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Hilary Swank to Star in New BBC1 Film

DOWN: Hilary Swank
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Swank will appear alongside Bafta-winner Brenda Blethyn in “Mary & Martha,” a tale of an American and an English woman brought together by the shared tragedy of losing sons to malaria.

 

LONDON - The film will be directed by Australian Phillip Noyce, who drew acclaim for Rabbit-Proof Fence and more recently directed Angelina Jolie in Salt, according to the Guardian.

Mary & Martha is being made by Working Title and will be shown by HBO in America as well as the BBC in the U.K.

"I've always wanted to write a film about the fact that when you have children, there's always the possibility of extreme joy and extreme sorrow," said writer Richard Curtis, the writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually.

Swank plays Mary, who takes her young son to Africa, where he contracts the disease. As a result, she returns to the U.S. and campaigns to raise awareness of the disease.

The actress, who won Oscars for her performances in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby, said she had long admired Noyce's work, and wanted to work with the director for years.

Brenda Blethyn, most recently seen on British screens as detective Vera in ITV's interpretation of the Ann Cleeves novels, will play Martha in the film – who goes to work at a Mozambique orphanage after her son dies while a volunteer there.

Blethyn said the story of Mary & Martha was Richard Curtis at his best. "[This is] a remarkable story of the courage, dignity and humor of two very different women in their effort to make the world a better place," she told the Guardian.