It wasn't exactly love at first sight for Hollywood couple Holly Hunter
and Januz Kaminski
when the actress began dating the cinematographer more than six years ago.
Director/matchmaker Steven Spielberg recalls on Monday's Lifetime Intimate Portrait: Holly Hunter (Aug. 14, 7 pm/ET) that sparks simply did not fly when he set up the two Oscar winners on their first date. "Janus called me [after the date] and said it was the worst date of his life," says Spielberg, who had collaborated with Kaminski on Schindler's List. It turned out the Polish-born Kaminski was simply so self-conscious and smitten on that first date with Hunter that he had forgotten how to speak English and just kept babbling.
"It was disastrous," recalls Hunter, who next will appear as tennis great Billie Jean King in an upcoming ABC movie. "Janus talked nonstop on that first date. I could not shut him up. I thought this could be one of those narcissistic things where it's all about him, and I wasn't interested in that."
But Spielberg, who had directed Hunter in the 1989 drama Always, wasn't about to give up so easily. Despite Hunter's success in movies like Broadcast News and The Piano, he knew the then-35-year-old actress had yet to meet the man of her dreams. The relentless director called Hunter and pleaded with her to try a second date with Kaminski.
"It was amazing, the pressure," says Hunter of Spielberg's efforts. "He was a true matchmaker, not dodging in any way the role." The director's efforts paid off ? the second date was a hit and the couple married a short time later. The lesson of this story? Jokes Spielberg: "It's always better on take two."