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Swank Smitten By Words That Spark 'P.S. I Love You'

Category: P.S. I Love You News
Article Date: December 18, 2007 | Publication: Wmtw | Author: Tim Lammers
Source: WMTW

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Actress Revels Challenge Of Finding Comedic, Dramatic Balance

If anyone ever wants to get in the ring with Hilary Swank and challenge her film choices, then get ready to duck: the acclaimed actress will be coming at you with moves that you haven't seen from her before.

We already know, of course, that Swank can do drama, given her Oscar-winning turns as a female boxer who suffers a debilitating injury and faces a moral dilemma in "Million Dollar Baby," and a transgender woman and hate crime victim in "Boys Don't Cry."

And while her character is also devastated by the loss of her husband (Gerard Butler) in the new film "P.S. I Love You," something funny happens to Swank this time around -- quite literally.

"What I loved about this movie is that it gave me the opportunity to be comedic and romantic, but I think at the core of it is a beautiful love story," Swank said in a recent @ The Movies interview. "I guess it's best that it be called a dramedy. The challenge for me was to find the balance of the humor within the reality and aftermath of what's happened, but at the same time remain true to the anger, shock and all of those emotions associated with grief. That was definitely unique to anything else I've done."

Swank plays Holly Kennedy, a person driven by planning ahead, even though she can't find a job that can satisfy her work passion in the present. On the flip side is her husband, Gerry (Butler), who lives life on the fly until his untimely death.

Suddenly, Holly, who was always looking ahead to the future, is stifled by the memories of Gerry in the past: that is, at least until her 30th birthday, when a cake shows up with a tape recording by her late love.

It seems as though Gerry knew how to plan ahead after all, and informs Holly that she'll be receiving letters in the coming weeks and months that will help her move on with her life through a series of adventures -- letters that are each signed, "P.S. I Love You."

Also starring Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gerson, Harry Connick Jr. and Kathy Bates, the film opens in theaters Friday.

Based on the best-selling novel by Cecelia Ahern, "P.S. I Love You" was adapted for the screen and directed by Richard LaGravenese, who previously worked with Swank on "Freedom Writers." The actress gushed over the filmmaker, who masterfully makes you believe that Gerry's spirit is bonded to Holly throughout the film.

"I did 'Freedom Writers' and 'P.S. I Love You' with him back-to-back, so I could sing his praises all day," Swank enthused. "Richard has such of a gift. He's been one of my favorite screenwriters forever, and to see him now as a talented director as well, to see him bring his words to the screen, is so exciting."

What makes this particular project special for Swank is that, not only does LaGravenese's words make for a great screenplay, it's the sort of story that asks you to contemplate your own beliefs beyond the screen. That's because "P.S. I Love You" is in some ways about destiny and in other ways free will -- and in real life, Swanks prescribes to both of the ideals.

"There's a great saying, 'The definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity.' I'm a believer of that and have certainly have experienced a lot of that in my career," Swank said. "I've really worked hard and love to work hard, but if I wasn't presented those opportunities, I'd be working hard at a lot of nothing."

Destiny was also at work, in a sense, for "P.S. I Love You" because as filming began, Swank was working with an actor who would soon star in a film horizon called "300."

And while "300" has since turned Butler into a worldwide superstar, Swank is impressed with how the Scottish actor remains grounded and maintains a childlike sense of wonder about the movie business.

"He's so fresh and humbled -- he got such a late start in the business that he's not jaded in any way," Swank said. "It's so beautiful to be around that and someone who has that sense of wonder."

That sense especially rang true about three-quarters the way through filming, Swank said, when Butler saw a cut of "300" for the first time.

"He was so excited. He was telling me, 'I can't wait for you to see this! It was so fun and I love it so much,'" Swank beamed. "It's great to see him have such success with '300,' and to see him follow up with a movie that's so different. 'P.S. I Love You' shows a whole other side of him."

 


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