is a woman who chose her occupation free of coercion, who truly loves the work and who positively changes lives while doing it.