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Hilary Swank

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Hilary Swank is known for her dramatic, Academy Award-winning roles in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby — but her current dream role is to take the lead in an action movie.

"I don't want to be the girl in the bikini in James Bond. I want to be Jane Bond," she told NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg.

In her latest project, Swank plays astronaut Emma Green in the Netflix series, Away. Her character commands the first crewed mission to Mars. Swank talks about what goes into preparing for a role as an astronaut, including speaking to real-life astronaut Jessica Meir from the International Space Station, and getting her pilot's license while playing Amelia Earhart on-screen.

Swank is a lifelong animal lover. For her Ask Me Another challenge, she guesses whether luxury pet services are real or fake.


On receiving an unexpected phone call from The International Space Station

"I get this phone call on my cell phone and she was like, 'Hey, it's Jessica from ISS. I just thought I'd call and follow up with you.' ... And I was like, 'What? Am I being pranked right now?' It's just unbelievable, someone's calling me from the ISS!"

On acting as though there's zero gravity

"So, the wires, you're being held at the lowest part of your hips. So not in a very comfortable place. Kind of like, you know when those low-riders were in? ...That's where these harnesses are, way down there. And so, you don't feel that supported, and you're not. But you have to squeeze your glutes to go forward, so you're like, squeezing and trying to talk normal, then you have to squeeze your abs really hard to go back, like this. And then you have an emotional scene... and so, it was actually more challenging than I had expected, and a pretty solid workout."

On driving to Los Angeles with her mom to pursue her acting dream

"I was actually 15-and-a-half, and I say that because you get your permit then. So, we were driving down, my aunt had loaned us her car. It was an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. It was supreme, and it was fancy, you know? And, I had these bear claw slippers that I would wear, and I was wearing them on this drive down. And so, I remember my mom saying, 'Do you want to drive?' And I was like, 'I have my bear claw slippers.' She goes, 'That's okay.' So I was driving down to L.A. with my learner's permit and my bear claw slippers, through that long stretch of desert."

Heard on: Hilary Swank, Andy Richter & Yvette Nicole Brown: 'Away' We Go.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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