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Hilary to star in ‘Betty Anne’

Hilary Swank is set to star in “Betty Anne Waters,” a drama helmed by Tony Goldwyn.
Story is about a single mother who worked her way through law school in order to free her brother, who was wrongfully convicted of murder.

Omega Entertainment is financing and will distribute worldwide. Pic, from a script by Pamela Gray, will shoot in January in Michigan. Andrew Sugerman (“Shopgirl”) is producing with Andrew S. Karsch (“The Prince of Tides”) and Goldwyn; Swank will be executive producer.

Swank will play the title role in the true story of a high school dropout who would not give up her belief that her brother, Kenneth, had been framed. In between raising kids and waiting tables, she worked her way through college and law school so she could represent her brother after he’d used up his attempts to appeal his conviction through public defenders.

“There is a spirit and indomitability that Hilary brings that is a strong match for this character’s fierce commitment,” said Goldwyn, who showed fortitude of his own by hanging in for seven years to get the movie made.

Goldwyn said his first meeting on the project occurred shortly after the woman’s brother was released in 2001. He’ll never forget the date, because the meeting was held in New York on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and was cut short by news of the World Trade Center terror attacks.

Originally set at Universal and Working Title as a vehicle for Naomi Watts, “Betty Anne Waters” stalled and was resurrected with independent financing by Omega Entertainment.

Swank was most recently seen onscreen in “P.S., I Love You.” Thesp just wrapped her starring role as aviatrix Amelia Earhart in the Mira Nair-directed “Amelia” for Fox Searchlight.

Swank and her producing partner Molly Smith have recently acquired feature rights the books “Something Borrowed” and “French Woman Don’t Get Fat,” which they’ll develop through their Alcon Entertainment-based 2S Films banner. Both are potential starring vehicles for Swank.