Categories Alaska Daily Articles & Interviews

Hilary Swank Reveals What She Really Thinks About Journalists

The Oscar winner for Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don’t Cry stars in the new drama series Alaska Daily (Oct. 6 on ABC). Swank, 48, plays Eileen Fitzgerald, an investigative journalist seeking redemption at a newspaper in Anchorage after a story she’s pursuing causes her dismissal from her high-profile job in Manhattan.

What’s your take on Eileen?

I call her no-nonsense, and she doesn’t suffer fools. I don’t think she’s rude; she’s very New York, very matter-of-fact, and she calls people on what she feels is BS. She’s hell-bent on continuing to reveal that the article she wrote was true, that her source was good and to keep digging deeper into that specific investigation.

Missing women is at the heart of Alaska Daily.

When she goes to dinner with her old boss, who’s courting her to come to Alaska, Eileen sees pictures of these women, and understands—as she starts doing research—that this is a huge, horrific situation, and nobody is investigating. Another woman disappears and gets forgotten, and another. Even saying that gives me chills. There’s no world in which that should ever be happening, especially now in 2022.

You’ve had some incredible roles. When you play them, do you ever absorb parts of your character?

You can’t help but do that, especially with the roles that I’ve been so blessed to play. I play a lot of real-life people who blow open my blinders of how I look and walk in the world. Of course, that’s going to forever change the way I see and view things. It’s such a gift.

A lot of actors are doing streaming television now. What was it about Alaska Daily that made you agree to do something for broadcast TV?

[Executive producer/creator] Tom McCarthy asked me if would I read this. And I was like, “Yeah, of course.” I love his work. I didn’t know that it was network. As we started going down the road creatively, he’s like, “Oh, by the way, this is for ABC. I feel like this is the right home for it.” And I was like, “You know what, you’re the creator; if that’s how you feel, that’s great.”

It’s nice to have a network that believes in the story we’re telling. There’s a lot of wonderful material out there that now has a place because there are more places than ever. But it is nice to be back to basics, on network television, and have streaming, because we are on Hulu as well.

How do you perceive journalists?

They’re truth-seekers, investigators of the truth. And if something’s been debunked for someone who spent five months investigating, I think the person feels there’s like a moral responsibility to continue to get this information out.

You didn’t create Alaska Daily, but you have an executive producer credit. How do you see your role as an executive producer? Do you ever go into the writers’ room?

Very much part of the creative process. And yes, getting in the writer’s room and helping with character developments across the board, [how the] story aligns, and all of it. But I do a lot of that too, in my film work as a producer. It’s really a work in progress until it’s a locked picture.

On your Instagram, you mentioned that you just filmed back-to-back movies. In one, Mother’s Milk, it looks as if you play a journalist again. How is that different from Alaska Daily?

They’re very different, because you don’t really see me as a journalist in Mother’s Milk. You don’t see me actively as a reporter. It’s more of a thriller about losing my son, who gets murdered, the spiral down of that, and trying to figure out what happened to him. So it’s not specific journalistic work, it’s just her trying to figure out what happened to her son.

And then the other film is Ordinary Angels, based on the true story of a struggling hairdresser who rallies her community to help a widowed father with a critically ill daughter.

It’s really inspirational. It’s a true story of a real-life angel who sees this young girl in need, who needs an organ transplant. And she’s like, “I’m going to help.”

You mentioned earlier that there’s so much more content now on television. Do you see that there’s a lot more roles for women of the type that you would like to play, that you fought to play in your career?

Oh, yeah, 100 percent. I feel like I was so lucky because I got to play a lot of women years ago that were ahead of their time and doing things that were ahead of their time. I don’t know how else to say it. Real trailblazers. I can look back now and say for the last 30 years that’s been a wonderful trajectory of my career, and certainly a tremendous blessing for me as a person and as an artist. Thankfully, now, because of that, I think people continue to give me those opportunities and I am grateful for it every day.

You once said, “I cut coupons and believe in buying toilet paper and toothpaste in bulk. It’s who I am.” Is it still who you are?

I was raised in a way to make ends meet, and that’s just in your bones. Why wouldn’t I look for a deal? I’m a human being. I work hard for my money. Growing up the way I did, we needed our dollars to go as far as they could. Why would I want that to be different now?

You’re a big animal lover. Is there a cause that you’re involved in at the moment with an animal organization?

I work with a lot of different charities, but I have my own charity that I’m working with right now called Hilaroo, which is my name and my late dog’s name Karoo put together. It brings together kids who have been given up on and animals who have been abandoned, to help heal each other.

How many pets do you have now?

I have five dogs, two parrots, two horses.


Categories Articles & Interviews

Alaska Daily star Hilary Swank takes our journalism quiz

Boxer. Astronaut. Journalist? Yes, Hilary Swank has found a new dangerous profession to portray onscreen. On the new ABC drama Alaska Daily (Oct. 6), she stars as talented, impulsive, recently disgraced New York investigative reporter Eileen Fitzgerald, who takes a job at an Alaska newspaper while searching for reinvention, redemption, and, as always, the truth.

“Tom [McCarthy, the Spotlight director/co-writer who created Alaska Daily] told me that he was basing this on the article ‘Lawless,'” says the Oscar-winning actress of the Pulitzer-winning series by The Anchorage Daily News/ProPublica that detailed, among other things, sexual violence in the state’s indigenous villages. “I read the article and I was blown away by the statistics and the facts. And the fact that most of the world doesn’t even know about a lot of those things that are happening. I had known about the missing, lost, and murdered indigenous women before I spoke to Tom, and understandably, I was horrified and really angry that this is happening. It’s obviously systemic and nothing’s being done about it. Those are the stories I seek.”

The seeker at the heart of Alaska Daily is indeed Eileen, who is as skilled as she is stubbornly determined to break whatever story is put in front of her. “She is going to get to the bottom of the truth one way or another,” Swank tells EW. “No one’s going to stop her from getting there. And I love that she does her homework; she knows her rights and if she doesn’t, she quickly learns them. It’s kind of fun to see this award-winning journalist go up to Alaska and… she just kind of shakes it all up. It’s something I admire in people — people who don’t give up, who persevere.”

Swank is really committing to the write thing, as she’ll also play a journalist in the upcoming thriller Mother’s Milk. “I feel in a way that the parallel to what I do in breaking down my characters is investigative journalism,” sums up the actress, who last headlined a TV show with the 2020 Netflix space drama Away. “Figuring out the insides of the person that I’m playing — what makes them tick, what their fears are, what makes them human, getting to the truth of them — is so similar to what investigative journalism is. There’s so much richness in that exploration.”

Which got us thinking: How much has Hilary Swank — known for her intense preparation for her award-winning roles in Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don’t Cry — delved into character here? (She notes that she spoke with several Anchorage Daily News reporters before filming.) And what kind of journalist would she be in real life? Let’s do an investigation and test her knowledge of the trade while also finding out what kind of journalist she might be in real life. Hit record and let’s go on the record with Swank.
Continue reading Alaska Daily star Hilary Swank takes our journalism quiz

Categories Articles & Interviews Movies

Hilary Swank, Jack Reynor, Olivia Cooke to Lead Opioid Thriller ‘Mother’s Milk’

Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby”), Jack Reynor (“Midsommar”) and Olivia Cooke (“House of the Dragons”) are set to star in the upcoming opioid-themed thriller “Mother’s Milk.”

The film, which recently wrapped production in New York, comes from director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, who co-wrote the script with Madison Harrison. Prior credits from the director include Sundance Special Jury Prize winner “As You Are,” and the Margot Robbie-starring “Dreamland.” Aside from the three leads, additional cast includes Dilone, Hopper Penn, Norm Lewis and Karen Aldridge.

“Mother’s Milk” follows a journalist who, after the murder of her estranged son, forms an unlikely alliance with his pregnant girlfriend to track down those responsible for his death. Together, they confront a world of drugs and corruption in the underbelly of their small city in upstate New York, where they uncover an even darker secret.

“Getting this film made has been a personal dream of mine for six years and assembling a stellar cast like this is more than I ever could have hoped for,” Joris-Peyrafitte said in a statement. “I’m so excited to bring this story to life with them and my team of amazing producers.”

The film was funded by Shaun Sanghani of SSS Entertainment, via his financing arm SSS Film Capital, with his sales banner The Syndicate handling worldwide sales for the picture. Sanghani also produces alongside Siena Oberman of Artemis Pictures and Emma Tillinger Koskoff. Swank executive produces the film with Peter Winther, Brent Stiefel of Votiv Films and Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder and Greg Little of Priority Pictures.

In addition to “Mother’s Milk,” Swank has several upcoming projects on the horizon. She will next be seen in the ABC drama series “Alaska,” created by Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”). She also recently wrapped production on the Lionsgate feature “Ordinary Angels,” opposite Alan Ritchson (“Jack Reacher”).

Swank is repped by Entertainment 360, WME and attorney Jeff Bernstein. Cooke is repped by CAA, Grandview, The Artist Partnership and attorneys Gretchen Rush and Huy Nguyen. Reynor is repped by WME and Sloane, Weber, Offer, and Dern LLP. Joris-Peyrafitte is repped by Grandview and attorney Huy Nguyen.


Categories Articles & Interviews Tv Show

Hilary Swank’s ‘Alaska’ Picked Up To Series At ABC

The Disney-owned network has picked up Hilary Swank-fronted drama Alaska (fka Alaska Daily News)

Alaska, which scored a pilot order in September, stars Swank as Eileen Fitzgerald, a recently disgraced reporter who leaves her high-profile New York life behind to join a daily metro newspaper in Anchorage on a journey to find both personal and professional redemption.
It comes from Spotlight and Stillwater director Tom McCarthy and is produced by 20th Television.

It also stars Jeff Perry as Stanley Cornik, Matt Malloy as Bob Young, Meredith Holzman as Claire Muncy, Grace Dove as Rosalind “Roz” Friendly, Pablo Castelblanco as Gabriel Martin, Ami Park as Jieun Park and Craig Frank as Austin Greene.

McCarthy, who wrote and directed the pilot episode, and Swank exec produce alongside Melissa Wells, Bert Salke and Anchorage Daily News’ Kyle Hopkins and Ryan Binkley.


Categories Articles & Interviews Career Tv Show

Hilary Swank To Star In & EP Alaska-Set Drama Pilot For ABC

Hilary Swank is to star in and exec produce a drama pilot for ABC that comes from Spotlight and Stillwater director Tom McCarthy.

The Away and Boy’s Don’t Cry star will play a star journalist who moves to Alaska for a fresh start after a career-killing misstep, and finds redemption personally and professionally joining a daily metro newspaper in Anchorage.

The Untitled Alaska Project, which is one of the most high-profile network drama development projects of the season, will be written, directed and exec produced by Tom McCarthy through his Slow Pony production company. McCarthy is coming off the back of Matt Damon-fronted feature Stillwater.

Former Fox 21 Television Studios boss Bert Salke, will exec produce through this Co-lab21 banner. McCarthy previously worked with Salke at Fox21, where he signed an overall deal in 2019.

The pilot marks McCarthy’s first broadcast network project. He wrote the pilot of Showtime’s Roger Ailes miniseries The Loudest Voice, and executive produced and directed select episodes of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.

Similarly, it marks Swank’s live-action return to broadcast television for the first time in more than 20 years. The two-time Oscar winner, who starred in FX’s Trust, previously starred in Season 8 of Beverly Hills, 90210.

Slow Pony’s Melissa Wells will exec produce alongside Anchorage Daily News President and CEO Ryan Binkley and reporter Kyle Hopkins.

The off-cycle pilot order comes after ABC made decisions earlier this summer about the status of its last set of pilots, passing on Triage, Dark Horse, Kevin Costner-exec produced National Parks Investigation and Epic and picking up Promised Land to series.

Swank is repped by WME, Management 360 and Jackoway Tyerman, McCarthy is repped by Gersh and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz and Anchorage Daily News and Kyle Hopkins are repped by CAA.