Back in 1996 we were treated to a true storm film that taught us many things about tornadoes like how they could toss cattle up in the air with ease, but couldn’t rip off your pants. Twister was that kind of flick, mostly silly but still quite entertaining. A big reason was the starring role of Helen Hunt, and apparently, she wanted to tell more stories in this franchise. In a recent interview with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, Hunt said she’d had been actually pitching a sequel to the original film and she was working on the script.
Helen Hunt was on the program with Cohen along with Julianne Moore and they discussed a variety of topics like series she wanted rebooted and skills she’d learned over the pandemic. But then the topic of Twister came up and Hunt let on that she hadn’t let the franchise go in her mind. She wanted to pick up the story and was set on casting a diverse group of actors and actresses for the new group of storm chasers. Here’s Helen Hunt had to say:
“I tried to get it made. With Daveed (Diggs) and Rafael (Casal) and me writing it, and all Black and brown storm chasers, and they wouldn’t do it. I was going to direct it… We could barely get a meeting, and this is in June of 2020 when it was all about diversity. It would have been so cool.”
Now, why exactly studios didn’t want to meet about this movie or why folks might not have wanted a Twister sequel isn’t totally clear. Helen Hunt did mention that her character of Jo Harding would show up somewhere in the story, but wouldn’t be central to the overall plot of the film. This one would focus primarily on the new cast and it looks like she definitely had some A-listers interested in the project on the casting side of things as well. I suppose there’s some chance it actually gets made at some point, though Hunt didn’t sound all that confident.
Twister came out in 1996 and was the story about Helen Hunt as Harding, a seasoned storm chaser who’d seen her father killed by a storm when she was just a kid. In her pursuit of the “big one,” the F5, and with revolutionary technology to track these funnels, she teams up with her ex-husband Dr. Bill Harding played by Bill Paxton. The two galavant around Oklahoma running into tornadoes at nearly every turn. At the time, the flick was wildly popular, earning nearly half a billion dollars at the box office on its $90 million budget.
From this perspective, it’s almost odd that Helen Hunt never got a Twister sequel made in the last 25 years. The films’ popularity and position in the zeitgeist at the time would have made it feel warranted. Though maybe if you’ve seen one mile-wide tornado, you’ve seen them all. And Bill Paxton, who played Dr. Bill tragically passed away back in 2017.
As for Helen Hunt, whether she ever gets this proposed Twister sequel remains to be seen. Currently, she’s in pre-production on The Patriot, a futuristic and dystopian film from Dan Pringle. She’ll star alongside Eva Green. And I for one would mind seeing a rugged and ragged Dr. Jo Harding get back on the screen in some fashion chasing storms again. The character almost deserves a little more added to her story.