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Hilary Swank on Taking a Break From Acting to Become a Caregiver: ‘Make Sure That You’re Taking Time for Yourself’

Hilary Swank is surrounded by wildflowers on top of a mountain in Colorado. We are shooting her Health cover on the property where she and her husband of two years have chosen to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. With her four dogs, she looks completely at peace—something that is apparent even from afar during this socially distanced photo shoot.

The 46-year-old is so relaxed on this mountaintop, it’s easy to forget that she’s one of Hollywood’s most esteemed actresses. As a two-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress, Hilary has had a career that many only aspire to. In her memorable acceptance speech for Million Dollar Baby, she said, “I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.”

While that’s true, it doesn’t paint the entire picture. Hilary didn’t just dream about being an actress—she worked her butt off to make it happen. In fact, she worked nonstop from the age of 15 until the end of 2014, when she made the choice to take a break for personal reasons.

Hilary’s dad needed a lung transplant, and she was determined to stay by his side. She had initially thought she’d take a year off. But she was committed to helping her dad until he fully recovered, and that wound up taking three years. That’s the thing about Hilary—she doesn’t do anything halfway.

Thankfully, her father is doing well, and she’s slowly begun to return to acting. Earlier this year, she appeared in the thriller The Hunt. And in September, you can catch her as the lead in Netflix’s new series Away. Her character’s dedication to her dream of being an astronaut parallels Hilary’s own devotion to her craft. And while she says she was excited to get back to work, she also acknowledges that she’s returning to it with some new life lessons. Continue reading Hilary Swank on Taking a Break From Acting to Become a Caregiver: ‘Make Sure That You’re Taking Time for Yourself’

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In Netflix’s ‘Away,’ Hilary Swank stars as an astronaut in trailer

Hilary Swank is reaching new heights in her latest role.

The Oscar-winning actress, 46, took to Instagram on Monday to share the first official full-length trailer for Netflix’s “Away,” in which she stars as astronaut Emma Green, who embarks on a dangerous, years-long mission to outer space.

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‘Away’ exclusive: Photos, trailer and Hilary Swank on her timely new Netflix space drama

Hilary Swank has always wanted to be among the stars. But we’re not talking Brad or Leo.

“I wanted to be an astronaut before I wanted to be an actor, which was about the age of 9,” Swank says. “It still has the same feeling for me now as it did then, the whole idea of something bigger than us and the unknown. I still would love to go to space someday, but being an actor and playing an astronaut is second best.”

Swank, a two-time Oscar-winner, gets that chance in Netflix’s drama “Away” (streaming Sept. 4), from producer Jason Katims (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”).

Set in the near future, the 10-episode first season dramatizes the first human-led expedition to Mars, commanded by pragmatic American astronaut Emma Green (Swank). Emma leads an international crew of scientists and astronauts, whose backstories and families we come to know over the course of the season. Members of the team initially question Emma’s leadership abilities, while she wrestles with distance from and guilt over leaving her teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) and husband (Josh Charles) back on Earth.

The series is loosely based on a 2014 Esquire story by Chris Jones, about the first American astronaut to spend a year in space.

“I don’t consider myself a space show guy, but there was something about this article that really gripped me,” Katims says. “It was a different way of thinking about space: this very intimate look at what the human experience was like to be away for so long, how to stay connected to the world, and what it does to your mind and body. That seemed so different.”

Shortly after launch, Emma’s husband, Matt, suffers a stroke caused by a rare vascular disease known as cerebral cavernous malformation. Emma considers leaving the mission to help with Matt’s recovery, but he and their daughter, Alexis, insist she press on. That story line especially resonated with Andrew Hinderaker, who created the show with Katims and executive producer Jessica Goldberg.

“There’s a moment in the article that talks about an astronaut being up in the International Space Station when something really catastrophic happens to his family, and what that is to be so far away,” Hinderaker says. “I’ve been in a long-distance relationship with a woman who was diagnosed with a progressive disease just shortly before Jason had brought me the article, so that moment of finding out that someone you love is in trouble and needs you and you’re away (working) was something that resonated really deeply.”

Charles, who’s best known for CBS’ “The Good Wife,” says he found the show’s combination of cosmic and interpersonal drama “intriguing. (Director) Ed Zwick said that every marriage is like a mission to Mars. And while funny, it also really stuck with me. The potential of exploring this couple and this family during this trying time seemed rich.”

To prepare for the role, Swank, 46, spoke extensively to former astronaut Mike Massimino and attended a so-called “boot camp,” where she learned wire work for the series’ zero gravity space scenes.

“We were on these wires all the time trying to learn to move gracefully, which is something I don’t do. I’m kind of lumbering,” Swank says. In addition to the stunts, “the most challenging thing was doing a monologue that’s emotional while other people are floating by. You get kicked in the face and you just start laughing.”

For Swank and the creators, the show’s emphasis on science and teamwork couldn’t come at a more apt time, as many of us continue to isolate at home with family or others due to COVID-19. One particularly prescient episode finds Ram (Ray Panthaki), an astronaut from India, falling gravely ill with a virus. He is quarantined from the rest of the crew, who wear protective gear and attempt to treat him from a safe distance.

“If someone had said this (pandemic) would be happening right when we wrapped filming (last winter), I wouldn’t have been able to believe it,” Swank says. “There’s probably nothing more isolating than going to space for three years, but I think people (now) are going to relate to that more and understand it a little deeper. This pandemic has put into perspective what’s important in life, which is our health and really being able to be with loved ones.”