Helen Hunt might get naked in “The Sessions,” but she doesn’t think people should necessarily describe her performance in the film as “brave.”
“All right, all right, all right, for God’s sake, I’m naked. People keep saying this is a ‘brave’ performance and I keep thinking ‘brave’ means ‘naked,'” the actress tells Today in a new interview.
In the movie, Hunt plays a woman named Cheryl Cohen Green who is a sex surrogate and is hired to help a 38-year-old named Mark O’Brien (played by John Hawkes) lose his virginity. As he is disabled, O’Brien has been unable to have sex for much of his life. The film, written and directed by Ben Lewin, was based on O’Brien’s real life article “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate,” which was published in The Sun literary magazine in 1990.
Hunt explains that she needed to learn a thing or two about sexual surrogacy for the movie.
“I’d never heard of this profession, and I thought, yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a prostitute,” Hunt says in the interview. “Then I spoke to the real Cheryl Cohen Greene — the woman that I play — who still works as a sex surrogate. … And she explained, as I do in the movie, that … the difference is a prostitute wants your return business, and a sex surrogate does not.”
Even with the nudity and adult themes, Hunt says that this is an important movie for teens as well as older audiences to see.
“I think parents should see it and go get their 16-year-olds, and their 17-year-olds and allow them to see sexuality on screen that isn’t prurient or filled with shame,” she says. “My role in this movie is to come in and give the audience just a glimpse of what it would be like if we dropped all our strangeness about sexuality.”
“The Sessions” hits theaters in a limited release today (Oct. 19).