Helen Hunt believes that children should be children, and a film set is “a very adult place to be.”
This is exactly why she will never let her 6-year-old daughter Makena (with her husband, producer/director Matthew Carnahan) get in front of a movie camera and become a “child star.”
And though she appeared on camera as a child back in the 70’s, the 47-year-old actress insists she was “never a child star.”
When asked if she wishes she had started acting alter in life, she said:
“I don’t wish I started later, but I was never a child star. I was in school every year and had normal friends and I loved it and here I am, so I can’t say that I wish I hadn’t done it. I used to say, ‘No, I didn’t miss any of my childhood,’ but it is a very adult place to be, a movie set. Like, it’s a little weird.
“I think if my daughter was interested in acting, I would find ways for her to act in theater that has to do with her school or a kids’ improvisational thing. There are ways to do it where you’re not on a movie set with 60 adults, which I loved at the time, but as a parent, I don’t know that I’d be dying to put her in that spot.”
Hunt also says she puts her family first, and is very hesitant to take on roles that require her to give up everything. And now that she’s a mom and a wife, she has to figure out a healthy balance between her acting career and raising a family.
“That makes a lot of sense to me. Movie acting is a great job for your twenties: You travel all over, you have affairs with people, and you throw yourself into one part and then another,” she said. “It gets more challenging as you get older, and it’s not just having a daughter, it’s wanting to have your own life and be yourself. I have kind of a mixed relationship with that throw-yourself-into-the-part thing: There are times when I love it and I get to express myself in ways that I need to and wouldn’t otherwise, and there are times when I really like my life and I don’t want to cut my hair off and go to Tennessee and live in a hotel for three months. I just don’t wanna! I’m too grown up. That’s when choosing becomes really important.
“This year I did [Soul Surfer], where I got to take my daughter with me and shoot in my favorite place on earth. They were like, ‘Do you want to go to Oahu and bring your daughter and surf in a movie?’ I went, ‘Okay!’ I haven’t seen it yet, so I hope it turned out all right, but the opportunity to be paid and have my family with me and be in heaven was pretty great.”
Helen Hunt’s latest film, “Soul Surfer,” hits theaters this April.