Who knew that an actress who had made her acting debut over 20-years ago with the teen TV show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" would go on to win two Best Actress Oscars for her roles in "Boys Don't Cry" (1999) and "Million Dollar Baby" (2004).
Showing no signs of exiting tinseltown anytime soon, the 41-year-old actress still looks as elegant as ever when we met her at the press conference of her latest effort, "You're Not You" at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Taking on the reins as lead actress and producer for "You're Not You", the movie is based on the novel of the same name by Michelle Wildgen.
Swank plays Kate, a classical pianist who is diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and through her newly hired caregiver, Bec (Emmy Rossum) they get through the daily hurdles of live including one where Kate's husband, Evan (Josh Duhamel), is discovered to be having an affair.
Although the movie had a limited release run in North America back in October 2014, it is only now being screened in Tokyo.
The film was not screened in Malaysia and Singapore but it is now available on DVD.
Here's what Swank had to say about taking on a movie revolving around the plight of an ALS patient and if she'll ever work with Clint Eastwood ever again.
What made you decide to make a movie on ALS?
I felt like this was a beautiful story on friendship and love. It also deals with ALS, a disease that has become more prevalent. We don't know what causes it and we don't have the first idea on how to cure it. I just thought that this unsuspecting friendship between Kate and Bec in the face of adversity was empowering and beautiful. It's a reminder that life is short and we have to make the most of it every day.
What are the things that you have gained or learnt in the process of making this movie?
The most incredible thing about being an actor is that it's actually a gift to me to see the world through somebody else's eyes and walk in their shoes. It expands my idea on how to see the world. Through Kate's character I got to see a different side and that is really a gift to me.
Talking about your character's plight, if a doctor said that you had a limited time to do whatever you want, what would you do?
I feel blessed because I feel like I had so many opportunities in my life to travel and see different ways of life. It's been so life enriching and it's one of the most important things one can do – I could even say that I'm living my bucket list every day. Well, one of the vows that I made to myself a couple of years ago was to spend more time with my family and my loved ones.
Why did you cast Emmy Rossum?
I was always a fan of Emmy. She's so extraordinarily talented, but when she auditioned for this I saw her tape and was blown away. I was working on a movie and I wasn't even in the audition room but I thought she was so enigmatic on screen. She completely captured the spirit and essence of Bec. I knew immediately that she was the one to play Bec.
How does it feel to be acting for 20 years now? Do you ever tire of it?
I've been an actress now for over half my life! To think I was a young girl - at one point eight years old when I first wanted to be an actor – and now I'm living my dream. It is truly a blessing and something that I don't take for granted. I love it so insurmountably. I think about all the choices I've made all these years and the trajectory of the characters I picked – to play inspiring women – it's great.
As someone so established in the showbiz world, what's your advice to budding artistes out there?
I know it sound cliché, but I think we're all students of life. It's so important to never give up, ever. It's so important to persevere. One of the things that I wished I had said to myself when I was younger was to make sure I was defining myself for myself. So often we look at others to define who we are. We only have one life and it's super important to know what we want from it and make a choice every day to work towards that.
Would you ever work with Clint Eastwood again?
I absolutely adore Clint Eastwood. We've actually have been talking about trying to find something. It's also a matter of aligning our schedules, but I will do anything if he asks! I won't even need to read anything, I would just say "Yes!".