Holly Hunter (‘The Big Sick’) on telling off racists and subverting the ‘overbearing mother’ stereotype [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“I think people have had a good time watching this movie, and I think there’s a complexity about what it means to be human. It’s messy, it’s not black-and-white. There’s a lot of grey,” says Holly Hunter about her film “The Big Sick,” in which she plays Beth, who bonds with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend after her daughter falls into a coma. Hunter appreciated that the film gave her an opportunity to subvert the stereotype of the “overbearing mother,” she explains. “I wanted it to be a current friendship between two adult women … I loved being part of that particular expression.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

The Big Sick” is based on the true experiences of the film’s star, Kumail Nanjiani, and his wife Emily V. Gordon, with whom he wrote the screenplay. That was a unique experience for Hunter, who describes Nanjiani as “the actor whisperer … I would have him tell me things: ‘Tell me about that moment,’ ‘What was that moment like?’ And he would tell me right before we would roll … I knew it was really special. It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity, so I really played it.”

Hunter also appreciated getting the opportunity to tell off a racist who heckles Nanjiani in one memorable scene in the film. “It’s like a fantasy. You want to do that,” she says. “Racism is always something that, having been brought up in the South, I really can’t stand. I can’t abide by it. Nor do I believe that people should stand by and allow racism to go unremarked upon. We get to express dissent.” The film, which also co-stars Zoe Kazan and Ray Romano, is now available on DVD and on-demand.

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