Oscar winner Hilary Swank joins WTOP to discuss ‘Ordinary Angels,’ 20 years of ‘Million Dollar Baby’

WTOP's Jason Fraley discusses 'Ordinary Angels' with Hilary Swank

Her new faith-based drama film “Ordinary Angels” is earning wide acclaim from critics and audiences.

Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank joined WTOP to discuss why the inspiring movie is resonating with people.

“However you look at faith … it’s a story that resonates with everybody,” Swank told WTOP. “We got an A+ (Cinemascore) at the theater, which is so rare. It’s because people, whether you are religious or not, are resonating with the goodness of humankind and how I think we really got out of touch with that and how good it feels to be back in touch with that. You laugh, you cry, it’s just a fun journey. I’m so proud to be a part of this movie.”

Based on a true story from Louisville, Kentucky, in 1994, Swank plays an alcoholic hairdresser who is estranged from her son. Her determined, charismatic character single-handedly rallies an entire community to help a recently widowed father (Alan Ritchson) save the life of his daughter, who urgently needs a liver transplant.

“This person is out there, bigger than life, wearing her heart on her sleeve and looking to help others,” Swank said. “She’s flawed, she’s funny, she’s just a beautiful human and there were so many meaningful things in the movie that resonated with me. … It’s about being an organ donor, it’s about addiction. … It’s a story about this flawed woman. She’s imperfect and she’s trying to find her way. And through service to another, she finds her truest purpose.”

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of her celebrated role as the tragic boxer in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), which won her second Oscar for Best Actress after her first win in “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999).

“I feel so honored, humbled and blessed to be a part of telling stories that resonate over time and stand the test of time like ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ ‘Freedom Writers, ‘P.S. I Love You,’ ‘Amelia’ … When I look at the trajectory of the choices I’ve made in my movies, there are so many real-life people, I’ve played so many true stories because these people, to get to walk in their shoes and see through their eyes, deepens the way that I walk in the world.”

We ended with rapid-fire questions about her favorite roles by other multiple Best Actress winners:

Katharine Hepburn – “Bringing Up Baby” (Hepburn won Best Actress a record four times)

Ingrid Bergman – “Joan of Arc” (Bergman won Best Actress twice and a third for Supporting Actress)

Meryl Streep – “Sophie’s Choice” (Streep won Best Actress twice and a third for Supporting Actress)

Jodie Foster – “Taxi Driver” (Foster won Best Actress twice)

Frances McDormand – “Fargo” (McDormand won Best Actress three times)

Listen to our full conversation on the podcast below:

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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