Hilary Swank on grit, love, trans rights – and her three-year screen break

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As she returns to acting, the double Oscar-winner talks about her love of ‘people who persevere’, the legacy of her role in Boys Don’t Cry, and why she grew up feeling like an outsider

Hilary Swank has already raced through a full day’s schedule before the LA restaurant where we meet has had time to switch its menu from breakfast to lunch. She has taken her father to a doctor’s appointment, held a conference call for her new clothing line, Mission Statement, and run to a meeting about one of the three TV shows she is currently producing, along with three films. “Constant everything!” she grins, looking casual and efficient in a sundress. She has arrived just in time to order a piece of salmon – to go. The two-time Oscar winner still has a lot left to accomplish.

Swank, 44, has been having a busy summer. If you haven’t seen her for a while, that is due to her making a necessary choice. Just before Christmas 2014, her father Stephen, a former chief master sergeant in the Oregon air national guard, underwent a life-saving lung transplant. For three years, Swank was his sole live-in carer, which meant saying no to Hollywood – or, as she phrases it: “I was saying yes to something else that I wanted to be a part of.”

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