Hilary Swank in The Homesman at the Hamptons International Film Festival

October 13, 2014 3:19 PM

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Holding court after a sumptuous brunch honoring Hilary Swank for receiving Montblanc's Creative Impact in Acting award and Variety's "Class of 10 Actors to Watch" at the Maidstone in East Hampton, Swank, her dog Kai by her side, spoke about her role as Mary Bee Cuddy in The Homesman, Tommy Lee Jones' movie set in "the territories." You could say this is a dark "how the west was won" from a woman's point of view, with strong Coen Brothers influence. Based on Glendon Swarthout's novel, The Homesman has the mythic structure of Jones' directorial debut, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, with a star-studded supporting cast including John Lithgow, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, Tim Blake Nelson, and Meryl Streep, his Hope Springs co-star, the familiar faces a cushion for the movie's somber message. Hilary Swank said she took the role of a woman tasked with bringing three women gone mad back to their Iowa families from a Nebraska frontier, an arduous journey, because it was a feminist story.

Her character, a better "man" than most, is motivated by a sense of duty, near absent in our culture. She had to learn to ride a horse, drive mules, and it is truly heartbreaking to hear the lovely Swank, plain as a washboard, ask the curmudgeonly Jones character, George Briggs, to marry her. If lif...

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