The ''Jade Scorpion'' star called celeb pal Sean Penn for moral support

By Allison Hope Weiner
Updated August 29, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Curse of the Jade Scorpion: John Clifford

A beloved Oscar-winning beauty would never be intimidated by a nebbishy little man in horn-rims, right? Wrong. At first, Helen Hunt was completely unnerved by the idea of working with ”The Curse of the Jade Scorpion” director-star Woody Allen. She’d heard horror stories, including one in which the Woodman was displeased by an actor’s performance — ”he fired that person,” says Hunt. The actress went so far as to call Allen alumnus Sean Penn for moral support. Turns out her fears about the eccentric filmmaker were unfounded: ”He was approachable and receptive,” reports Hunt, who even got a special privilege few others enjoy. ”I was fortunate enough to get a copy of the entire script before signing on to the project,” she says. ”Although [a messenger] was waiting to take it back as soon as I finished.”