Killer turn for Hunt

Thesp to make debut as helmer

Helen Hunt, who hasn’t been seen on the bigscreen since 2001, will star in and make her feature directorial debut on “Then She Found Me,” a Killer Films-produced drama that Hunt adapted from an Elinor Lipman novel.

Negotiations are under way for Diane Keaton and Woody Harrelson to join her.

Pic will shoot later this year. Odyssey Entertainment’s Ralph Kamp and Louise Goodsill will handle worldwide territorial sales at Cannes. Killer’s Christine Vachon, Pamela Koffler and Katie Roumel will produce with Connie Tavel and Hunt. Kamp and Goodsill will exec produce with John Wells.

“It is a story about betrayal and the surprising, funny and redemptive things that are borne out of that,” said Hunt, who has been working on the script on and off for seven years.

While screenwriting and feature directing are new to her, Hunt said that years of helping develop stories and directing episodes of the sitcom “Mad About You” served as “a kind of boot camp, the best possible way to go to film school.”

Hunt, who won Emmys for her series work and an Oscar for “As Good as It Gets,” co-stars in the HBO miniseries “Empire Falls” with Paul Newman and also stars with Scarlett Johansson in upcoming feature “A Good Woman.”

In “Then She Found Me,” Hunt will play a Philadelphia schoolteacher hitting a midlife crisis. In quick succession, her husband leaves, her adoptive mother dies and her real one, an eccentric talkshow host, materializes and turns her life upside down as she begins a courtship with the father (Harrelson) of one of her students.

“Even though it uses the lens of betrayal as a theme, the ambition is for it to be a comedy even though the subjects are deep and fierce,” Hunt said.

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