Hilary Swank: “Boys Don’t Cry” Is Still an Important “Conversation Maker”

The actress reflects on the groundbreaking film more than 20 years later.

It’s been more than 20 years since Boys Don’t Cry hit theaters, made Hilary Swank an Oscar-winning film star, and broke major ground for LGBTQ cinema.

Swank recently sat down with NewNowNext to discuss her new Netflix series, Away, in which she plays Emma Green, an astronaut leading the first manned mission to Mars. While the virtual conversation ranges from the wire work she had to do on set to make it look like they were in zero gravity to her love of Mexican food, Swank also speaks about playing Brandon Teena in the groundbreaking indie film—and how a whole new generation of queer kids are now telling her how Boys Don’t Cry impacted them.

Bill Matlock/Fox Searchlight Pictures

“It’s just so incredible to have been a part of something that started a conversation that was of such utmost importance,” Swank says. “And it continues to be a conversation maker. It is a world in which a lot more light needs to be shined onto it and awareness surrounding it. There’s still a long way to go for equality in that space, and the more we’re able to talk about it the better.”

“It’s just a great honor to be part of a movie that was a catalyst for that,” she adds.

Speaking to NewNowNext last year, Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce said that it felt like Swank and her transformation were “doing everything to bring Brandon to life.”

Peirce never dreamed that the movie would be nominated for Oscars, let alone win: “Every step of the way was a fight to protect this movie in a culture that didn’t have a space for it yet.”

Watch Swank’s full interview with NewNowNext in the video below.

Away hits Netflix on Friday, September 4.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."