SHE’S homeless, car-less and has fostered out her Oscars … and that suits Hilary Swank just fine.
The two-time Academy Award winner has barely had time to draw breath for the past year-and-a-half, trekking around the world filming an amazing array of movies, with another three racked up for 2008.
She loves travelling, doesn’t mind in the least going from hotel to hotel and reckons there’s plenty of time to settle down.
Besides, the work means she gets to be up close and personal with such hunks as P.S. I Love You leading man Gerard Butler.
“Yeah, yeah,” the 33-year-old enthuses. “And when you see him in P.S. I Love You, he’s so good. He’s so charming. And the only reason why the movie really works is because you have to fall in love with his character … and you do!”
Even being slashed on the forehead by one of Butler’s suspenders and being carted off to hospital didn’t dampen her enthusiasm.
“Ah, he didn’t mean to,” she laughs.
Swank just seems to be the sort of person who takes whatever comes up on the chin. She’s remarkably free of airs and graces for an Oscar-winning actress (1999, for Boys Don’t Cry, and 2004’s Million Dollar Baby).
She rode through the trauma of separation and divorce from ex-husband Chad Lowe and has been in a low-key relationship with her agent, John Campisi, for more than a year.
She doesn’t much like talking about the personal stuff but is happy to let a little bit slip. “You know as an actor, you’re not in one place very long, and I love to travel, so I’m okay with that (not having a home base). I’m sure that for home bodies, it’s a little bit difficult. For me, I love it! I’m sure there will be a day when I say: ‘Okay, okay’ but even when I had my home, I was probably there two months of the year.”
So it’s been “intercontinental to intercontinental,” she laughs. “And when I see palm trees, I know I must be in some place sunny!”
As for the Oscars: “They’re kind of nomad Oscars. They’ve been in my agent’s office, my mum’s house, keeping people company!”
P.S. I Love You, based on the novel by Irish author Cecelia Ahern and partly filmed in Ireland, sees Swank as Holly Kennedy, beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life – a passionate, funny and impetuous Irishman named Gerry (Gerard Butler).
When Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly.
The film then unfolds in flashbacks and present day with letters Gerry wrote before he died to guide her through the grief ahead. It’s poignant, dramatic and, in parts, hilarious.
It’s also a complete change of pace from her preceding films Black Dahlia, The Reaping and Freedom Writers. And that’s what Swank loves, mixing the different genres, changing the pace.
“I’m an entertainer. I’m an actor,” she explains. “I want to play all different types of characters. I like all different types of genres, and as an audience member I like to go to different movies.
“You want to challenge yourself in different ways, and P.S. I Love You was completely different than anything that I’d done, and I loved that. That’s my ultimate goal, to challenge myself and mix it up.”
If she makes a few mistakes along the way, so be it. Swank doesn’t much worry about the future. When she’s not working on a film, she’s reading scripts, meeting directors she finds inspiring and writers who pitch her ideas. She just loves the whole shebang.
“Where I’ll be in five years? You know, you hope you’re gonna continue to do what you love and that’s what I want to be doing.”
P.S. I Love you opens December 26.