Hilary at the premiere of “I Am Mother” during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on January 25 in Park City, Utah.
– Events 2019 Sundance Film Festival – “I Am Mother” Premiere – January 25 2019
“I’m so old-tech that I think of gadgets as a hole puncher or a cheese grater,” she told Variety in an interview on the eve of the film’s premiere. “I’m not a technical person. It took me forever to figure out Instagram. I don’t know about apps. I don’t surf the internet. I don’t spend time on my computer. I prefer reading a book to looking at a tablet.”
That’s not the case with Grant Sputore, the film’s director, a self-described “gadget head.”
“I’m not a ‘beware technology is Frankenstein’ kind of person,” said Sputore. “It’s clearly made all of our lives so much better. I just think we are entering new terrain where machines will likely be smarter than us and we should be mindful of that.”
In “I Am Mother,” a robot has raised a young girl since she was an embryo. Growing up, the child (Clara Rugaard) is lavished with attention and told that she must live in an underground bunker because of an ecological catastrophe. The relationship between the girl and her surrogate parent is tested when Swank’s character appears at their hideout, bleeding out from a gunshot wound and carrying a devastating secret. Swank said the part was physically grueling, requiring her to be in a state of panic and near collapse throughout the shoot.
“Over the entire movie I’m sweating and panting and trying to overcome this pain,” said Swank. “She’s completely feral. She doesn’t know who to trust and she’s just trying to survive.”
As tensions mount between Swank’s character and the robot, Sputore drew on films such as “Alien” to create a claustrophobic atmosphere. He also insisted that an actor wear the robot’s suit (Rose Byrne provides the voice), instead of relying on a green screen to bring her to life. Sputore notes that “Alien” director Ridley Scott employed a similar approach to creating the Xenomorph in that 1979 horror classic.
“Sometimes it’s the practical effects that contain more magic,” he said.
Swank is reluctant to describe the film’s message, but she thinks that it has lessons that are applicable to today’s fractured political environment.
“We want people to think about morals and manners and ethics,” she said. “That’s timely when you think about how polarized we are as a country. We want people to agree to disagree with more kindness.”
When Hilary Swank does something, she does it 100 percent. So when her father needed a lung transplant in 2014, Hilary was there. The two-time Oscar winner turned down work to be his live-in caretaker for three years—or as she so beautifully put it in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, ““I was saying yes to something else that I wanted to be a part of.”
But now, her father is well again, and she’s back at it again in Hollywood. This past year, she appeared on screens big and small in What They Had, I Am Mother, and Trust, all while producing three TV shows and running her clothing business, Mission Statement. We told you: Hilary gives 100 percent, and we can’t wait to see what she creates in 2019.
You won an Academy Award for your performance in Boys Don’t Cry. Tell us a little about your work building up to your role in the film and how winning an Oscar changed the course of your career.
It was imperative that I tried my hardest to do justice to this real life person, who died in such a horrific manner for just wanting to give and receive love. So, I spent 4 weeks walking around public trying to pass as a boy, seeing what did and didn’t work. To be believable in front of the camera, it was important that I could pull of being a boy in all of my everyday experiences—no matter how challenging this was at times. Continue reading Create & Cultivate 100: Entertainment: Hilary Swank