Since her pivotal role as transgender teenager in the 1999 film “Boys Don’t Cry” for which she won her first Oscar, Hilary Swank has proven herself as a tremendous talent, humanitarian, and female force in Hollywood. She recently sat down with Larry King to discuss her upcoming western drama “The Homesman” and reflected on the steps she’s taken that have led her to this point in her career.
Never one to shy away for unglamorous roles, Swank explained to King why she gravitated toward her character in “The Homesman.” “To me, it’s a really beautiful movie. It’s a feminist movie, in my opinion, and I feel like the character has values and morals and manners – things that, I think, we’ve really lost touch with as a society…I think she’s one of the most beautiful characters that I’ve played just because like I said of her selflessness and her morals and values.”
As a leading female actress in Hollywood, Swank has earned her share of juicy female roles. But, she’s well aware of how rare those are to come by. “I think there are moments where there are more opportunities for women, depending on the year, but for the most part, every year, there’s compelling roles for men.”
Swank also talked about how her role as Brandon in “Boys Don’t Cry” opened up opportunities for activism in the LGBT community. “I was the spokesperson for the gay, lesbian, transgendered, and questioning youth at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City for ten years after I did “Boys Don’t Cry,” and I got to sit with these youth and hang out with them in a community, in an area where they had a safe place to go after school, and all of them told me – all of them – 100% of them told me that, every single day, they were heckled emotionally, or physically abused in New York City. In New York City! The most diverse city in the world…To think that it had that type of impact – it’s probably the most important movie I’ll ever do. I had no idea, 15 years later, how much people would still be talking about it as being this groundbreaking, kind of illuminating, moment to start conversation about something.”
Check out the rest of Swank’s interview below: