Categories Articles & Interviews

Hilary Swank shows she’s a romantic at heart

I found interview with HIlary which you can listen HERE

She’s risen from humble beginnings to become a double Oscar winner. Now Hilary Swank is back on screen – but this time in a weepie.

IN Million Dollar Baby, she played a boxer who gets paralysed. In Boys Don’t Cry, she played a girl in disguise as a man, who gets raped and murdered.

But it was a sweet romantic comedy which posed the real danger for actress Hilary Swank.

The double Oscar winner ended up needing stitches after a freak accident while making PS I Love You, which is out today.

She was injured by a flying pair of braces worn by her co-star Gerard Butler.

One farcical scene required Butler, Swank’s on-screen romantic interest in the new movie, to do a striptease routine in the bedroom.

“Gerry’s striptease was very funny, and had me laughing in every take,” says Swank.

“I was lying in the bed, while Gerry was enticing me doing his cheeky little strip. Then, during his off-camera version, he took his braces clip and flicked it, but it hooked onto a TV stand. He then jumped onto the bed, and this elastic brace stretched about 10 feet and this piece of furniture started walking. The second I thought it was going to come off, it flew across the room and hit me in the forehead.

“The thing is, I was kind of laughing and crying at the same time, because I didn’t really know what had happened.”

While Swank was laughing, blood was pouring from her forehead, and she was taken to hospital, where she had five stitches.

“I had a perfect suspender-clip mark on my forehead, with the little teeth in it,” she says. “The plastic surgeon asked me, ‘What bit you?’

“Gerry, meanwhile, was mortified. He turned into this nine-year-old boy who did the wrong thing. But he was so sweet. He was sending me gifts – chocolate, flowers – and then he heard I liked waffles, and he sent me a waffle-maker.

“The whole thing was so mad, so crazy, especially when you consider that my face went virtually unscathed in Million Dollar Baby. Then I go and do a romantic comedy, and I get stitches.”

On-set accidents aside, PS I Love You proved to be one of the most affecting and emotionally-challenging roles for 33-year-old Swank, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her roles in Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby.

In the bitter-sweet comedy-drama, Swank stars as Holly, an artist married for almost a decade to the love of her life Gerry, played by Scottish actor Butler of 300 fame. When Gerry dies of a brain tumour, Holly receives a series of letters that he has left, with instructions on how to get on with her life.

With Gerry’s words as her guide, Holly embarks on a touching and often hilarious journey of rediscovery, with the help of several people including her mother (Kathy Bates), best girlfriends (Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) and a hunky bartender (Harry Connick Jr). The film is written and directed by Richard LaGravenese, who also called the shots for Swank in last year’s Freedom Writers. Despite the new film’s sad topic of losing her husband (who is seen in a series of flashbacks), Swank insists that the film is not just a weepie.

“You laugh through the tears,” she says. “The challenge was finding the balance between humour and tragedy. For me, reading the script, I was reminded of what life was about. It was a reminder that you just want to hold those ones that you love dear, because you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

“It’s a great love story and I think that we can all relate to its main topic, finding love and losing love – and if it’s not through death, even a break-up can sometimes feel like a death. There were many things that I could relate to, and there was a lot of laughter in between.”

Swank must have been able to relate to the break-up scenario, as she recently divorced her husband of eight years, Chad Lowe – someone upon whom she heaped praise in her Oscar-acceptance speech two years ago. She is currently dating her manager, John Campisi.

“I do believe in love,” says Swank. “I also know there are a lot of people in the world. I don’t believe there is only one soul mate for a person. You can love someone else. It’s going to be different, but there is still going to be a lot of beauty in it, if you’re open to it.”

PS I Love You is a movie that celebrates the tiny gestures of love – and also, the romance of letters. Swank herself is a big fan of the written word.

“I find in this e-mail and texting age, getting a hand-written letter is so much more special,” she explains. “I think writing letters is a lost art, but nowadays it’s something that means even more, because it’s so easy to communicate in so many different ways. But I find, a love letter can even be a little Post-It note stuck in your pocket, with a sentence or a few words.

“If I’m having a bad day, nothing makes me happier than having the man I love leave me a little note in my jacket pocket, saying, ‘I’m thinking of you today ’. That’s so meaningful to me. In fact it sweeps me off my feet.”

Swank is certain she will work with writer-director Richard LaGravenese for at least a third time. Her next project, however, will be to star as legendary aviatrix Amelia Earhart, in the biopic Amelia, to be directed by Philip Noyce.

With two Oscars under her belt, it seems Nebraska-born Swank has the acting world under her feet. It’s sometimes hard to conceive that at the age of 16 she moved from Washington with her mother to Los Angeles, where, impoverished for a while, they lived out of their car.

Again, in her second Oscar- acceptance speech, she famously referred to herself as “just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.”

As a child, however, she had considered one or two other career options.

“Somewhere around six years old, I wanted to be an astronaut,” she smiles. “But I guess it was around the age of nine that I knew I wanted to become an actor.

“I had a teacher who had us write a skit and perform in front of the class. I remember we had to write all the different characters, and I remember standing there, at nine years old, playing all these characters out, and just loving it – having this feeling I’d never felt before. Now I look back, and realise there is that moment when you find your calling…”

PS I Love You is released today