Release Date 2004
Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by F.X. Toole, Paul Haggis
Cast Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel
Genre Drama, Sport
MPAA Rating PG-13 for violence, some disturbing images, thematic material and language.
Available at Region 1, Region 2, NTSC
In the wake of a painful estrangement from his daughter, boxing trainer Frankie Dunn has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time – then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym. In a life of constant struggle, Maggie’s gotten herself this far on raw talent, unshakable focus and a tremendous force of will. But more than anything, she wants someone to believe in her.
The last thing Frankie needs is that kind of responsibility – let alone that kind of risk–but won over by Maggie’s sheer determination, he begrudgingly agrees to take her on. In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come to discover that they share a common spirit that transcends the pain and loss of their pasts, and they find in each other a sense of family they lost long ago. Yet, they both face a battle that will demand more heart and courage than any they’ve ever known.
Trivia & Facts
• Although Hilary was naturally athletic from high school, she totally changed physically to play Maggie. She gained nearly 20 pounds, becoming so buff that her former clothes were too small for her for a long time.
• Hilary took boxing lessons at ‘Gleason’s Gym’ in New York City.
• The movie is based on three short stories from Jerry Boyd’s book: “The Monkey Look,” “Million $$$ Baby” and “Frozen Water.” Some parts of the introduction were used as well.
• Ashley Judd was also considered for the part of Maggie.
• Hilary Swank underwent a serious training schedule to prepare for this film. She gained nearly 20 pounds of muscle due to the workouts.
• The role of “Little girl in truck” was played by Clint Eastwood’s daughter, Morgan Eastwood and the dog in the scene is Hilary’s own dog Karoo, view DVD captures here.
• Clint Eastwood based his character’s voice on producer Albert S. Ruddy.
• Boxing and kick-boxing champion Lucia Rijker, who also plays the part of Billie “The Blue Bear” in the film, was Hilary Swank’s boxing coach.
• Sandra Bullock was the first actress attached to play Maggie, and she wanted to pursue Shekhar Kapur as a director. By the time a studio expressed an interest in the project, her commitment to Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005) prevented her from doing the film.
• “Mo chuisle” literally means “my pulse,” but can mean “my love” or “my darling”. It’s a term of endearment taken from the original phrases “A chuisle mo chroí” or “Pulse of my heart”.
• The movie was filmed in 37 days, but originally scheduled filming for 39 days.
• Morgan Freeman was originally approached to play the role of Frankie Dunn. But even before Clint Eastwood took on directing and starring roles, he decided to take the part of Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris.
• Hilary Swank contracted a bacterial infection from a blister she developed on her foot during training for her role. The infection was so serious that she almost had to be hospitalized for three weeks. Catching the infection in the nick of time, she instead chose to take a week off for medicated rest and didn’t tell Clint Eastwood or the producers of the film about the injury, because she didn’t believe it was in character.
• “You know, I’ve never played a character who I’ve more wanted to be and when I look at her on screen, I see absolute now beauty. I see the real thing.”
• “I did. A lot of people told me I looked like a tomboy, but I felt there was so much femininity in that strength. I was in touch with my body; I learned to listen to it. It was really empowering. In the end, I think that’s what beauty is all about.”
• “I know that girl. I’m tough. And I don’t take no for an answer.”
• “Well, you know what else is offensive is people asking me, ‘When are you going to play a pretty girl?’ To me Maggie Fitzgerald is beautiful because of her strength and her drive and her love.”
• “The truth is, after Boys Don’t Cry, I realized how few and far between the great roles are. I am beyond thankful for finding Million Dollar Baby.”
• “I was about halfway through my training when I got a blister the size of my palm on the ball of my foot. I popped it. I couldn’t believe the pain. It was unbelievable. And I looked downed, and there were streaks going up my foot. So I went to the doctor’s that second. And he looked at me and he said, “This is really serious and if you would have waited two more hours, you would have been at the hospital for three weeks. And if it gets to your heart, that’s it.”
• “My training was two and a half hours of boxing and approximately an hour and a half to two hours lifting weights every day, six days a week. The producers asked me to gain 10 pounds of muscle. I gained 19 pounds of muscle. I started at 110 and went to 129. And in order to do that, I had to eat 210 grams of protein a day. Now, your body can only assimilate so much protein, so I had to eat every hour and a half. So with a meal, I would drink my egg whites because I could never eat 8 to 12 egg whites in a sitting. It’s just the worst thing ever. I had to drink flax oil. Flax is a really important oil for your brain and to also just keep everything moving when you’re eating that much protein. It’s a really important fat. Like one tablespoon of Flax oil has like 15 grams of fat in it.”
• “The thing was, I needed nine hours of sleep a night because your muscles have to be able to rest in order to build or you actually reverse yourself. So I slept nine hours a night but I had to wake up in the night and drink protein shakes because I couldn’t go that long without eating.”
• “Boxing is the most intense workout you can ever experience. The first time I heard a three minute round, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to kick someone’s ass. Three minutes? That’s nothing.’ In my second round, I was halfway through three minutes and I about threw up, the first time I sparred. There is no way you can explain it. My face was as red as that red. The cardio, you don’t stop moving, you don’t stop punching and you’re getting hit. The only way I can explain it is if you were to take a jump rope and go as fast as you could for three minutes while someone’s punching you in the stomach. That’s the only way I can probably explain it.”
• “You’re in the ring with someone, you’re constantly looking for their strengths and weaknesses and in turn, you learn your own strength and weakness from them because each opponent brings out a new strength or a new weakness. I was sparring with professional boxers all the time. I was getting hit, I was hitting. The first time I hit somebody, I said, ‘Sorry.’ My trainer freaked out. Screaming at me, ‘Don’t you ever say that!’ Went off. And I said, ‘Sorry, sorry.’ He’s like, ‘Stop it!’ And then soon enough, the mentality of a boxer just enters your head. I bloodied this guy’s nose one time and I turned around to my trainer after the round was over and I smiled. And I didn’t say sorry. It was just an amazing feeling. And because I had so much respect for my opponent. You also gain this amazing respect.”
• “If I woke up one day and I was a Saturday and I’d had 20 hours of training already that week, I’d said, ‘Oh, I just can’t today. I’m just so tired and I just can’t drink another egg white and I can’t drink that flax oil.’ If I went with that attitude, of course I’d go because that’s me, but my mind, I might as well not be there because I wasn’t gaining anything from it. So the second I broke through my own obstacles that I set for myself and said I can do it and I’m going to do it, I would break through barriers every week.”
• “She wants to do it, she tried hard to do it, that she cried. I said, ‘Why are you crying?” … “Because I can’t do it.” I said, “You can do it.” // Hector Roca
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