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Video: Hilary Swank takes on title role in ‘Amelia’

  1. Closed captioning of: Hilary Swank takes on title role in ‘Amelia’

    >>> is here.

    >>> hilary swank is a two-time academy award -winner, and there is already talk of a possible third with her latest performance. i'm embarrassing her now. swank plays legendary pilot amelia earhart in the new movie " amelia ." take a look.

    >> after this round-the-world flight, miss earhart, are you going to give up long-distance flying?

    >> not while there's always life left in me. always ready for a new adventure.

    >> frank, give us a big smile for the camera !

    >> write to me.

    >> always.

    >> hilary swank , good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> obviously, richard gere with you.

    >> yes, the lovely richard gere .

    >> the lovely richard gere . let me tell you what the " los angeles times " said about " amelia ." called it a beautifully crafted, a very traditional epic, the kind of adult biographical story movie studios generally don't seem to be making anymore. how would you describe the movie?

    >> you know, i think more than ever, people have really come up to me and said i can't wait to see this movie , more than any other movie i've been a part of, and i think that just makes you realize that amelia is someone that epitomizes i think what we're all striving for, which is, you know, to live your life the way you want and to not make any apologies for who you are and to live your dream. and to me, that's really what the movie's about. it's also a great love story , and it's epic. it's sweeping.

    >> but that puts a lot of pressure on an actress, too. on the one hand, it's an irresistible role because she is so iconic. on the other hand, because she is an icon, getting it right.

    >> you're right. i think there's a lot of responsibility that comes with playing someone who has lived in the past, especially someone as iconic as amelia . you know, there are all these images we have of her and ideas we have of her. so it's not like you can take a lot of fictional, you know, figure out what you want to do with her. you have to really play true to who she was.

    >> was she somebody that as a kid you admired? had you paid much attention to her growing up? the story of her.

    >> i did. i knew the story of her. and it's interesting. obviously, she was american, but she's known worldwide for all of her achievements. i knew of her, but i didn't know, obviously, all that i realized about her in playing her, diving into it.

    >> more of the human side of her, right? you know her as the aviator, but not the woman as much.

    >> that's right. that's right.

    >> you cut your hair for the role.

    >> i did, i did.

    >> and went very blond.

    >> i did. the short blond, yes, which is fun.

    >> you also learned to fly, something you did not know how to do. did you take to it? do you like it?

    >> i love it, actually. one of the great things about my job is i get to learn all these things had i not done because i'm an actor. so i got to fly and i love. it i'm a daredevil at heart. so that's something amelia and i have in common.

    >> you're not only the star of the movie, you're also the executive producer. so you're not only responsible for owning the part, but also, you've got to pay attention to the bottom line now, whether this thing brings in the money because the bean counters are looking.

    >> absolutely.

    >> does that put a particular pressure on you on how you approach a movie?

    >> you know, it's a good question. i've come on board as executive producer probably my last five movies, and that's really just to make sure that it gets to the screen and you know, trying to help get all the elements together to get it to the screen. because i think a movie's really only as good as its weakest link , so i just try to help put all the components together.

    >> and now they are talking about another oscar for you, a third oscar . you're hearing them, but why are you shaking your head?

    >> it's just crazy. first of all, to think -- to hear that word. it's incredible that i have two. it's an honor, and it's something -- it's not what you work for, but just to hear that is -- it's, you know -- i just, i love being a part of it.

    >> and you have it for "boys don't cry" and for --

    >> " million dollar baby ."

    >> and both times you were up against annette bening and now they're saying she may get an oscar nod again and it would be you two again. is it weird?

    >> i wouldn't say weird, but it's funny timing, isn't it? it's funny timing. i love annette. i can't wait to see her film. so you know, it would be an honor to be nominated with annette if that were the case. oh, there's a picture of us --

    >> hugging.

    >> hugging. how sweet.

    >> wait, is that a night gown she has on? no, i'm kidding.

    >> she's a doll.

    >> she loves you.

    >> i really admire her and she's been doing it so long. she really kind of took me under her wing and is very, very gracious.

    >> and the truth is, there's room for a lot of wonderful actresses out there.

    >> that's true.

    >> there's a great article about you in " marie claire " magazine, but i want to ask you about one part that's gotten some eyebrows raised.

    >> yes.

    >> you're asked about your boyfriend john, and at one point, you say, you know, my boyfriend's son is 6 years old and you wonder at what age you should stop walking around nude. every morning he comes into the bedroom and you're just nude, but he doesn't look twice. he doesn't think about it yet. now, some people, they've criticized that behavior.

    >> mm-hmm.

    >> set the record straight .

    >> the interesting thing is we actually -- the editor in chief and i were having a longer conversation about it. she said what do you sleep in? i said i sleep in the nude, what do you sleep in? and she said i sleep in a night gown now because i have two young boys . and at one point, one of my kids said ew, so i started wearing a night gown . so we had a conversation about what age you do that. i think it's great that you can talk about things that bring up debates. i think every family is different and you have to know what's right for you and your family.

    >> before i let you go, you're involved in home for the holidays pet adoption . what's that about?

    >> yes, home for the holidays . 6 million animals are put to sleep every year and you think, what can i do to help? so i came aboard for iams home for the holidays to raise awareness about this and all the animals that need to be adopted. and everyone usually around the holidays are wanting an animal. and if they are, i'm suggesting they go to the pound and adopt one of those animals that need a loving home that may not find a life without them. i adopted my dog roomi last year and helped, you know -- they're trying this year to adopt 1.5 million. last year was a million and they made that. so let's make this happen.

    >> absolutely. hilary, it's such a pleasure. nice to see you again.

    >> nice to see you, meredith.

    >> again, " amelia " opens nationwide on october 23rd .

    >>> up next, one man's real

TODAY contributor
updated 10/16/2009 11:01:13 AM ET 2009-10-16T15:01:13

Hilary Swank isn’t known for doffing her duds on the big screen. But her revelation that she goes nude in real life — in front of her boyfriend’s 6-year-old son — has sparked such a controversy that it threatens to upstage her bid for a third Oscar: a new biopic about legendary aviatrix Amelia Earhart.

Yet Swank seems nonchalant about the ruckus, telling TODAY’s Meredith Vieira she believes being open about this choice in her personal life may open lines of communication in families.

“I think it’s great that people can talk about things that bring up debate,” Swank told Vieira on TODAY Friday. “I think every family is different, and you have to know what’s right for you and your family.”

Nude news
The 35-year-old actress says the Great Nude Debate came up innocently enough. In an interview with Joanna Coles for the November issue of Marie Claire, Swank was asked what she wears to sleep. Swank said, “I don’t sleep in anything.”

“It was actually part of a longer conversation,” the actress explained. “I said ‘I sleep in the nude, what do you sleep in?’ And [Coles] said, ‘Well, I sleep in a nightgown now because I have two young boys, and at one point, one of my kids saw me nude and was like, eww, so I knew it was time to sleep in a nightgown.’ So we had a long conversation about at what age you stop doing that.”

For Swank, that day has not yet come. Divorced from actor Chad Lowe, the actress is currently involved with her agent, John Campisi. She said that Campisi’s young son Sam typically sees her naked when he comes into the bedroom in the morning.

“He doesn’t look twice,” Swank told Marie Claire. “He doesn’t think about it yet.”

But others do. Web sites lit up about Swank’s naked candor, and many were critical. On the L.A. Times site, for example, blogger Elizabeth Snead wrote: “We can see a tell-all book about being forced to see his daddy’s girlfriend nude every morning in about 30 years.”

Swank told Marie Claire that it’s because she’s a restless sleeper. “I just toss and turn too much when I sleep, and if I’m in clothes, I get all twisted up.”

Oscar No. 3?
The actress isn’t letting her nude controversy stand in the way of promoting “Amelia,” in which she plays the first woman to ever fly solo across the Atlantic. Earhart has inspired countless conspiracy theories since she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, went missing on an around-the-world flight in July 1937. Neither Earhart’s plane nor her or Noonan’s body has ever been found.

Swank is already being touted as a front-runner to place a third best actress Oscar on her mantel, which makes her blush. “It’s just crazy to hear that word,” she told Vieira. “It’s incredible that I have two. It’s an honor, but it’s not what you work for.”

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Video: Swank: Boy, 6, 'doesn't think anything' of my nudity Swank is known for disappearing into her characters, from playing a young woman-as-a-young-man in “Boys Don’t Cry” to buffing her body to portray a boxer in “Million Dollar Baby.” She told Vieira she went just as all-out to portray Earhart, even obtaining a pilot’s license.

“I think there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with playing somebody as famous as Amelia,” Swank said. “There are all these images that we have of her, so it’s not like you can make it fictional. You have to play true to who she really was.”

Come awards season, it would be forgivable if actress Annette Bening peers over Swank’s shoulder. Bening was nominated for best actress Oscars in 1999 and 2004, losing out to Swank both times. Now Bening is being touted for another Oscar this year for “Mother and Child.”

“It’s funny timing, isn’t it?” Swank commented. “I love Annette and it would be an honor to be nominated with Annette if that were to be the case.”

Swank smiled when a picture of her embracing Bening at the Oscars was shown. “Is that a knife in her hand?” Vieira joked.

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