In the 90s, Helen Hunt was everywhere. After she starred in the long-running sitcom “Mad About You,” Hollywood went crazy about her. But when the series was canceled in 1999, Helen’s career suddenly got a lot quieter. Oh no, she did not stop acting in movies, but Hunt’s project choices were very strange and made sense only to her.
At the peak of her career, Helen Hunt starred in two highly lucrative movies: 1997’s “As Good As It Gets,” an award-winning drama that grossed $315 million worldwide; and 1996’s “Twister,” a disaster film that grossed nearly $500 million. These big money bags solidified the actress’s future.
Right after “Mad About You” ended, she appeared in such hits as “What Women Want” and “Cast Away.” But after such prominent roles, she switched to projects that were much smaller in scale, like Woody Allen’s “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” “The Good Woman,” where she co-starred with Scarlett Johansson, and Emilio Estevez’s infamous “Bobby,” about the day of Kennedy’s assassination.
In 2007, Hunt began writing, directing, and starring in the adaptation of the novel by Eleanor Lipman — “Then She Found Me.” The film received mixed reviews, had a limited release, and didn’t do well at the box office, so Helen focused on doing one thing at a time — directing. That is likely why she rarely appears on the screen. After another long break, she switched to television. Her credits include two episodes of “The Revenge” and one episode of “This Is Us,” among dozens of other series she has worked on over the past few years.
Hunt wrote and directed her second movie, “Trip,” in 2014, but it also received mixed reviews. Many critics noted that Hunt’s acting history influenced her directing skills, and in 2012 she was nominated for Best Actress for the film “Surrogate.”
In 2017, Hunt became part of the “Shots Fired,” a 10-episode miniseries where she played a governor. This was Hunt’s first small-screen role in over a decade, but in 2017 she returned in the controversial Louis C.K. flick “I Love You, Daddy.” In an interview with the Daily Beast, Hunt said she had a good reason to slow down after the ’90s. And that reason was very simple: she lost all interest in acting. According to Helen, this eventually led to “Then She Found Me,” which was filmed at the wrong time. In other words, both Hunt and the studios were getting tired of the format of the films she was doing at the time, so she decided to focus on working behind the camera.
As for the acting, Hunt did take a long break and even semi-retired, appearing here and there in small projects, but now she is back in full swing, it seems. “Mad About You” came back, and so did she.
If she decided to quit everything, she’d have enough money to live a lavish life. Hunt’s net worth skyrocketed in May 1998 when she and her sitcom co-star Paul Reiser negotiated a pay increase from $250,000 per episode to $1 million per episode. Those last 22 episodes brought them 22 million bucks each. Throw in the money she got from those Hollywood blockbusters, and you’ll see how rich she is. So if we had to answer why Helen Hunt does not appear on the screen anymore, the answer would be quite simple — she doesn’t really want or need to.