Categories Articles & Interviews

Hilary Swank’s perspective on life, love changed after caring for ailing father

Illness changes things. It changes how we live. What we care about. Who we make time for.

For Hilary Swank, who moved her father into her Los Angeles home three years ago as he underwent a risky lung transplant, it also changed how she dated.

“It’s almost a great way to weed out people,” says Swank, 44, who recently married social venture entrepreneur Philip Schneider. ” ‘Wait, you live with your dad?’ The reaction to that helps you move through things faster.” She and Schneider, who were set up on a blind date, have “that same ethos and belief in being there for your family,” she says. “That started it off right.”

Familial devotion is at the heart of Swank’s latest film, “What They Had,” one of the first roles she took after caring for her father. In the multi-generational drama, Swank plays Bridget, a long-distance daughter coping with her mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s. Her father (Robert Forster) argues he can care for his wife (Blythe Danner) better than the Chicago memory-care facility that his son (Michael Shannon), who lives nearby, is advocating. It’s Christmas, and no one has the answers.

Swank says little prepares you for becoming an aging parent’s proxy. “There were moments when I was taking care of my dad where you’re not confident, when you know that in helping make a decision, (it) could be good or bad – and that was something you were going to have to live with, no matter which way it went. So it was scary.” Continue reading Hilary Swank’s perspective on life, love changed after caring for ailing father

Categories Articles & Interviews Movies

Hilary Swank on the Power of Female Voters: “The Population of Women is Greater Than Men”

The actress urged women to vote in the upcoming midterm elections at the L.A. premiere of her film, ‘What They Had.’

Hilary Swank isn’t messing around when it comes to her voting rights. At the L.A. premiere of her new film, What They Had, the actress called on women to force political change by participating in the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 6.

“Everyone needs to take a stance for what they believe in by using their right and privilege to vote,” Swank told The Hollywood Reporter at the Westwood iPic theaters. “When we don’t show up at the polls, we’re sending a message that other people can be decision-makers, and if we really want to evoke change, we have to come together and vote. Bottom line is, the population of women is greater than men, and if we all voted we’d have the majority.”

Women came out in force on the carpet — and in spirit — for the indie drama about a family coping with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Swank, who stars in and exec produces the film, was flanked by both her onscreen daughter, Taissa Farmiga, and writer-director Elizabeth Chomko. Continue reading Hilary Swank on the Power of Female Voters: “The Population of Women is Greater Than Men”

Categories Articles & Interviews

Hilary Swank brings practical luxury to Nordstrom with her fashion brand Mission Statement

While helping to nurse her ailing father back to health, actress Hilary Swank made the decision to fill the long hours she was at the hospital by researching how to start a fashion brand.

For two years — between 2014 and 2016 — the multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe winner largely took a break from making films. She spent her time with her father as he underwent a lung transplant. In the middle of all that, she began pursuing “an idea I’d had for a while, but couldn’t work on because of back-to-back film projects,” said Swank, who stars in the upcoming drama “What They Had.” “It was the scariest time of my life. But in being with my dad, I could still be creative. I could find something challenging to do. I was able to make a lot of phone calls. I took time with the process. It wasn’t rushed because I didn’t have to squeeze it in between other projects.” Continue reading Hilary Swank brings practical luxury to Nordstrom with her fashion brand Mission Statement

Categories Articles & Interviews

Blythe Danner and Hilary Swank Soar in Caregiving Movie ‘What They Had’

issue of AARP The Magazine

At first, Blythe Danner and Hilary Swank seem utterly different as you watch them chatting together in a vast white room in Manhattan on a fine summer morning.
Swank, 44, a buff former high school gymnastics champ who grew up in a trailer park in Washington state, is direct, peppy, coachlike. “Make a choice about the optimism you want to bring into your life!” she exhorts us at one point.

The imperially slim Danner, 75, a Philadelphia banker’s daughter, is reserved and self-deprecating, even after a half-century of acting triumphs. Though she introduced her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, to acting, she says Gwynnie is the genius in the family. “She has such self-esteem and self-awareness, all the things I never had,” Danner notes.

Yet in person and certainly professionally, Danner has more presence and power than she admits to. She won a Tony award at age 27 and Emmy honors for her roles on the TV shows Huff and Will & Grace. Swank, too, has shone brightly in her career, winning two Oscars for best actress in a leading role (for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby). Continue reading Blythe Danner and Hilary Swank Soar in Caregiving Movie ‘What They Had’

Categories Articles & Interviews

AARP Announces First Ever Collaboration on Major Motion Picture “What They Had”

AARP today announced a collaboration with Bleecker Street on the release of “What They Had,” the upcoming film starring Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning actress Hilary Swank, EMMY and Tony Award winning actress Blythe Danner, with Michael Shannon, Robert Forster and Taissa Farmiga.

From first-time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko, “What They Had” centers on a family in crisis. Bridget (Swank) returns home to Chicago at her brother’s (Shannon) urging to deal with her mother’s (Danner) Alzheimer’s and her father’s (Forster) reluctance to let go of their life together. The film aligns with AARP’s caregiving social mission and brings awareness of the issue to a wide audience.

“AARP is working closely with the entertainment industry to help raise awareness of our demographic as well as the many key issues affecting Americans today,” said Myrna Blyth, SVP and Editorial Director of AARP Media. “Caregiving and dementia are central to the movie’s storyline. ‘What They Had’ will speak to our members and the many millions that are facing these problems every day.”

As part of the collaboration, AARP will help promote the film through its vast digital platforms and the AARP Movies for Grownups® program, which will offer 30 screenings of the film to members across the country beginning October 22. At the film’s conclusion, audiences will also be able to view a PSA, featuring writer/director Elizabeth Chomko and highlighting AARP caregiving resources.

AARP will also feature Hilary Swank and Blythe Danner on the October/November cover of AARP The Magazine, the nation’s most-read magazine, with more than 38 million readers. The accompanying ATM cover story provides an in-depth look at the actors’ own experiences with caregiving.

“We are thrilled to be working with AARP to bring Elizabeth’s film and this story to audiences,” said Andrew Karpen, CEO of Bleecker Street. “It’s a touching and heartfelt look at what many families face as they deal with a loved one’s decline.”