After a tragic, near-death experience, Paz de la Huerta took an extended break from mainstream Hollywood. Now, the wild child may be returning to “Boardwalk Empire,” the groundbreaking HBO series that made her a household name.
“I had a great experience on ‘Boardwalk Empire,’” de la Huerta told FOX411 exclusively at Arcana in Culver City, Calif., where she was signing copies of her new book, “The Birds Didn’t Die Over The Winter.”
“I’m still close with the producers. Terry [Terence Winter] always says it’s possible for me to come back.”
De la Huerta’s character, Lucy Danziger, was last seen in season two on the hit series, shortly after giving birth to a baby with Michael Shannon’s character, Van Alden. She then went out to get formula for the baby and never returned.
But de la Huerta is optimistic that Danzinger has turned her life around in the seasons since. “I would love to come back with Lucy as a loving, doting mother.”
De la Huerta has reason to be upbeat. After a difficult breakup with Stone Temple Pilots front man Scott Weiland in 2009, de la Huerta formed a creative partnership with photographer Alexandrea Carr, and their collaboration eventually turned into what would become “The Birds Didn’t Die Over The Winter.”
“I went through a very difficult time in my life,” de la Huerta explained. “This [project] was my salvation. I couldn’t really get out of bed, and as an artist, we have to take whatever is going on in our lives and use it to make art. I had come out of a horrible relationship, and I had to make something of the heartbreak and the dark place I was in.”
The project started casually, with de la Huerta posing for Carr in her 300 sq. ft. apartment and on Coney Island’s boardwalk in New York.
“It didn’t start off, like, you know, ‘We’re making a book.’ It was more like, ‘Let’s just take some pictures,’” explained de la Huerta. “I feel like what I went through during the last two years, it’s like, it’s about overcoming the darkness and coming into the light.”
Heartbreak wasn’t the only challenge facing de la Huerta. The star was struck by a stunt driver who was driving a truck on the set of “Nurse 3-D,” which was shooting in Toronto in 2011.
“I had to have some 20 surgeries,” de la Huerta explained. “I had everything riding on this last surgery, and I was like ‘Amazing. It worked.’ Like, I woke up and my body felt incredible. Better than before.”
During her recovery, de la Huerta had support from a surprising source.
“Brett Ratner is one of my best friends,” de la Huerta declared. “He was of my angles that helped save my life. I was at the Cleveland Clinic for three months and he basically told people there, ‘Step up your act. Find out what’s wrong with her. Take care of my friend. She’s too talented, too amazing, to die.’ As it turned out, my tailbone had been cut in half.”
After her stay at the clinic in Ohio, de la Huerta returned to Los Angeles to recuperate. “It wasn’t until I found this genius doctor that I came to,” she explained. “He’s a nerve specialist. He’s one of two doctors in the entire world that knows how to take away nerve damage. He’s a genius and I owe my life to him. He removed my coccyx. We don’t need our coccyx, or tailbone. He removed the part that was broken and I now I feel better than ever.”
Now that de la Huerta is back in Los Angeles, she’s single–for the moment. “The next man I date will be the father to my children,” she declared. “I’m a complex woman and I need a complex man. Tall, dark and handsome. No, I mean it’s crazy. I don’t even have a crush on anyone right now. I mean, I’m going to Europe to shoot a film in Prague. I hear there are a lot of good-looking people there.”
But de la Huerta said she’s not superficial when it comes to dating. “It’s beyond that. I mean, I almost kind of like goofy-looking people,” she admitted. “You know what? I think Adrian Brody’s hot. He has a big old nose. It’s nice and it’s sexy as hell. Adrian’s a good guy.”
Despite having a rocky past couple of years, de la Huerta is ready for the future. “I honestly feel like the best is yet to come,” she explained. “I have three movies that I’m about to start–well, one at a time. I have another book I’m working on, and I have my own feature film. I feel like I’ve been reborn.... Luckily, I’m young enough–I mean, Jack Nicholson didn’t start acting until he was 30. I’m not 30 yet. I have a couple of years. It’s really the end of a time in my life that was quite chaotic. If you fight hard enough for your life, you’ll get your life–and I did. My body feels better than ever. And this book is the same sort of thing. It’s about going through a hard time and finding myself and my own voice.”
Reps for Terence Winter and Brett Ratner not return FOX411 request for comment.