Friday, January 05, 2007


Some stuff from the interview with Hilary Swank at her house in New York last week, quotes that I wasn't able to squeeze into the Sunday, Jan. 7 story.

On playing real-life figures, like transgendered Nebraskan teen Brandon Teena -- or Teena Brandon -- in Boys Don't Cry, and Erin Gruwell, the idealistic young teacher in Freedom Writers:

"With Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry, I felt yes, [it was] a big responsibility, just to tell the story in a way that that person would want their story told. But they’re not alive, so how do you know? With Erin, she’s alive, so I felt it was brave and courageous of her to be willing to have her story told. That must be such a scary thing. I mean, how do you tell someone’s story in two hours or less? How do you do that? It becomes everyone’s responsibility, my responsibility, the director’s responsibility."

On what she looks for in a project:

"I don’t ever want to say, ‘I want to tell important stories.’ It’s not my goal in life. My goal in life is just to find stories that I find fascinating, or that inspire me, or scare me, or make me reach deeper, and be a part of telling it."

On the huge changes brought on by winning an Oscar, for Boys Don't Cry:

"I was suddenly getting lots of offers, lots of scripts, and all of that was incredible. But on the flipside, it was also a reminder of how easily we’re judged by first impressions. Because I was sent a lot of scripts that had to do with similar issues. For being one of the most creative businesses -- Hollywood, the movie business -- sometimes you find that the people don’t think outside of the box. It takes a real open-minded and visionary person to see people in different ways.

"For all the amazing doors that opened, which were enormous and life-changing, it also opened another door of challenges. And that's, well, that’s life: everything has a double side to it. People knew me like that [the Boys Don't Cry role], but they didn’t know me as the girl that I am. It was interesting to get people to learn who I am."

And Richard LaGravenese, the screenwriter (The Horse Whisperer, The Fisher King) who penned Freedom Writers and directed it, had this to say about P.S., I Love You, the romantic comedy he just wrapped shooting in Ireland and New York with his Freedom Writers star, Swank:

"What’s wonderful about doing this project with her was that it was a chance for me to give her an opportunity to show herself in a way that no one’s ever seen before. It’s more of an Audrey Hepburn part, it’s more of a beautiful, bubbly, feminine, funny, clumsy, beautifully dressed kind of role. And a love story, something where she can show herself as a woman, in a relationship....

"Hilary’s commitment is so enormous that you just throw any idea out there and she’ll do it 100%. She has one scene where she mimes a song in her apartment by herself, and she was just doing take after take after take and having so much fun… she does Judy Garland’s "The Man That Got Away," and again, she got the mannerisms down, she studied the way Judy had performed that song in A Star Is Born, and she just does the best, the greatest job of it."


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