Hilary Swank on Pausing Career to Care for Dad After Lung Transplant: 'It Takes a Lot of Energy'

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Swank eventually made her return to acting, starring in the 2018 FX limited series Trust, and the thriller The Hunt earlier this year. She next appears on the new Netflix space drama Away, in which she plays an astronaut leading the first mission to Mars.

The star explained that the new series' diverse cast of characters attracted her to the project — and her childhood aspiration to become a space-traveler.

"Before being an actor, I wanted to be an astronaut. I had such passion for, and respect for, astronauts and people who are exploring something that’s so much bigger than all of us," said Swank. "Something else, which was just as significant to me when I read Away, was that the script was unique in its inclusion of so many multiethnic characters."

"They too are all struggling with their own powerful personal stories, which really connects all of us," she continued. "It also highlights the beautiful fact that space has no borders. We could use more of that down here right now."

In March 2018, Swank shared more about her hiatus during an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. 

“He’s great, thank you for asking! For those of you who don’t know, my dad got a lung transplant,” she said at the time. “It’s the hardest surgery a person can undergo and I thank all the people who make themselves a donor, it saves lives.”

She continued: “They had given him a short time to live if he didn’t get one and thankfully he got one and he’s alive and thriving and well. I took three years off to be with him and help him through that life journey.”

On Father's Day, Swank paid tribute to her dad on Instagram, calling him "funny, present," and the "best suspender wearin’ and ultimate fixer of all things."

Marking the one-year anniversary of his 2014 transplant, the Million Dollar Baby actress thanked the doctors and donor who helped save her dad's life.

“This dear man, my dad got a lung transplant a year ago today,” she wrote on Dec. 27, 2015. “By the grace of God, brilliant doctors, an organ donor, much love and many prayers from loved ones…and even complete strangers, he is alive today. Thank you all for your care and kindness!!”

Away is available to stream Sept. 4 on Netflix.

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