Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Flight of Fancy; Also Showing: Amelia

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Flight of Fancy; Also Showing: Amelia

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan Griffin

IIT'S now 10 years since two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank's breakthrough role as Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry. Based on the harrowing true tale of a Nebraskan woman who was raped and murdered for trying to pass as a man, the role secured the 25-year-old unknown actress her first Oscar win.

"Winning an Academy Award when you're so young and you aren't known for anything else except that one film, you put this incredible pressure on yourself, like you can't mess up or something and that's never going to happen," she says.

"You're going to make mistakes and you're going to make a movie that doesn't work."

She admits she can only say that now, with 10 years in the business behind her. "It's incredible to see the choices I've made, to see the common thread among between the characters I've played."

A quick glance at Swank's resume and the "common thread" seems to be strong women who overcome immense adversity to prove themselves in a male-dominated world - and her latest role in AMELIA is no different.

Playing the boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby won Swank her second Oscar in 2005, but she insists: "It's not that I search out those types of characters. It's not like I call my agent and say bring me the challenging women who aren't afraid to follow their dreams or something like that.

"I think what happens is when the scripts come across my desk, there's just either a fire that lights in my belly or there isn't. I either see it or I don't see it.

"I feel like I choose roles that are challenging to me, that I don't know whether I'm going to be able to figure out or portray or do a disservice to them or I'm going to be the weakest link or something and screw the whole thing up.

"It's like you allow yourself to get mud thrown at you because you put yourself out there. …

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