Campaigning for Coin: Helen Hunt

It’s that time again! Tuesday’s edition of Campaigning for Coin, and this week’s first victim is Academy Award winning actress Helen Hunt! Let’s see what everyone thinks of this tall, stately blonde.

helen-hunt-hot-photoRebekah aka Them There Eyes: When I think of Helen Hunt in the role of Alma Coin I get happy flutters in my stomach. To start things off you should all know I’ve been a Helen Hunt fan since the ’80s, when she graced us with her presence in Girls Just Want To Have Fun, and forever made us wonder just how to do such wonderful things with our hair. Seriously, check out Helen’s hair in that film, it’s epic. However, to everyone else Helen’s claim to fame is likely Mad About You, the sit-com she starred in for nine years, and won four Golden Globes for. If you were born in the ’90s though, Mad About You probably never crossed your path, which makes me sad in my soul, because it was a very well done show, it had amazing guest stars like Carol Burnett, and probably one of the best sibling dynamic relationships depicted in its 28 minute format. Anyway, Mad About You was an awesome show, and it was awesome in part because of Helen’s talent. Since Mad About You went off the air in 1999, Helen’s made a name for her self by doing a butt load of drama, and surprise surprise– she’s won, and has been nominated for her dramatic work numerous times. Truth be told, Helen Hunt is kind of an ideal candidate for Coin to me, and mostly due in part to her incredibly diverse dossier. Like Julianne Moore who was featured some weeks ago, Helen hasn’t played the same type of character twice outside of her regular gig on Mad About You. So, push comes to shove, out of the collection of women who have been covered in this series, I say Helen Hunt is one of the best names to come out of the woodwork, and I’d love to see her rise to the challenge of going head to head with Jennifer Lawrence.

Panem Propoganda: Helen Hunt has been out of the limelight for a while. Working as an actress since she was a child, she became well known for her award winning role as Jamie in the 90’s sitcom Mad About You, then went on to movie stardom in films such as As Good As It Gets, Pay It Forward, and Cast Away. She came back with a vengeance last year after being nominated for an Academy Award for her turn as sex surrogate Cheryl in The Sessions.

Helen as Lynn in Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Helen as Lynn in Girls Just Want To Have Fun

(Also memorable to this fandom because it we’ll forever think of it as “Jennifer’s Academy Awards.”) So for me, it would be perfect timing for Helen Hunt to play Alma Coin. She has the look that could edge easily into icy severity, and she definitely has the acting chops: she’s one of only 2 women in history to have won an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Golden Globe in one year. But that’s me. Arowana says: I hate this idea with the fire of a thousand suns because Helen Hunt is the downtrodden woman forced to make out with Hollywood’s creeps (Jack Nicholson, Mel Gibson). She’s a Princess! Not a Prim Murderer! Now if at any point they decide to do a Jack Nicholson Campaign For Coin, I have a lot of opinions on that too! I’m just saying he would be better for the role than Helen Hunt. Apart from that I’m totally with Molly in every way.

The Hob: Helen Hunt is definitely a versatile actress. Though most, if not all, of her roles have been portraying vulnerable women, they’ve also been infused with highly intelligent and focused characters. She might be able to physically embody Coin – with white blonde hair and sharp blue eyes, I can see where she would look like a good candidate for the role. However, I just don’t see her in the role of President Coin. Ms. Hunt’s characters historically have been so full of an internal, emotional life, I just don’t imagine her as Coin – her innate humanity is in every line, which is completely counter to what a memorable President Coin performance should be.
Down With The Capitol: The first thing I think about when I think about Helen Hunt is Twister. And I

Helen and Paul Riser in Mad About You

Helen and Paul Riser in Mad About You

can’t quite explain why that sold me on her for playing Coin, but it did. In talking with a friend, we came up with the realization that Helen Hunt usually plays characters who are strong…but also broken. There is a depth and complexity to how she plays her roles — you can always tell that something more is brewing underneath. I think this quality is perfect for Coin. Hunt would nail it at the beginning, where we can see a strong woman who has built something big from nothing in 13….but at the same time, I think she could pull it off where she’d give you the feeling — just the feeling — that something is not quite as it seems with her. Then at the end of Mockingjay, when Katniss — and we — recognize what it is that is really motivating her: as the drama gets more intense and the stakes get higher she will slowly start showing the underneath. I think she would do it well.

HG Girl On Fire: I have a hard time picturing Helen Hunt as Alma Coin. I still picture her as the mother to AnnaSophia Robb’s Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer, trying to be strong & take care of her family through a crisis. Or as football-loving Tami Maida in Quarterback Princess, who just wants the opportunity to play football like one of the guys. The characters Helen Hunt portrays are strong, but not cruel or manipulative. She just seems too kind and honest to be the calculating Alma Coin. She doesn’t have the dictatorial attitude of Alma Coin, nor does she seem believable as someone who would do anything & everything to achieve her goals.

My Hunger Games: What comes to mind when you think of Helen Hunt? For me, the girl next door, or the nice woman. I don’t see her as Alma Coin, mostly because I don’t see a huge range in what she has done so far. In fact, it’s hard for me to see her as much more than Paul Reiser’s wife (Jamie Buchman) in “Mad About You”. She has played some touching roles in movies such as Pay it Forward and Cast Away and she’s had some great reviews for her latest movie, The Sessions. I have to admit though that I kind of shrug as I just can’t get past thinking that she’s just too damn sweet. She’s OK, even pretty good, but for me, just not great.

Welcome to District Twelve: When it comes to Helen Hunt I have mixed feeling about her acting abilities. I REALLY liked her in “The Sessions”, “As Good As It Gets” and “Pay It Forward”. “Twister” was a fun movie but nothing to really show off her acting abilties.I have yet to see her in something that could prove to me that she would make a great “Coin”. A performance so different that it would stand out from the rest to prove to me that she could play a role as challenging as “Coin”. I feel like it would take a stronger actress to play “Coin”, not just in acting ability but in the way she holds herself as a person. I actually think that Helen Hunt has too kind of a face. I know she is a good age for this role but she just doesn’t look it. Nor do I think she could act it at this point in her career.

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8 comments

  1. For some reason when I first read HG I saw Mrs Everdeen as looking like Helen Hunt! I’d find it kind of weird to see her as Coin! In any case, excellent though HH is, I’d prefer a “fiercer” presence. I’m sticking to Tilda Swanton for my choice!

  2. I would never think of Helen Hunt for the role of Coin. She’s the nice but tough woman-next-door type, not someone I’d imagine playing an authoritative, manipulative political leader.

    Since this is next-to-last Campaigning for Coin article, I’ll mention a few actresses (apart from Meryl Streep, who is one of fan favorites) who could make a good Coin, not mentioned in any of the previous posts:

    – Mary McDonnell – another Oscar-nominated actress.he’s certainly proven in Battlestar Galactica that she can play a strong, morally ambiguous president in time of war, who’s smart, tough, determined, and when needed, cold, scheming, manipulative and ruthless – even though she was a protagonist. Coin is in many ways an evil version of President Roslin. 🙂
    – Lindsey Crouse: not a big name, but a very good character actress, and she’s played a Coin-like character in season 4 of Buffy (where she was supposed to be the main villain of the season before her unavailability forced a change of plan).
    – Kate Mulgrew – Coin as an evil Captain Janeway? 😉
    – Michelle Forbes: she’s great in roles of strong women in positions of power, and she was an amazing villain as Admiral Cain in Battlestar Galactica. She can be tough, stern and ruthless as nobody else, but at the same time, Coin is very different from Cain, a manipulative, scheming and sneaky politician, where Cain was completely open and direct military leader. My only problem is that she looks too young, much younger than her age (48).

    1. I love Kate Mulgrew, she’s now part of the cast of Orange Is The New Black, the new series from the creator of Weeds, it’s a Netflix produced/ released series, like the new season of Arrested Development, and House of Cards, so the entire 1st season is available. They were also renewed pretty much right after the 1st season went up, which was like– a week ago. So, production will probably start sooner rather than later. I also loved her on the short lived series The Black Donnellys, I bet that’s on Netflix as well. It was one of those too-good-for-network-TV-and-probably-should-have-been-pitched-to-HBO-Showtime-or-FX– shows. Also, they barely advertized it. It was on NBC.

      I like some of these ideas in theory, but I think they’re kind of predictable from the POV of a hypothetical casting director, because all of them are known for playing authority figures who more often than not, have ulterior motives. Too easy, I’d prefer if they went with someone like Helen, or Julianne, because those who are THG virgins will be more surprised when Coin’s true colors are revealed.

  3. When I initially thought of casting Coin, I pictured older actresses, but after reading several of VV’s post I started thinking of actresses in the right age range, and Helen Hunt was one of my choices. I really like the idea of her in this role, even if she hasn’t played this type of role before doesn’t mean she’s not capable.

    I think her “sweet” face would be an asset. As readers of the book we know Coin is bad and attribute a malevolent appearance to her. But for those who have not read the series, Coin’s true motivations will be a surprise. And she did gain political favor (as well as winning over Gale, Beetee, etc) so she has to seem somewhat trustworthy – wolf in sheep’s clothing if you will.

    All that being said, my top choices are: Jodi Foster, Tilda Swinton, Helen Hunt, Frances McDormand, and Toni Collette (even though she’s only 41, they have make-up for that). After the post a few weeks ago, I also really like Julianne Moore as an option.

    1. Toni Collette, and Frances McDormand were two other ladies who I had people vote on in the original vote off for choosing who we’d write about in this series. I’m super sad that neither of them made it into the final running, because they’re both extremely talented actresses, and I’ve been fans of theirs for years. Like, Toni will always Murial, to me… and I see nothing wrong with that! And Frances, well… c’mon, Fargo was a requisite watch in pretty much every film studies course I took in college, wait– also Blood Simple. Oh, Jodi Foster was also in the vote, and one guess…. she didn’t make it to the final as well. She was close though. I’ve also heard rumblings that Jodi was approached in reality, but turned it down. Personally I think the idea of Jodi in the role is a little too safe, because we’ve seen her do authoritative, actually we’re about to see her do that in the film Elysium.

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