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Hilary Swank, Alan Ritchson on the “responsibility” of telling the real-life story of ‘Ordinary Angels’

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The new drama Ordinary Angels is now in theaters, starring Oscar winner Hilary Swank and Reacher lead Alan Ritchson.

Based on a true story, Ritchson plays Ed Schmitt, a blue-collar widower who lost his wife to a rare liver disease that was passed on to their two daughters. Crushed by his loss, and the medical debt from his wife and his daughters’ illnesses, he needs a miracle.

Enter Swank’s Sharon Stevens, a small-town hairdresser who single-handedly rallies an entire community to save his youngest daughter’s life when she desperately needs a liver transplant.

As in real life, Stevens doesn’t take “no” for an answer. “She was so much fun to play,” Swank said. “She’s just a ball of life. I love her.”

“There’s such a responsibility, I think, to play a real-life person. … because you want to do justice to that person,” Swank adds. “But Sharon was just so gracious about, you know, about ‘Just play it how you like,’ you know, ‘Just do your thing. You just shine your own light and do it.’ Which was very gracious.”

Apparently, it worked: Ritchson ran into the real Sharon at the movie’s recent premiere and said she gushed, “‘Hilary nailed it!"”

The movie centers on Ed’s crisis of faith and how prayers can be answered by, as the title suggests, ordinary angels among us. But Ritchson says it’s not a “faith-based film,” per se.

“It just … seemed like a great story,” Ritchson says.

“And I think that’s where we should be approaching any story that we tell, faith-based or otherwise. ‘Is this an excellent story? And are we … striving for excellence in how we relate to this?"”  

 

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