“I feel so blessed because I feel like I have so many opportunities in my life to travel, see the world, see different ways of life,” began Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo.
“It’s been so life-enriching, and that to me is one of the most important things that we can do — meeting different people. When I first got here, seeing the culture in Japan… I have to say I’m living my bucket list every single day. I also get to travel and experience so many different ways of living life through my characters.”
Swank was in attendance representing latest release You’re Not You, starring herself alongside Emmy Rossum and Josh Duhamel. The film, released in the US on selected screens back in October last year, is one of seven films which form the Special Screenings line-up at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival.
Based on a condition known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (more popularly known as ALS), You’re Not You tells the story of Kate, a classical pianist who gets diagnosed with ALS, and her bond with college student Bec.
Readers may remember ALS from last year’s series of ice bucket challenges. Millions participated, splashing buckets of iced water over their heads in order to raise awareness for the medical condition and fund research into finding a cure.
The challenge went viral for two months, raising over US$115,000,000 last year alone.
Swank clarified that You’re Not You was filmed prior to the campaign, and also expressed her support for “out of the box” methods of raising awareness.
“I think anything like that is a really great way to raise awareness, get people talking and raise important funds in trying to find a cure. It was so coincidental the timing — we’ve already filmed our movie and it didn’t really coincide with anything other than timing, but it was a great way to get people talking.”
Swank explained that her experience filming You’re Not You reinforced her stand to never take anything for granted.
“One of the vows I made to myself a couple of years ago was to spend more time with my family and loved ones,” Swank confessed.
“This movie was a catalyst for that just because we don’t know what happens from one moment to the next.”
Hilary is a prominent presence in the Hollywood; she’s one of only thirteen women in history who has two or more Academy Awards for Best Actress, and she’s also been in several internationally-acclaimed blockbusters.
Many remember her from iconic films like Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, but she also has a place in the heart of the masses as Julie from The Next Karate Kid and Holly from P. S. I Love You.
“It’s crazy to think that I’ve been an actress now for half my life,” she recalled, “I was a young girl, at one point I was eight years old when I wanted to be an actor. To think that I’m living my dream and continue to get opportunities towards my dream is truly a blessing, and something that I love so insurmountably.”
“I get so much joy from collaborating with other artists, and just stepping into people’s shoes — it’s just a gift. I think about all the things I’ve done since I began and the trajectories
I’ve made, and some of the characters [I’ve played are based] on true stories: they’re just inspiring women.”
You’re Not You will be released on 7 November in Japan. A Malaysian release has not been planned, but the film has been available on DVD since April.
The Daily Seni‘s coverage of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival was made possible by festival organisers as well as TIFFCOM 2015 and the Japan Foundation Asia Center. This year’s edition runs from 22 – 31 October in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo, with events also happening across Shinjuku.