She has made mistakes in the past, notably in 2011 when she attended the birthday celebrations of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen Republic president accused of numerous human-rights violations, commanding a reported appearance fee of £500,000.Criticised by human-rights groups, Swank denied knowledge of the allegations made against Kadyrov, donating her fee to charities and sacking her manager in the process. Then again, there’s always been a see-saw quality to Swank’s career.Fortunately, being fired allowed her to audition for At the time, she also met and married Chad Lowe, brother to actor Rob, five years after they’d met at a party at the Hollywood Athletic Club, shortly after she turned 18.Their union lasted 10 years, during which time Swank admitted in that her husband had “substance-abuse problems” (Lowe later told Larry King that he was “definitely very disappointed” that she decided to air this private problem to the press. Since then, Lowe has remarried and had two children, while Swank has yet to marry again – though rumours abound.
Spending a lot of time now in Paris, “I’m trying to learn French,” she tells me, and she’s also learning how to play tennis – with a little help from Fleury. “Hopefully I’m not learning wrong, because that would be hard to re-learn! And that’s what I need to work on, but I’m getting better at it.”Her next film, in , is classic Swank, the sort of heartbreaking, homely role she’s good at, casting her as a classical pianist with the muscle-wasting disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
It was in competition in Cannes earlier this year, the first time Swank has ever had a movie premiere at the film festival. “I ended up having 10 people with me, including my best friend since we were six years old, from Bellingham, Washington.”They partied, popped champagne and got chauffeured by limo to the red carpet. Recently, she managed to overcome any shyness at a Variety-hosted event for 10 Actors to Watch.
“I got out of the car and there was a camera right in my face. She was there to receive a Creative Impact in Acting award, leaving the selected youngsters (including , it is sage advice.
Yet there’s something still quite innocent about the brown-eyed Swank, a blue-collar Nebraska native who grew up in a trailer park rather than under the lights of Sunset Boulevard, where her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame now rests.
Even now, aged 40, she still gets excited by the glamorous side of the business – such as unveiling her new movie, The Homesman. ’ I couldn’t even talk.”A speechless Swank – now there’s a thing.
Hilary Swank has, by all accounts, just done a double-take.