In her latest movie, "The Core," she pilots a subterranean craft on a mission to the center of the Earth to save the world from destruction.
Swank visited The Early Show to discuss her first big-budget adventure film.
"It was challenging. In it's own way more challenging than I thought," says Swank. "To sit there and to be looking at nothing and have to pretend you're looking at all these special effects that aren't there yet."
In "The Core," the Earth's inner core has stopped rotating, causing the planet's electromagnetic field to rapidly deteriorate. This can cause airplanes to start falling from the sky and everything electronic to be destroyed. And static discharge in the atmosphere threatens to create "super storms." Plus microwave radiation will literally cook the planet.
A team of the world's most talented scientists travel into the earth's core in a subterranean craft piloted by "terranauts" Major Rebecca "Beck" Childs (Hilary Swank) and Commander Robert Iverson (Bruce Greenwood) to detonate a nuclear device that will reactivate the core and save the world from sure destruction.
Some may not recognize Swank out of her "Boys Don't Cry" shell, where she look a lot more like a boy in the character driven movie. Now she tries her hand in something a little different from her usual work.
"I think that I'm always looking for things that are different, that challenges me in different ways," says Swank. "I have to say, a sci-fi special effects movie isn't usually my type of movie. So I think it says a lot about this film and so it's also something more than that."
Swank says "The Core" is a movie that isn't just special effects driven, but drives to be a movie that has real emotions and feelings that takes it to different levels.
Some Facts About Hillary Swank
- Hillary Swank was born in Lincoln, Neb., July 30, 1974
- She was raised in Bellingham, Wash.
- In 1983, Swank began her acting career at age 9 as Mowgli in school play of "The Jungle Book"
- Swank competed in the Junior Olympics and Washington state championships in swimming; ranked fifth in the state in all-around gymnastics
- Swank won the Best Junior Actress Award from the Bellingham Theatre Guild
- Swank landed first job as guest star in episode of the syndicated series "Harry and the Hendersons"
- From 1991-1992, Swank played recurring roles in ABC's "Growing Pains" and CBS' "Evening Shade"
In 1992, Swank portrayed Kimberly, Kristy Swanson's Valley Girl pal, in the feature "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
- From 1992-1993, Swank had a regular role in ABC's comedy series "Camp Wilder"
- In 1994, Swank played the lead in the feature "The Next Karate Kid"
- From 1997-1998, Swank played Carly Reynolds, a single mother who romances Ian Ziering's Steve, on the Fox primetime series "Beverly Hills, 90210"
- In 1999, Swank stared in "Boys Don't Dry," a film about a young woman who opted to live as a man and was brutally raped and murdered when it was discovered she was born female; she won an Best Actress Oscar for her role
- In 2000, Swank was cast in "The Gift"
- In 2001, Swank appeared as a French noblewoman in "The Affair of the Necklace"
- In 2002, Swank co-starred with Al Pacino in the American version of "Insomnia"