When Hilary Swank posted the trailer for her new film “Ordinary Angels” on Instagram, she hoped others found the same inspiration she found in telling the story.
The role came to her just months after her father, Stephen, died at 73. He had received a lung transplant in 2014.“His life was literally saved for an extended period of time that he wouldn’t have had here, had he not been given that gift,” Swank, 49, tells USA TODAY. “There’s millions of people in need who are on a wait list. So if you can be a donor, please do.”
The film, in theaters Friday, is based on a true story. In 1994, a hairdresser in Louisville, Kentucky, rallied a community to help transport a girl in need of a liver transplant to Nebraska. The hairdresser raised thousands of dollars and secured a private jet for the trip, but the call with a donor match came during a historic blizzard that shut down the city. The girl had already lost her mother to a rare condition and was raised by her widowed father and grandmother, played in the film by Alan Ritchson and Nancy Travis.
Hilary Swank is reflecting on the challenges and rewards of being a mom of twins!
On Monday, the Oscar-winning actress, 49, spoke exclusively to PEOPLE at the premiere of her new film Ordinary Angels at the SVA Theatre in New York.
In April 2023, Swank and her husband Philip Schneider welcomed twins, daughter Aya and son Ohm.
Nights are admittedly “hard” with twins, but Swank also knows there will be a time when she’ll look back at this period with a different perspective.
“I think that being a mother of twins, I never have had a singleton, so I don’t know what that’s like,” she explained. “But I know that the sleepless nights are hard and when you have one that might sleep through the night, the other one’s not, so it’s kind of this trade-off every night.”
“But I know this is also a season, and it too will pass, and I try and remind myself that there’s going to be a day when I’m like, ‘Oh, I’d love to wake up right now and just hold you.’ So just trying and hold on to that.”
She’s already looking forward to the next challenge: when the twins are more mobile.
“Well, they’re only crawling, so it’s not like we’re out of control or anything,” she tells PEOPLE.
In the Lionsgate film, Swank stars as Sharon Stevens, a “fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters,” according to an official synopsis.
She starts out as a member of an alcoholism support group, but then cleans up her act to help the widower whose 5-year-old who is waiting for a liver transplant.
“What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles and ordinary angels,” the synopsis adds.
Ordinary Angels also stars Tamala Jones, Amy Acker, Drew Powell, Skywalker Hughes and Emily Mitchell, and is directed by Jon Gunn.
During an appearance on Today on Monday ahead of the premiere, the new mom revealed the special meaning behind her babies’ names.
“Aya was a Syrian refugee we met in Lebanon. So she was just this courageous, brave young girl full of life going through a really difficult time. My husband and I were like, she’s so beautiful, what a great name,” she shared.
As for son Ohm, Swank said, “Ohm is considered the first universal sound and unites all people, and that sounds very fitting.”
These days, the two-time Oscar-winner is staying on familiar ground, in her life and in her work. Her new film, “Ordinary Angels,” is the true story of a woman who moves mountains to help a little girl who needs a liver transplant, to the point of begging the hospital to erase the mounting medical debt.
For Swank, whose own father was a lung transplant recipient, the story hits painfully close to home. She started filming about five months after his death on October 1, 2021. “And so it was like, almost, I don’t know, kismet in a way, to be a part of it,” she said.
The movie is about a woman who tries to do the impossible, and keeps trying, until it happens.
Raised in Bellingham, Washington, she grew up on the proverbial wrong side of town. Some kids at her school were told not to hang out with the kid from the trailer park. “Yeah, I don’t know – they didn’t want their kids playing with me. I don’t know. I know it’s stupid. It’s so silly.”
But it stayed with her: “Well, it stayed with me because, obviously, I didn’t understand it,” Swank said. “But it’s interesting, ’cause some of those people now, being back in the home town, were like, ‘Oh, I always believed in you.’ Yeah, I’m like, ‘No, you didn’t.’ I can’t keep my mouth shut to that!”
And their response? “That they don’t remember.”
And it seems she never forgot how tough it was to make it. For years she took any part, no matter how small. You might recognize her in “Growing Pains” with another struggling actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, who was on his way up, too.
“It was nine years of really hitting the pavement,” she said, “auditioning five times a day. And in the trunk of my car, it was all these different outfits that I would change and go in to be this different person in these auditions.”
And there was a lot of rejection. “You know, it’s a really hard thing to be told all the time, you know, about your looks and why you might not have gotten this or that. And you start to think, ‘Oh, do I need to change that about myself?’ And I think that was one of the reasons why – I didn’t realize consciously I was doing it, but I think I was looking for roles that weren’t about appearance, that they were really about people.”
And that turned out to be the key. In 1999 she landed a role that changed everything: “Boys Don’t Cry,” playing a real life trans teenager.
Posted on Author MaryComments Off on Variety Announces Spirituality & Faith in Entertainment Breakfast
Variety will host its first-ever Spirituality & Faith in Entertainment Breakfast presented by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) on Feb. 13th in Los Angeles, featuring Hilary Swank, Roma Downey and Rainn Wilson.
Swank, the two-time Academy Award-winning actress from “Million Dollar Baby” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” will speak to Marc Malkin, senior culture and events writer for Variety, about her creative ties into faith-based entertainment, including the upcoming film “Ordinary Angels,” debuting theatrically Feb. 23 from Lionsgate.
The invite-only event will spotlight the opportunity for featuring religion and faith in entertainment and media with a nondenominational lens. The breakfast will give a fresh look at consumer attitudes, market opportunities and breakthrough storytelling.
Posted on Author MaryComments Off on Hilary Swank to Star in James Patterson Audible Originals
Hilary Swank, Sanaa Lathan, Aaron Paul and Krysten Ritter are set to lend their voices for Audible Originals releasing next year in collaboration with James Patterson Entertainment.
Audible Inc. announced Monday that the stars will narrate three new originals from the author: Zero Tolerance starring Swank, The Justice starring Lathan, and The Coldest Case Season 2 with Paul and Ritter. The three scripted audio drama releases will be available exclusively on Audible.
In Zero Tolerance, Swank will star as Sergeant Jo Barnes whose all-female U.S. Army investigative team is known for solving sex crime cases within the military. After their new mission takes them to the Mojave Desert amid the mysterious disappearance of Private Nichelle Simmons — a soldier who accused a comrade of assault — things take a turn when the accused is set free.
The original, co-written by Duane Swierczynski and also starring Christine Ko, Melonie Diaz and a full cast, will release on Aug. 24.
The Justice is an 8-part audio thriller centered on Beth Garner (Lathan), the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, who becomes entangled in the dark secrets of her mentor and hero, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Clayton Erlenborn. The original, co-written by Aaron Cooley and also starring Susan Kelechi Watson and Luke Tennie, releases in early 2024.
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