Hilary Swank - Rotten Tomatoes

Hilary Swank



A professional actress since the age of 16, when she moved to Los Angeles from Bellingham, WA, Hilary Swank first appeared onscreen in 1992's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Two years later, she earned a rudimentary degree of fame when she was picked to star in The Next Karate Kid, but this recognition proved fleeting. Swank subsequently appeared in a number of minor films and did a year-long stint on Beverly Hills 90210. In 1999, however, she won both acclaim and recognition for her lead role in Kimberly Peirce's independent drama Boys Don't Cry. Based on the real-life story of Brandon Teena, a woman whose decision to lead her life as a man met with dire consequences, Boys Don't Cry was one of the year's most lauded films, with particular praise going to Swank for her stunning performance. She went on to win a number of honors for her work in the film, including Golden Globe and Academy Awards for Best Actress, at the mere age of 25.



Predictably, Swank's workload increased significantly after her Oscar win in 2001, and the actress found herself starring in several lesser known but nonetheless challenging roles, including Sam Raimi's psychological thriller The Gift, as well as The Affair of the Necklace with future Oscar winner Adrien Brody. She also accepted a meaty supporting role as an eager-to-please rookie detective alongside Hollywood veteran Al Pacino in 2002's Insomnia. However, Swank did take a break from brooding period pieces and serious explorations of sexuality for one unapologetic big-budget summer blockbuster -- Jon Amiel's The Core (2003), in which she co-starred as one of several individuals chosen to journey to the Earth's core in hopes of jump-starting the collapsing electromagnetic forces.



Though she may have cut loose in a few post-Oscar popcorn munchers in a bid to blow off some steam onscreen, Swank had already gained a reputation as a serious-minded actress whose quickly evolving onscreen talent pointed to many great things to come in the future. Meanwhile, Swank and then-husband Chad Lowe (brother of Rob Lowe) mounted Accomplice Films, a Big Apple-based production house, in early 2004. Swank inaugurated this triumph with an executive producer credit on the quirky, little-seen auto-accident drama 11:14. Swank took the lead in the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated 2004 HBO women's suffrage drama Iron Jawed Angels, which also featured Anjelica Huston and Frances O'Connor. Soon after, Swank starred as a South African-born attorney in Tom Hooper's political drama Red Dust.



If audiences awaiting another knockout performance from Swank failed to catch her winning turns in Iron Jawed Angels and Red Dust, there was virtually no escaping her unforgettable evocation of a determined female pugilist in director Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby (2004). As Robert De Niro did for another boxing picture over 20 years prior, the already tough-as-nails Swank physically transformed herself to an astonishing degree for the role, immersing herself in a holistic diet of egg-white shakes, fish, vegetables, and protein bars, and testing the barriers of endurance with 4 1/2-hour-a-day, six-day-per-week workouts. This harsh regimen enabled her to pack on 19 pounds of muscle. The gamble paid off onscreen as well. Swank's remarkable vitality and sincerity buoyed the film, which took home the Best Picture prize at the 77th Annual Academy Awards and netted Swank the highly coveted Best Actress award at the same ceremony -- a win that helped to bring Eastwood's critically lauded film a total of four well-deserved Oscars.



Doubtless encouraged by the success of Baby, Warner Bros. extended a one-year production deal to Accomplice Films in March 2005 -- an offer that Swank and Lowe immediately embraced, even as they filed for divorce in early 2006.



Meanwhile, if Swank stayed offscreen in 2005, she quietly geared up for a full slate of roles. The first in production was a

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Spark: A Space Tail
  • The Queen
2017
81% The Homesman
  • Mary Bee Cuddy
2014
44% You're Not You
  • Producer
  • Kate
2014
No Score Yet Mary & Martha
  • Mary
2013
37% The Resident
  • Juliet Devereau
  • Executive Producer
2012
No Score Yet Nature: Under Antarctic Ice
  • Actor
2012
7% New Year's Eve
  • Claire Morgan
2011
15% Something Borrowed
  • Producer
2011
67% Conviction
  • Betty Anne Waters
  • Executive Producer
2010
20% Amelia
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Executive Producer
2009
No Score Yet Birds of America
  • Laura
2008
24% P.S. I Love You
  • Holly Kennedy
2007
8% The Reaping
  • Katherine Winter
2007
69% Freedom Writers
  • Executive Producer
  • Erin Gruwell
2007
91% ...So Goes the Nation
  • Actor
2006
32% The Black Dahlia
  • Madeleine Linscott
2006
No Score Yet Beautiful Ohio
  • Producer
2006
No Score Yet On Native Soil
  • Narrator
2005
91% Million Dollar Baby
  • Maggie Fitzgerald
2004
No Score Yet Red Dust
  • Sarah Barcant
2004
92% 11:14
  • Executive Producer
  • Buzzy
  • Producer
2003
41% The Core
  • Maj. Rebecca Childs
2003
No Score Yet Iron Jawed Angels
  • Alice Paul
2003
92% Insomnia
  • Det. Ellie Burr
2002
15% The Affair of the Necklace
  • Comtesse Jeanne de la Motte-Valois
2001
57% The Gift
  • Valerie Barksdale
2000
88% Boys Don't Cry
  • Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena
1999
No Score Yet Heartwood
  • Sylvia Orsini
1998
No Score Yet Quiet Days in Hollywood
  • Lolita
1997
No Score Yet Kounterfeit
  • Colleen
1997
No Score Yet Dying to Belong
  • Lisa Connors
1997
No Score Yet The Sleepwalker Killing
  • Lauren Schall
1997
No Score Yet Sometimes They Come Back...Again
  • Michelle Porter
1996
No Score Yet Terror in the Family
  • Deena
1996
7% The Next Karate Kid
  • Julie
1994
No Score Yet Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story (Victim of Rage)
  • Patty
1994
35% Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Kimberly
1992
No Score Yet Essential Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Actor
1992

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
Growing Pains
1985-1992
  • Sasha
No Score Yet Nature
1982
  • Narrator
No Score Yet Punk'd
2003-2012
  • Appearing
27% Chelsea
2016
  • Guest
No Score Yet Charlie Rose
2013
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Talk
2010
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Conan
2010
  • Guest
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
1975
  • Performer

Quotes from Hilary Swank's Characters